Whether you’re a budding master chef or a budget- and health-conscious family, it’s very possible that your kitchen is using more energy than any other room in the home. Here’s why...
When you think about the fact that fridges and freezers must be left on all day, every day, it’s little surprise that they typically use more electricity than any other appliance in the home. If you have a fridge that is over 10 years old, investing in a newer model could see you with an energy saving of up to 40 per cent, as long as you choose a reasonably sized model with a high-star energy rating.
Those big white appliances are some of the more obvious ways we use energy, but there are a few secret energy users in the cooking process that might surprise you.
The first is the humble kettle. Despite its small size, it uses up a surprisingly large amount of energy. The best way to keep this in check is to only boil the water you need, and switch it off at the wall when you’re finished. Similarly, turn off the toaster at the wall when it’s not in use.
While it’s crucial to have good lighting in the kitchen (it is never a good idea to chop in the dark), all that overhead and task lighting can add up. Switch to energy-saving light globes like compact fluorescent lamps, which can use 80 per cent less energy than traditional pear-shaped incandescent globes. These could pay for themselves in as little as one year.
Finally, investing in an energy-efficient slow cooker can save you a lot of energy, not to mention make cooking at the end of a busy day a whole lot easier!
The hot water that you use when you’re washing the dishes can be a major source of energy consumption. If you don’t have a dishwasher, scrape off debris, plug the sink and don’t leave the tap on while you wash. While it’s not a good idea to wash with cold water, you can rinse with cold to cut hot-water costs.
If you do use a dishwasher, you can cut costs by only switching it on when you have a full load, and by using the economy setting. Some dishwashers also let you turn off the heat-dry function to allow your dishes to air dry, which can save a lot of power. If your dishwasher doesn’t have this option, you can just open the door when the load reaches this part of the cycle.
Using an older-style dishwasher could be costing you up to 20 per cent more per load, so if you use your dishwasher frequently, buying a new model could be a good investment. Look for a model with a high-star energy rating and good water efficiency as well as multiple cycle options.
Investigate which time of day is off-peak in your energy plan, and try to cook and switch the dishwasher on during those hours.
If you're spending a lot of time in the kitchen, you might want to compare energy plans to get the right one for your home.