How to Conserve Energy in the Kitchen

A pair of yellow gloves cleaning a metal stove top.

A lot happens on a daily basis in your kitchen—cooking family dinners, packing lunches, washing dishes, and making countless trips to the fridge for water or a snack. With that comes an abundance of energy usage and, if you’re not careful, this room could drive up your utility bills. Here, learn how to easily conserve energy in the kitchen for a more environmentally friendly home and a more wallet-friendly bill!

Clean Your Stovetop

Your stove’s burners may not be operating efficiently if they’re not cleaned often. When they are blackened due to heavy use, they will use more energy to cook your meal. To prevent build-up, clean your stovetop with a scrubby brush and cleanser on a regular basis, in particular before and after you cook a large meal if a mess is created.

Work With Your Fridge

A woman looking into a refrigerator at night.

Certain habits cause our refrigerators to expend more energy than necessary. For instance, placing food items in there that are still hot causes your fridge to have to work extra hard to cool them down. Also, it’s important to avoid leaving the fridge or freezer door open for extended periods of time, as it lets cold air out and warm air in, causing the need for your fridge to run more. Studies show that simply opening the fridge and gazing at your food could cost your family an extra $30 to $60 a year, so be sure to decide what you want before opening the refrigerator door.

It’s also important to cover any liquids or foods that are stored in your fridge, as open items create moisture in the air, which causes your fridge’s compressor to work harder. Finally, ensure that there is at least 10 centimeters of space between the back of your fridge and the wall, as it allows heat to flow more easily from the appliance and helps to save electricity.

Don’t Overfill Your Tea Kettle

Believe it or not, the energy expelled heating an over-filled kettle in a week is enough to power a television for an entire day. Commonly, people fill their tea kettle with almost double the water they would normally use, causing your stove to work twice as hard to heat the water. To save energy, use a measuring cup to fill your tea kettle with only the water you will actually use (plus a smidge extra to account for evaporation).

Stop Opening the Oven

A young man and woman looking into an oven at a cooking pizza.

While you’re baking food in the oven, it’s tempting to open the door to check on it. However, each time you do that, you're letting hot air escape from the appliance—up to 20% of its heat, actually—which wastes energy. Instead of opening the oven door and changing the internal temperature of the oven, use the internal light and keep your oven door clean so that you can see into it without wasting any heat.

Cook Smart

There are easy changes you can make to your cooking methods that will save loads of electricity and energy. First, always cover pots and pans so that they boil quicker as you cook, which will cut down on energy costs. Next, start turning off the heat in your oven or on your electric stovetop a few moments before the timer runs out. At this point, your food will be mostly cooked and the appliance won't be cooled down by the time you’re done making your food. Studies show that you can turn off your oven about 10 minutes prior to your timer being up and your food will still end up fully cooked and hot for serving.

Use Your Microwave or Toaster Oven Often

A toaster oven in a kitchen with blue accessories.

You can cook food in the microwave or toaster oven to save power. These small appliances are much more efficient than an oven or stovetop, especially when it comes to heating small portions of food.

Cook in Bulk

A stack of frozen vegetables in bags in a freezer.

Cooking in bulk and embracing leftovers is a great way to save energy (and will save yourself some time!). Whether you freeze excess food to eat at a later date or simply divvy up portions to eat several times over the span of a week, this is an easy way to cut utility costs. Although you will have to reheat leftovers, this uses considerably less energy than the power it takes to cook an entire meal from scratch.