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Energy smart tip: Keep your kitchen eco-friendly

Energy smart tip: Keep your kitchen eco-friendly

Posted: Wednesday, October 22, 2008 10:58 pm

You work hard in your kitchen, but is it working too hard for you? Your kitchen, and your family’s habits, may be in need of an energy-saving makeover. Kitchens are full of energy-consuming machines. Refrigerators have to run constantly to keep cool. Ovens, stoves and even dishwashers use a great deal of energy just to heat up. Simple carelessness — constantly opening the refrigerator or accidentally leaving the oven on too long — can cause even more energy waste. With the rising cost of power, small habits can make a large impact on your pocketbook. In honor of Energy Awareness Month, make an effort to break old habits and take the step from energy-waste to energy-smart. “Appliances need regular maintenance to perform at their best,” said Jimmy Hunt at Mr. Appliance® of Northwest Tennessee. “The harder an appliance has to work to do its job, the more energy it consumes in the process. It puts a strain on the appliance, the environment and on homeowners’ energy bills. Homeowners should take care of their appliance needs on a daily basis and call an expert if they notice strange noises or other concerning symptoms.” Follow these simple tips from Mr. Appliance to help your kitchen conserve energy and money. Refrigerator: • Keep the unit away from direct sunlight and heat-producing appliances. Refrigerators are designed to stay in a conditioned climate, so the excess heat will make your refrigerator work harder to keep cool. • Keep refrigerators with rear external condensers at least two to three inches away from the wall. This allows more breathing room and better air flow around the condenser coils, which helps the refrigerator cool more efficiently. • Clean the door seals with a mild soap twice a year to prevent them from drying out and cracking or splitting. If you notice cold air leaking around the door, it may be time to replace the seals. • Clean the condenser coils at least twice a year. Dirt, dust and pet hair accumulate and make the unit work harder to keep cool. • Limit the number of times you open the refrigerator door. The air suction created by the action of opening the door causes the refrigerator to lose more air than if the door were left open a little longer instead. • Keep the refrigerator and freezer moderately full. Cooled mass in the refrigerator and freezer helps them stay cool more efficiently. Stovetop: • Keep electric and gas burners clean. Clean burners reflect heat better and use energy more efficiently. • Turn off electric burners two to three minutes before cooking is done and let residual heat take care of the rest. • Use a pot or pan that fits the burner. The correct size pot or pan will distribute heat more efficiently, and less heat will be lost into the air. • If your stove has radiant or halogen burners, always have a pot or pan on the burner when you turn it on to allow the pot and burner to heat at the same time. A cold pot coming in contact with a hot burner could cause a crack in the stove. Oven: • Leave the oven door closed. The more you open it to check on cooking food, the more heat you let escape, and the harder your oven has to work to stay heated. • If you’re cooking a dish that has a long cook time, such as a turkey, put the dish in as the oven is heating up. Then turn the oven off early and allow residual heat to finish the job. Dishwasher: • Run full loads. Dishwashers use the same amount of energy for all loads, so take advantage of the energy used in each one. • Use the air-dry setting or open your dishwasher after the wash cycle is finished. Air drying dishes saves more energy than the heat-dry setting. Use a water-sheeting agent, such as Jet Dry®, to allow your dishes to dry quicker. • Don’t pre-rinse; scrape dishes clean instead to save up to 20 gallons of water. • Run your dishwasher after peak energy hours. In some cities, this can save you money on your energy bill. These tips are easy for you to do yourself and can even help prolong the life of your appliances when combined with regular visits from your local appliance repair professional.  Visit www.mrappliance.com for more tips. Published in The Messenger 10.22.08

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