As you begin preparing for Thanksgiving, don’t forget about ways to save energy in the kitchen

Using Slow Cooker 1

The kitchen is where we gather for our favorite meals and memories, but you probably aren’t thinking about saving energy as you plan that perfect dish. You might be surprised to learn that saving energy while cooking will make a big difference over time through minimal effort. Below are four ways you can save energy in the kitchen, cut your utility bills and continue to make delicious meals.

When possible, cook with smaller appliances. Using smaller kitchen appliances, such as slow cookers, toaster ovens and convection ovens, is more energy efficient than using a large stove or oven. According to the Department of Energy, a toaster or convection oven uses one-third to one-half as much energy as a full-sized oven.

Unplug appliances that draw phantom energy load. Halloween may be over, but it’s possible you have energy vampires in your kitchen – these are the appliances that draw energy even when they are not in use, like coffee makers, microwaves and toaster ovens. The Department of Energy has estimated that one home’s energy vampires left plugged in year-round can add up to $100-$200 in wasted energy costs. To combat this, unplug them when they are not in use, or better yet, use a power strip for convenient control.

Help large appliances work less. There are small ways you can help your larger kitchen appliances run more efficiently. For example, keep range-top burners clean from spills and fallen foods so they will reflect heat better. When it’s time to put leftovers in the refrigerator, make sure the food is covered and allow it to cool down first. That way, the fridge doesn’t have to work harder to cool warm food.

Use your dishwasher efficiently. Only run full loads and avoid using the “rinse hold” function on your machine for just a few dirty dishes; it uses 3-7 gallons of hot water each use. You can also save energy by letting your dishes air dry. If your dishwasher doesn’t have an automatic air-dry switch, simply turn it off after the final rinse and prop the door open so the dishes will dry faster.

By slightly adjusting a few of your habits in the kitchen, you’ll be well on your way to energy savings. Coweta-Fayette EMC has helped our members conserve energy in their homes for more than three decades and places a priority on improving our member’s quality of life. Please visit https://utility.org/energy-efficiency/smart-choice-home/ to learn about additional ways you can save energy and money at home through the SmartChoice Home program.