We are always on about trying to save energy here at Sustainable Suburbia, for the sake of both the climate and reducing our dependence on non-renewable resources. But saving energy for many people is firstly about saving money, and there’s nothing wrong with that either. Living a sustainable life means living within our means – a big part of the GFC was to do with people failing to do this. In fact, with whole cultures virtually built around a credit based lifestyle, it’s not surprising that many, many people routinely spend more than they make. So this guest post is about more ways to save money on electricity – by paying attention to how you use your kitchen appliances.
Everyone is trying to save money these days, and there are so many little things you can do to cut electricity bills in very big ways. Many of them are so simple, but we just don’t think of them. For some of these ideas we will need to change old habits and that is never easy, but the savings are well worth the effort. One thing that may help to keep you motivated is to write down the total of this month’s electric bill and post it in a very visible place.
No one else needs to know what the total bill is if you don’t want to share your efforts with your friends and neighbors. The number doesn’t even need to have a dollar sign, just the number will do. Now challenge yourself to make the bill go down each month. Your goal should be to keep it lower than the month before; not even a lot lower, just lower. Try some of the ideas that follow and you can read more ideas in earlier Sustainable Suburbia articles: Easy Ways to Save Money on Electricity and More Ways to Save Money on Gas and Electricity Bills.
Fully utilize your microwave oven
The microwave uses less electricity than your traditional oven, so make good use of this appliance. Instead of wasting water from your faucet for a cup of warm or hot water, grab the first cup from the tap and nuke it to the desired temperature. This tip works well if you have an electric water heater. Your water heater doesn’t need to kick in if you use the microwave to heat the water you are using less energy than you would if you used the hot water spigot. Use your microwave to soften butter, cook vegetables, sauté onions and peppers for your favorite recipes and to thaw meats. Since the use of the microwave is usually very fast it uses far less energy than your oven.
Use a toaster oven as often as possible to avoid turning on the traditional ovenIt’s smaller and it doesn’t usually heat the entire kitchen causing your air conditioning to work harder. Also, the toaster oven is a much better crisper than your traditional oven because of its small size.
Use the right sized stove top burner
When you do need to use a stove top burner to prepare a dish, try to use the right size burner for the pan you are using to avoid losing the stove top heat into the kitchen. If you use a large burner and a small pan, the majority of the heat is rising in the kitchen and will cause the temperature to rise in the kitchen, which, in turn can make the air conditioning work harder. Using a burner smaller than the pan you are using will help to keep the majority of the heat under the pan, making it hot to cook the food inside.
An electric wok works very well in this same instance. The heating element in a wok is completely enclosed and the heat works better for you because it is directed right at your food.
Try slow cooking
Make good use of your crock pot. It uses much less energy than your oven and it offers the convenience of starting dinner before you leave for work, having dinner ready for you when you get home! Pull out your slow cooker recipes and get it going on your way to saving money on energy bills!