If your family is anything like ours, the kitchen is the lifeblood of your home. It is where you do so much more than just cook the meals. When I was growing up it was pretty common for us to do our homework on the kitchen table, discussing possible answers with my Mom while she worked on our dinner. Today I still see my kids, laptops on the kitchen table, tackling those same problems.
The same goes for when my husband gets home from the long commute. Since I work closer to home I cook, but he takes care of dishes with the kids after the dinner. So, when he gets home, tired from wrangling space from the other drivers on his way back from the city, we reconnect in the kitchen. The kids move their laptops to the living room and he pours us each a glass of wine and we chat and reconnect while dinner cooks. It has to be my favorite time of day. After dinner he washes dishes while our two kids dry, arguing movies and who the really bad guys are in their favorite shows. Out kitchen gets plenty of use.
But outside of the communal nature of a kitchen, I also can see how the kitchen is the biggest consumer of energy in our home. We are in it running a fridge, 24 hours a day, and our gas stove is on for several hours. Ovens use up plenty of gas as well. But how can we cut down on the use without feeling like we are someone out of an old Dickens novel? Check out these ideas.
Get Informed on Energy Use
I think it all starts by understanding just how much energy you use in your home. Yes, we turn the thermostat down at night, shut off lights when we aren’t in a room and other little tricks we probably learned from our parents. But if you understand how much energy each of the major appliances in your home uses, it is easier to see where you can cut a few corners. If you have gas appliances, you can learn more about propane use here and from that get an idea of what uses more energy in your home.
Look for Innovations in Home Energy
You might be surprised to find out that installing a simple tankless water heater can save both water and energy every single day. These have become much easier to find and install as they become more common. While we are at it, why not take a look at some of those energy saving light bulbs and start replacing those old fashion light bulbs with these.
You might be surprised how many bulbs you have in your home. Then take a look at programmable thermostats to make sure you are turning it down when you aren’t at home or sleeping. It is easier then remembering, and if everyone is at work or school during the day, why heat that big old house?
Do you wash your dishes in a dishwasher? We only use ours when we have guests so we can fill it all the way up. But I also only do the dishes for the family once a day, at night.
That way we don’t have a big sink of water with only a few dishes. When washing clothes, just use the cold-water cycle. Your clothes will be just as clean but you will be saving on the hot water bill. And only use the dryer when the weather doesn’t allow line drying. The sun is always free.