“If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.” Thomas Jefferson
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Saving Money in the Kitchen
In our saving money room by room series, we are now moving into the kitchen. The first place to start is the refrigerator. This handy dandy gadget is one of the most power consuming gadgets in your home. However doing just a few simple things can make it run more efficiently and use a little less power. First check to make sure it is set properly. Each refrigerator has a spot on the dial that is the most efficient setting for that model. Make sure yours is set to that setting. Next check the rubber gasket around the refrigerator and make sure that it is sealing properly. If your refrigerator is leaking cold air because the gasket is old and worn out then it is consuming more energy. Next make sure that your refrigerator has sufficient air circulation to the back where the vent is. Refrigerator experts have told me that good airflow across the coils on the back make the refrigerator work more efficiently. Not sure why, but I am taking their word for it. Next on the list is the dishwasher. Believe it or not the dishwasher is much more efficient for washing dishes than washing them by hand. First it uses less hot water and second less water period. So use your dishwasher, but make sure that it is full to capacity before turning it on. This means to watch how many dishes you use during the day. We all get one cup in the morning and continue using that cup throughout the day. When we have sandwiches for dinner and there is nothing but crumbs left on the plate, then those crumbs are scraped into the chicken bucket and the place is reused for supper. Sometimes we can wait to run our dishwasher to every other day instead of everyday. Sometimes...not always. Next, let's move to cooking. In the summertime we cook outside, pretty much exclusively. I don't have my adobe oven built yet so I cannot bake outside unless I am doing casseroles. I can cook casseroles outside on my grill. With the lid closed and only hot coals (not a blazing fire) the inside temp of my grill gets to 400 degrees. So most casseroles I cook outside to keep from using the oven. We also eat a lot of cold meals. Meat is cooked on the grill and most nights we have salads to go with it. Lighter, cooler fare is much nicer in the hot weather also. The less you heat up the kitchen the less your AC has to compensate also. This saves more energy. Lighting is next on the list. Use what light you need and no more. I know when my mom cooks every light in the kitchen is on, overhead, over the sink and over the stove. If I am at the sink, I use that light and nothing more. Same with the stove. Very rarely do my overhead lights come on.Then when you are finished turn off all the lights in the kitchen. I know some people that will leave a light on. If you need to make a midnight trip to the kitchen then turn what light you need on then, don't let the light stay on all night. Or better yet invest in a nightlite. Next unplug small appliances when they are not in use. Especially those that have lights or clocks, like the coffee pot or microwave. We don't need the clock on the microwave, so it stays unplugged until needed. When I make coffee in the morning, I put the fresh brewed coffee in a thermos to stay hot and turn off and unplug the coffee pot. I know most people say that those items make such a little difference, but when you do them on a regular basis and combine them all together they do make a difference. Plus, my uncle who is an electrician, says that most home fires start from small appliances that are left plugged in. Even though they are turned off they still draw some electricity and any short or fault in any wiring is prone to catch fire. He says that a wise homeowner will always unplug appliances when not in use. That is about it for the kitchen. So get those grills fired up and get your cooking done outside!