Small appliances can be the secret to summer savings

Image of BC Hydro's Kelsey McMorran with a microwave oven
BC Hydro Outreach rep Kelsey McMorran outlines how easy it is to avoid using heat-generating appliances on hot summer days. One tip is to use a microwave for certain dishes - cutting down energy use, heat generation and cooking time.

Keep cool by limiting use of major heat-generating appliances in your kitchen

Posted by Kelsey McMorran

Warm summer weather may not have you wishing for hot soups or a roast beef dinner, but kitchens are an energy hotspot year round. There are lots of ways that we can cut down on electricity in the kitchen this summer.

Cut down on cooking

We all know that using the oven and stove can heat up our house indirectly. Instead of using air conditioning to cool your home while cooking, choose fresh foods that require little or no cooking, like a tasty Greek salad or a fresh fruit smoothie. We can support our local food scene and our health by taking advantage of the fresh produce while it's here and readily available in the summer.

Certain cooking methods, like stir-frying, are more energy efficient than roasting or baking. If you're set on using those large appliances, why not make a large batch to reheat in small quantities later, rather than making a meal each day? And be sure not to peek in the oven: every time you open the door, up to 20 per cent of the heat from the oven is lost.

Choose the right appliance

When you're ready for a hot meal, try alternative methods of cooking. Small appliances like toaster ovens, microwaves, and slow cookers work just as well as the oven, but use much less energy and can be quicker. Consider that:

  • Most small appliances use half the wattage of an electric oven,
  • 15 minutes in a microwave does the same job as an hour of cooking in an oven,
  • Slow cookers use 65 per cent less energy in seven hours of cooking than an electric oven in a single hour,
  • Using an electric kettle to boil water instead of a stovetop kettle uses up to 50 per cent less energy.

Why not take the heat outside to cook on the barbecue or grill? Your home will stay cool, and you can enjoy the great outdoors while you prepare your meal.

To find out how efficient your appliances are, check out the EnerGuide rating. If you're planning to purchase new appliances, look for the ENERGY STARĀ® logo on refrigerators, freezers and dishwashers to ensure energy efficiency and quality.

  • An ENERGY STAR refrigerator or freezer is 20 per cent more efficient than government standards, which can dramatically reduce operating costs.
  • An ENERGY STAR dishwasher is at least 25 per cent more efficient than government standards.

Learn more about ENERGY STAR appliances

Kitchen efficiency tips

Here are a few more suggestions to keep you saving energy and money this summer:

  • Clean stove burners and refrigerator coils for optimum efficiency
  • Use the smallest pan and stove burner suitable for the task
  • Let food cool before putting it in the fridge, and make sure that it's covered; this will prevent your fridge from having to work harder to stay cool
  • Defrost food in the fridge rather than the microwave; it takes less energy and can also help your fridge stay cool

Get more tips on trimming energy use when you're cooking

Kelsey McMorran is a Community Outreach representative with BC Hydro in Vernon who educates customers on ways to save energy and money.