You can save energy in your kitchen through more efficient use of your dishwasher, refrigerator and freezer, and other common appliances.
Most of the energy used by a dishwasher is for water heating. The EnergyGuide label estimates how much power is needed per year to run the appliance and to heat the water based on the yearly cost of natural gas and electric water heating.
Dishwasher Water-Saving Tips
- Check the manual that came with your dishwasher for the manufacturer's recommendations on water temperature; many have internal heating elements that allow you to set the water heater in your home to a lower temperature.
- Scrape, don't rinse, off large food pieces and bones. Soaking or pre-washing is generally only recommended in cases of burned- or dried-on food.
- Be sure your dishwasher is full (not overloaded) when you run it.
- Let your dishes air dry; if you don't have an automatic air-dry switch, turn off the control knob after the final rinse and prop the door open slightly so the dishes will dry faster.
Refrigerators and Freezers
The EnergyGuide label on new refrigerators tells you how much electricity a particular model uses in one year. The smaller the number, the less energy the refrigerator uses, and the less it will cost you to operate. In addition to the EnergyGuide label, don't forget to look for the ENERGY STAR label.
Refrigerator and Freezer Energy Tips
- Don't keep your refrigerator or freezer too cold.
- Check the refrigerator temperature by placing an appliance thermometer in a glass of water in the center of the refrigerator. Read it after 24 hours. Check the freezer temperature by placing a thermometer between frozen packages. Read it after 24 hours.
- Make sure your refrigerator door seals are airtight. Test them by closing the door over a piece of paper so it is half in and half out of the refrigerator. If you can pull the paper or bill out easily, the latch may need adjustment, the seal may need replacing, or you may consider buying a new unit.
- Cover liquids and wrap foods stored in the refrigerator. Uncovered foods release moisture and make the compressor work harder.
- Regularly defrost freezers and refrigerators; frost buildup decreases the energy efficiency of the unit.
Other Energy-Saving Kitchen Tips
- Place the faucet lever on the kitchen sink in the cold position when using small amounts of water; placing the lever in the hot position draws hot water even though it may never reach the faucet.
- Use small electric pans, toaster ovens, or convection ovens for small meals rather than your large stove or oven.