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Most modern kitchens have got some standard electric appliances. Here is a list of equipment along with some advice on maintenance and energy saving techniques. For learning about some quick and simple energy saving cooking methods that minimize the use of stove see the articles Updated cooking methods in modern kitchens and Towel cooking
List of electric equipment
- StoveW Electrical or gas powered, 3-4 hotplates or gas burners.
- Microwave ovenW Many different versions and sizes exist. One detail that is essential is the rated power output each model have. higher Watt equals shorter cooking times. Some ovens have a rotational function to rotate plates/dishes.
- Electric water kettleW
Many different versions and sizes exist. You could sometimes benefit from having 2 different sizes on kettles in your home, one small for occasions when you just want to have one or two cups of tea, and another much bigger model for boiling water in larger volumes over 1 litre. The time needed and electricity used to boil in a kettle (or a saucepan) depends on the amount of water and the proportions between how much water to air it is inside the kettle.
- BlenderW / MixerW
- DishwasherW (for plates, cutlery and cooking utensiles)
- Washing machineW (for clothes and textiles)
Try to keep all your appliances clean, both outside and inside. Try to clean regularly so you can avoid needing extremely toxic detergents. Often it is enough with a good soft sponge, detergent or soap, and warm water.
You are more likely to cook at home regularly if they look clean and fresh to use. The equipment will get a slightly longer life-span and you will not need to replace them as often. So you will save some money.
Freezer Defrost your freezer at least once a year, because if it has big chunks of ice and frost on the interior walls and shelves it will need to run its compressor more often, which uses more electricity than it needs to. If your fridge or freezer has a manual defrost button, do not push it! That is, on many models, just a built-in heater that uses a lot of electricity to warm it up and then more electricity to cool it down again.
To defrost most efficiently: turn the fridge/freezer off, remove all groceries and place them in pick-nick-coolers or Styrofoam-boxes with lids, or even outside if it is winter and there is snow in your backyard. Keep the doors to the fridge/freezer open and place a bucket with low rims on the floor in front of it. Melted water will drip out. Try to gently pry away large chunks of ice (but never use sharp tools that can damage the shelves or interior walls). Place those chunks of ice in plastic containers. those can be later placed in the fridge when you restart it. Ice and defrosting frozen food helps to cool down your fridge faster and save electricity.
When all frost and ice has cleared away from the walls and shelves, wipe all the walls and details inside meticulously until clean and dry. Turn the fridge/freezer back on and put your groceries back. If they are still cool or cold it will help with cooling down the fridge/freezer back to working temperature.
Tips and tricks to save electricity
Electric stove Always try to use the smallest needed size of hotplate/burner possible. If you can see any part of the hotplate outside the edge of the pot or pan you will waste a lot of heat and possibly burn your hands on the handle. If you use a much larger pan than the hotplate, you will only get efficient heat in the middle of the pan and slightly less around the edges which means a longer cooking time. Some models of cheap, large frying pans can get its bottom warped/curved so it stands and jiggles slightly on the hot plate. If so, stop using it for cooking. It means you are wasting a lot of heat and money in the gaps.
Always use a lid on your pots and pans! It is the single most effective solution in saving wasted energy in your home.
Start a timer! Always use a timer when you are cooking. It will prevent you from guessing and estimating the time. This guessing often misleads you to cooking 2-3 extra minutes: "just to be safe". And that is always unnecessary!
Fridge & Freezer Every time you open the doors you will release some cool air into the room, and make the fridge/freezer a little warmer inside, forcing its compressor to start working to cool it back down again. So avoid keeping the doors open. Start to figure out small habits to keep the doors closed as much as possible, even during the times that you are cooking.
To prevent you from standing around, browsing on what you have got with the doors open, try to start some kind of inventory list of what is inside, combined with a shopping list. If you have some decorative fridge-magnets, just take a blank sheet of paper and put at the center of the door, held up with 1-4 magnets. When you come home from grocery shopping just add and change on the lists with pencil and eraser. Other simple methods: post-it-notes, whiteboard, noticeboard.
Check the doors on your fridge/freezer and oven at least once a year to make sure that the rubber/plastic insulation strips around the edges are clean, that the doors are undamaged and close air tight. Any amount of air that is released from any gaps is wasted energy and money.
Ice, Ice, Baby If you can, remove chunks of ice from the inside walls or shelves of the freezer, for instance when you are defrosting it. Put this ice in a small container and place it into the fridge. The stored cold energy in the ice will spread in the air inside the fridge, causing the temperature to remain cold without the use of the compressor, and your fridge will not need to use any electricity at all until the frost/ice is completely melted.
This method can conveniently be used when defrosting frozen food If you are going to cook something tomorrow that is in the deep freezer now, place it in the fridge on the afternoon/evening before, making it start to defrost slowly over the night. The fridge will not need to use any energy at all during the time your frozen food is colder than the thermostat. And if you normally defrost frozen objects by putting them in the sink and pour hot water onto it or using the microwave, this electricity and hot water saved is Nega-watts.
If your existing fridge/freezer breaks down and it will be too expensive to repair it, start to look for the most energy-efficient models. There exists a couple of types of labeling in the shops for energy-use. Remember that a small difference in purchase price is not very important It is more important that your electricity bill is going to be slightly smaller every day of the fridge/freezer's life-span if you choose a model depending on lowest energy-use.
Electric water kettle Never boil too much water than your current needs! However, if you have have a clean and empty thermos flask, you could fill it up with that extra boiled water and it can stay hot for hours. Handy if you normally would drink a cup of instant coffee later, allowing you to not need to boil any new water.
Never save and reuse water that you have boiled any type of food in!
- There is a dispute now regarding if those really help heating, along with spreading the heat evenly in the food. If it is unnecessary to waste energy on turning the dishes.