Here at Greener Living, we are passionate about the environment and lowering our carbon footprint. As we know, installing an Air Source Heat Pump is a fantastic way to help the environment while lowering your heating bills. However, there is so still so much more that we can all do. In this series we are going to take a look at all the different ways that we can save energy around the house, by taking these steps we not only advance ourselves towards achieving our goal of becoming carbon neutral but we will also save ourselves some serious money on our energy bills, and who doesn’t want that? In this article, we’re going to kick things off by looking at one of the most energy-consuming rooms in the house, the kitchen. It should come as no surprise, seeing as the kitchen is often the home of our washing machines, dishwashers, fridges, cookers and much more. But do not despair, by following these steps you can turn your kitchen into a perfect example of an efficient, energy-saving environment.
First of all, let’s take a look at white goods. Most modern washing machines and dishwashers should come with an “ECO” wash setting. These settings typically take longer to wash your clothes or dishes, but they use far less water and energy. With your washing machine, you can go a step further if you wish and wash your clothes at 30°C. Modern washing detergents are optimised to wash at this temperature, by doing this you could save a whopping 14kg of Co2 from being pumped into the air every year as well as saving on your energy bills. Once your clothes are washed, try drying them either outside or on a clothes dryer. Drying your clothes naturally instead of hanging them on the radiators means less strain on your boiler to produce more heat and could save you around £35 a year on your heating bill. Lastly, we always recommend making sure your dishwashers and washing machines are always switched off when not in use and not just on standby.
Next, we’re going to take a look at some very important appliances, the fridge/freezer. More often than not, you’re always going to have your fridge running to keep your food fresh. This means that if you’re getting a new fridge, you should seek one out that has a great energy rating, if your fridge is older than 10 years then you may wish to consider switching to a newer model. If you don’t want to get rid of your trusty fridge/freezer just yet, then there are some steps that you can do to make them more efficient and increase their lifespan.
The first thing we’re going to look at is the coils in the freezer. Frozen or “fluffy” coils can reduce the efficiency of your freezer by up to 25% so it’s important to make sure those coils are cleaned regularly so that they’re free from frost. Another great fact to know is that your fridge will work best 3/4 full, you can always use water bottles to fill up any excess space. You can give your fridge a little boost by defrosting items in your fridge instead of on the side, the frozen food acts like an icepack and will help to keep your fridge’s environment nice and cool. Our last tip for your fridge/freezer is to make sure there is at least 10cm of space between the unit and the wall. This will ensure good airflow and will keep your unit running at a good temperature.
Now we’re going to take a look at the heart of any kitchen, its cooker/hobs. It’s no shock to find out that most of the energy spent in the kitchen comes from cooking. Normally, energy saving is the last thing on our minds, but these tips will have you cooking like an environmentally friendly MasterChef in no time. Our first tip will not only save you energy, but it will also save you time and it is to boil your water in the kettle first before transferring it to the pan. This will bring your water to the boil in a matter of seconds instead of heating it up using the hobs which will waste far more gas/electricity than using the kettle. Our next cooking tip is another simple yet effective one, and that is to always cover your pots and pans when cooking, this not only keeps the heat in your pan, cooking your food faster, but it also traps in all the flavour making your meal all the tastier. A great investment for your culinary arsenal is a slow cooker. Slow cookers are incredibly energy efficient and are great for cooking your meals while you’re busy doing something else. This is also true for pressure cookers which are great at saving energy and conserving water. One of the main losses of energy in our kitchens is through opening the oven doors to check on our food. Although it’s very tempting to check often on how our dinner is doing you could save a considerable amount of energy by simply looking through the glass window instead of opening the oven door. Following on from this, a great way to save energy with your oven is to clean it manually instead of using the “self-cleaning” setting. The self-cleaning setting heats the oven up to a very high temperature to burn off the grease that builds up on the inside, however, this method takes time and uses a huge amount of energy. You can save money and get your oven cleaner by taking some time to clean it by hand.
Our last tip in this article is one that we can do around the whole house, not just the kitchen, and that is to make sure you are using energy-saving lightbulbs if your fittings allow it. This seems like common knowledge in this day and age, however, many people are still using inefficient older bulbs. By switching all your light bulbs to energy-saving ones, you could save up to £100 a year which is no small sum.
If you enjoyed this article then please check out this read on how Air Source Heat Pumps are benefitting the environment.
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