Kitchen Appliances

Most of the energy used by a dishwasher is for water heating, so be sure to only wash full loads to minimize the need for running additional cycles. Dishwashers purchased before 1994 use more than 10 gallons of water per cycle whereas ENERGY STAR® models are required to use 4.25 gallons per cycle or less1. So if you’re in the market for a new machine, consider an ENERGY STAR® qualified dishwasher which on average is 5% more energy efficient and 15% more water efficient than standard models2. Also, to cut down on machine use, air dry dishes when possible instead of using your washers drying cycle.

Sources: 1. U.S, Department of Energy; 2. ENERGY STAR®

Dishes being loaded into an electronic dishwasher

You may already know that the harder your refrigerator or freezer has to work to stay cool, the more energy it uses. And that holding the door open wastes energy. But did you know there are other factors that affect how hard your refrigerator works? Here are a few tips that can help reduce your appliance’s energy use.

Fortunately today’s refrigerators are now using a lot less energy than older models due to recent improvements in insulation and compressors. For example, a new refrigerator with an ENERGY STAR® label uses at least 15% less energy than non-qualified models, 20% less energy than required by current federal standards, and 40% less energy than the conventional models sold in 20011. By replacing your old refrigerator with a new ENERGY STAR® certified model, you can save between $35 to $300 on energy costs over the lifetime of the refrigerator2. To find out exactly how much money you can save, check out the ENERGY STAR® Savings Calculator.

Sources: 1. U.S, Department of Energy; 2. ENERGY STAR®

Don’t set the temperature too cold.

35º to 38º is recommended for the refrigerator and 0º for freezers.

Closeup of hand setting the temperature on a refrigerator

Ensure door seals are airtight.

If you close a bill in the door halfway and can easily pull it out, it’s not tight enough.

Refrigerator doors

Cover liquids and wrap foods.

Uncovered, they release moisture making the compressor work harder.

Person loading Tupperware filled with food into the refrigerator

Defrost as needed.

Frost shouldn’t exceed more than ¼ of an inch.

Large buildup of frost inside of a freezer

Clean the coils on the back of the appliance annually.

This helps the compressor cool faster and run less frequently.

Coils in the back of a refrigerator covered in frost

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that cooking accounts for 4.5% of total home energy use.1 By taking the actions below you can help maximize your energy efficiency when it comes to cooking and baking.

Sources: 1. U.S, Department of Energy; 2. ENERGY STAR®

Keep range-top burners and reflectors clean

They will reflect the heat better and work faster.

Pot on a lit range-top burner

Cover kettles or pans to help water boil faster

Or use an electric kettle which uses less energy.

Green kettle boiling on a stovetop

Match the size of the pan to the heating element to avoid wasting energy.

(For example, using a 6-inch pan on an 8-inch burner will waste 40% of the heat generated by the burner.)

Person cooking vegetables in a pan

Use slow cookers, pressure cookers, small electric pans, toaster ovens, or convection ovens when possible.

A toaster or convection oven uses ⅓ to ½ as much energy as a full-sized oven.

Slow cooker filled with vegetable soup

Use an oven light, a thermometer, or a timer instead of opening the oven door.

Each time the door is opened the heat escapes and the temperature can drop 25º which results in longer use time and wasted energy as the oven works harder to get back to the proper temperature.

Mother and father with child smiling while looking into an oven that is baking cookies

Clean the door seal on your oven so that it retains as much heat as possible.

Hand grasping the handle of an oven door

In the Winter

In the winter, the heat generated in your kitchen may be welcomed and enable you to give your furnace a break.

Person adjusting the temperature on an oven

In the Summer

On hot summer days, the heat from the kitchen can cause air conditioners to work harder and use more energy, making slow cookers and other small appliances even more appealing. Check out the article Can’t take the heat? Get out of the kitchen. for more information about summer cooking and outdoor cooking alternatives..

Person grabbing toast from a toaster