Subscribe Today! Please read: Readers of local content on the Herald and News website – heraldandnews.com – will require a subscription beginning today. For the first few months, non-subscribers will still be able to view 10 articles for free. If you are not already a subscriber, now is a great time to join for as little as $10/month!

No matter how small or big your kitchen is, you use appliances that cost energy dollars. You also use water, whether just from the sink, or your refrigerator. Here are a few ideas on how you can save energy and water, which equals saving money in your kitchen.

Large Appliances

Oven and Stove – the most important thing with your oven and stove is safety. Be sure you have safeguards in place with small children and discuss regular safety rules with children who can understand the “why” behind your rules. Safety doesn’t necessarily save energy dollars, but if you have to go to the emergency room because of carelessness, an even larger expense probably will occur. While baking in the oven, be sure to close the door quickly so as not to let the heat out causing the oven to reheat itself back up to temperature. Maybe your oven has a window in the door and an internal light that you can turn on to see how the item is baking rather then opening the door. In the cooler season, when you are finished baking, leave the oven door open (as long as there is no danger to small children or pets) to let the heat out and help heat your house. In the hot time of the year, if you have the time in your schedule, try baking in the cooler part of the day (early in the morning or in the evening when the sun begins to set).

Refrigerator – first rule I told my kids with the refrigerator is to close the door so they don’t let the penguins in – in other words, don’t stand there looking in the refrigerator with the door open forever! Granted, you may not know exactly what you want before you open the door, or know where everything is, but take a quick look, close the door and then decide what you want before you open the door again. Keep the refrigerator at the optimal temperature for food to stay fresher longer – at a higher temperature food may perish; at a lower temperature foods may begin to freeze depending on their location in the refrigerator. If you are not going to use the food you bought before it spoils, then consider various ways to save it for future use: freezing, canning, baking – you certainly don’t want to throw food away and waste all that money you spent to buy it.

Microwave – is a very quick and easy way to defrost, cook and warm up foods. It saves the electricity or gas you would use to heat the oven and then the time to bake the food. For instance, if you bake a normal size potato in the oven it will take 1 hour, but it will only take 4 – 5 minutes in the microwave. If you don’t have a lot of time when you get home from work, then the microwave can help expedite the dinner making process.

Dishwasher – best way to say on energy costs is to only run the dishwasher when it is completely full. You will save on water, detergent and electricity. If you quickly rinse your dirty dishes before you put them in the dishwasher, then you don’t have to run it every day so the food doesn’t harden on the plates. Watch for sales on the dishwasher detergent to help reduce your costs.

Small Appliances

Coffee Pot – make only as much coffee at a time that you want to drink. Making more wastes the coffee, water and energy to keep it warm. With the one cup at a time pod coffee makers, you’ll save the money of making a whole pot and it is fresh every time you want a cup of coffee.

Crockpot – a great way to make a full meal in one dish that uses very low energy while you do other things like work. Put everything in the crockpot in the morning and it is ready at dinner time.

Water

One of the most used commodities in your kitchen, that is not an appliance, is water. The way you use water in the kitchen can greatly save on energy bills. When you need to wash hand dishes, wait a day or two if you can and wash several at one time – you’ll save on soap and water. Don’t let unnecessary water run into the sink while you are waiting to do something or for whatever reason. If you use very hot water quite a bit, consider installing a hot water unit at your sink for instant hot water – that way you don’t have to let the water run until it gets hot. In this time of severe drought, we should take extra care not to use excess water, even in the kitchen.

Other things to consider when trying to cut costs in the kitchen are to have your kitchen organized and keeping it clean. I know that doesn’t seem to make sense, but if you are always looking for something or constantly shifting things around you are wasting your energy and time, and as they say: time is money. And, keeping it clean and sanitary is a way to ensure that what you are cooking is not spoiled, and therefore a waste of food, energy and time. If you don’t use a small appliance often, unplug it even though it doesn’t take much energy for it just to sit there, it still takes a little. Turn off all appliances after you have finished using them in order to save energy. Cook only the portions that will be eaten so you don’t have to store leftovers that you may end up throwing away. Or, cook a quantity and store it in the refrigerator or freezer if you have room, then reheat it in the microwave for future meals.

One more way to save energy costs in the kitchen is to buy energy-efficient appliances. You can generally get a deal if you buy two or more at a time. The appliances may also qualify for rebates because we, as consumers, are encouraged to use less energy.

Most of what I have written is common sense, but when you put it all together, you may realize that you can save yourself perhaps a noticeable amount of energy, time and money.