5 Must-Have, Energy-Saving Appliances for Your Kitchen

In case you didn’t know, the appliances in your kitchen can account for the lion’s share of your electric bill. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, your fridge, stove, oven, and the lighting in your kitchen suck up over 40% of the energy you get billed for every month thanks to the many hours spent preparing and cooking food, not to mention storing it. So if there’s a way to cut back on consumption (of energy, not food) then you’re probably keen to try it out as a way to not only lower your payments, but also do your part for the environment. As it turns out, there are all kinds of ways to cut back on energy demand in the kitchen, but perhaps one of the best options available to the average homeowner revolves around replacing outdated, energy-guzzling appliances with newer, more energy-efficient products. Here are just a few must-haves that could benefit your kitchen.

  1. Refrigerator. Because the fridge is always drawing energy in order to keep your perishable food items cold, it is generally the biggest offender when it comes to jacking up your electric bill. Luckily, most forward-thinking brands now offer energy-efficient options in their refrigerator lineup. You’ll want to look for the Energy-Star label, which tells you that the unit exceeds the federal standards for energy efficiency by a minimum of 20%. But if you do a little more research you’ll find that some models go the extra mile. For example, Whirlpool makes a unit that is said to draw about as much energy as a 60-watt light bulb.
  2. Dishwasher. When it comes to washing your dishes, you might not be ready to give up the convenience of a dishwasher, even if it does ratchet up your energy and water bill simultaneously. So you’ll be happy to hear that there are models designed to use less of both with every wash. If you don’t have the cash on hand to upgrade all of your appliances, keep in mind that you can save some energy on your own by simply skipping the dry cycle. But when you’re ready to upgrade, consider the Asko brand, which offers a model that not only uses less energy and water than competitors, but is also touted as offering near silence when it runs.
  3. Oven. Cooking is a major culprit when it comes to drawing energy. Not only do you need it to cook your food, but if your oven heats up your home, your demand for AC could go up. It’s a double whammy of energy consumption. The best way to save on energy is to use a gas stove, although you’ll want one that has an electric ignition rather than a pilot light – this feature will help you to use about a third less gas. As for reducing heat in the home, consider a convection oven – it cooks food faster thanks to more even heat distribution.
  4. Induction cooktop. If you’re able to separate your stove from your oven, you’ll find that an induction cooktop provides incredible savings over your average coil contraption. This is because it uses neither gas nor excessive energy to heat your pots and pans. Instead, it relies on electromagnetic energy, supplied by a low voltage of electricity routed through copper wire to create a magnetic field, inducing electric current that then heats the contents of the pot. It is extremely efficient, although you may have to get special hardware (pots and pans or interface discs) in order to use it. Bonus: no hot coils to burn little fingers once you remove a pot.
  5. Lighting. Okay, technically this isn’t an appliance, but when you consider how much of your time spent in the kitchen requires illumination, you can see how it’s a major contributor to energy consumption. Switching to CFLs could save you a lot in this area, although you’ll do even better if you install LED options. When it comes to saving energy in the rest of your home you might have to assess your glut of electronic devices and brush up on your HVAC terminology to have a productive conversation with your service provider. But as for your kitchen, simply opting for Energy-Star appliances and lighting will save you a ton.

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