SMECO newsletter

volume 65 - issue 2 - february 2015

Save money in the kitchen

The kitchen is one room in your house that demands much energy with its many appliances. The appliance with the highest demand for electricity is typically the refrigerator unless you use the oven more than the average household. Major appliances, like the refrigerator, that are more than 10 years old lose efficiency and can cost more to operate. If you do have an older model, you might consider replacing it with an ENERGY STAR® qualified model. These models use 15 percent less electricity when compared to non-qualified models, and they use about 40 percent less electricity than refrigerators did 10 years ago. Visit to learn about available rebates for qualified refrigerators if you decide to replace yours.

Aside from replacing your refrigerator, many tips and tricks to use in the kitchen can help reduce unnecessary energy use.

Keep your refrigerator or freezer set to the recommended temperatures of 35° to 38°F for the refrigerator and 0°F for the freezer.

Check the seals on the doors to ensure they are tight. An easy trick to check is to open a door, place a piece of paper so it sits half in and half out of the refrigerator or freezer. Now close the door. If you can pull out the paper, the seal is not tight. See if adjusting the latch helps or contact the manufacturer to ask what they suggest to do.

Cover all liquids and keep leftovers wrapped to keep moisture levels down and reduce the compressor's run time.

Defrost your freezer if it needs to be manually defrosted, don't let ice build up more than a quarter of an inch.

Clean the coils behind or under the refrigerator or freezer annually.

Look for refrigerators with the freezer on top or on the bottom instead of side-by-side.

Avoid the convenient features like icemakers and water dispensers.

Don't be tempted to keep that old refrigerator in your basement or garage. Having an extra refrigerator is like having an additional person in the household.

Scrape off your dishes instead of rinsing or soaking them. Most dishwashers should clean your dishes without the need to pre-wash them.

Air dry your dishes instead of using the automatic drying cycle. After the last rinse cycle, just open the door slightly.

Run full loads of dirty dishes but don't overload the dishwasher. Overloading can cause the dishes to stay dirty.

Try not to use the "rinse hold" setting because it uses more hot water.

Are you cooking a small meal? Use smaller appliances like slow cookers, toaster ovens, microwaves, or convection ovens instead of your stove. These smaller appliances use less electricity to cook your food and produce less heat. Just remember to unplug any small appliance that has a clock, lights, or any charger plugs to eliminate phantom loads. (Learn more about phantom load.)

Match the size of the saucepan with the size of the burner to reduce wasted energy.

Place lids on pans to reduce humidity in the air and heat loss during the summer months.

Keep the reflectors or range top clean, allowing for the heat to reflect properly on your stove.

How much is that older model costing you?