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Southlake Style

Just in Time for the Holidays

Dec 10, 2013 03:43PM ● By tina

Ho! Ho! Ho! Don't get burned by your energy costs in the kitchen!

Energy Saving Tips for Your Kitchen

Sponsored by Berkeys Air Conditioning and Plumbing 

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We spend a lot of money during the holidays – parties, family dinners, toys from Santa and the list goes on. Your energy bills can skyrocket with your stove, oven, and dishwasher running overtime. Not to mention the door to the refrigerator standing open as people search for hidden treats.  But, the Christmas tree isn’t the only thing that’s green for the holidays.   There are tons of ways to save money and energy while still having a grand ole’ time.

The holidays are usually a time for delicious food shared with friends and family. You might think a little about the energy that enables you to create those sensational culinary delights. Fortunately, it's relatively easy to keep added holiday energy costs down (even if you’re going to have to do all the cooking).  New kitchen appliances use nearly 50 percent less energy than those built just ten years ago.  But, before you get cooking, lower the thermostat on the heating system a few degrees. Once you turn on your appliances, the temperature inside your home will rise.

Don’t get burned by your oven

-       Don't open the oven door unless it’s absolutely necessary. To take a peek at what's cooking, turn on the oven light and check through the oven window. There are also dozens of meat and oven thermometers that you can use without opening the door.  Opening the door lowers the temperature inside by as much as 25 degrees, which increases cooking time and wastes energy.

-       If possible, cook multiple items at the same time, but leave enough room for the air to circulate.

-       Place your desserts in your still warm oven while you’re eating. By the time you’re finished, your pie will be warmed using the residual heat.

-       When you’re finished cooking, leave the oven door ajar for a little while – the residual heat will keep your kitchen warm, too.

Stovetop Tips and Tricks

-       When cooking on your stovetop, match the size of the pan to the heating element (or as close as you can). Less energy will be lost to the surrounding air and more heat will be transferred to the pan. A six-inch pan on an eight-inch burner can waste more than 40 percent of the energy.

-       Keep the burners and reflectors clean. They will heat more efficiently and save energy. Buy high quality reflectors when you replace them. The best ones on the market can save up to one-third of the energy used to heat the element.

Get creative

-       Don't overlook your other culinary tools. Microwave ovens are fast and efficient and they use around 50 percent less energy than conventional oven.  You can use them to bake yams, steam your vegetables, or heat up the gravy. But, when it comes to the turkey (or other large items) or breads, your oven or stovetop are usually more efficient.

-       Remember the small appliances hidden in the cabinets. They can be energy savers all year long. Slow cookers, like crock-pots, can cook a whole meal for about 17 cents worth of electricity. Electric skillets can cook a variety of food items in various ways.  Some may even double as serving dishes.

-       If you're baking or broiling small items, use a toaster oven. They use one-third less energy than a large conventional oven.

-       If you're adventurous, get out of the kitchen and roast your turkey and vegetables on the grill. Or give fried Turkey a try. Or cook a different type of meat – like beef or pork.

Give the Frigidaire a hand

-       The refrigerator and freezer are more efficient than older models, but they’re still one of the largest energy consumers in your house – up to 15 percent of your home's energy usage. Operate your fridge and freezer more efficiently (and economically) by keeping the doors closed as much as possible. However, leaving the door open a little longer while you take out everything you need is more efficient than opening and closing the doors several times.

-       Keep your refrigerator and freezer relatively full during the holidays. The mass of cold items inside will help your refrigerator return to the correct temperature after the door is opened.

-       Keep the canned drinks and bottled water in a cooler, so you won’t open the refrigerator door unless it’s necessary.

Washing your dishes

-       Put the relatives to work. Several people together washing and drying your dishes by hand can save energy - if you don't keep a steady stream of hot water flowing. Usually, a load of dishes washed in a dishwasher requires 37 percent less water than washing dishes by hand. But, if you fill the wash and rinse basins instead of letting the water run, you'll use half as much water as a dishwasher and almost no electricity.

-       If you opt to use the dishwasher, fill it up completely before you turn it on. If you must rinse your dishes before loading them, use cold water.

-       Use the energy-saving cycles. You can save up to 10 percent of your dishwashing energy costs.

Throughout the holiday season and into the New Year, you'll watch your energy bills drop, which is one more thing to be thankful for this holiday season. But, saving energy should extend to your entire home.

Your HVAC system and plumbing run all year long, so they need extra attention to be efficient. While you’re preparing for the holidays, contact your HVAC and plumbing professional, like Berkeys Air Conditioning & Plumbing. They have energy saving tips, too. They may also have specials on equipment or other services.  Your HVAC and plumbing professionals may also have service plans, like Berkeys BAM Plan, that can help save you money on service calls and provide annual tune-ups.

You can call Berkeys Air Conditioning & Plumbing 24/7 at 817-481-5869, visit Berkeys for questions and scheduling information, or on Facebook at