The United States Department of Energy reports approximately 17% of energy in households across the nation is consumed by kitchen appliances. These appliances include large items, such as refrigerators, as well as small countertop can openers. Sunnyvale’s electric company, Pronto Power, has a remedy: upgrade your kitchen appliances to make your life easier and your electric bill smaller.
Look to the (Energy) Stars
Take a look at the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Energy Star ratings adhered to major appliances to determine an appliance’s efficiency. The EPA has determined the average consumption of every brand and model major appliance for each year of use in the form of a dollar amount. For instance, a standard microwave costs most households approximately $20 a year to operate, according to its Energy Star label. However, wiggle room exists with some models consuming less than $20 a year while others eat away more of your savings.
Be careful when comparing appliances, though, since some are manufactured to be less powerful, which lowers the amount of energy they consume.
Scary news about phantom loads
It may come as a surprise to many consumers that their appliances use power not only while in use, but any time they are plugged into a wall outlet. Many homeowners have turned to hand-held electricity monitors which calculate how much energy appliances are consuming even when they are turned off.
For an accurate reading, leave an appliance hooked to the electricity monitor over an extended period of time, such as an afternoon or overnight. An $8 electricity monitor can show where phantom loads occur, giving you the option to unplug those consuming more than their share.
Replacing large appliances with trendy new countertop appliances can save a bundle. Many countertop appliances have the ability to act as an oven or microwave, but use at least half the amount of power. Take a look at that cool new gadget – it might replace an aging, bulky appliance you never thought you could live without.
A second option is to simply clear the clutter off the kitchen counter. Leave the toaster and mixer in a cabinet until you use them. This certifies they are not pulling power while at rest. And you finally have enough room to dice carrots!
Thirdly, if given the option of a toaster with a clock or light and one without, choose the latter. Do you really need 4 clocks on your kitchen counter? Every flashing light or digital clock constantly draws electricity.
Your television and gaming components are probably plugged into a power surge protector with an on/off switch. Your kitchen appliances can benefit from the same format.
If you do not want to hide away your countertop appliances, bundle them together, such as the coffee maker, toaster, and electric skillet you use every morning for breakfast. Plug these into one power strip, which can be turned on before breakfast, then switched off afterward.
Quality over quantity
It may cost more for the top-of-the-line appliance, but if it lasts far longer than the least expensive model, do the math. Buying a low-end refrigerator and replacing it every 5 years may cost significantly more than an energy-efficient high-end model that lasts more than 20 years.
Research more expensive products, ask friends, read reviews, and look online for the product’s warranty. Generally speaking the manufacturer believes the product they are selling will last about the length of the warranty.
If your appliances – especially those consuming a significant amount of energy – are more than 15 years old, look online for their Energy Star rating and compare it with newer models. You may be shocked to learn how inefficient older appliances may be. An outdated refrigerator might increase your carbon footprint by 1640 pounds a year – the equivalent to driving your car from Fargo, ND to Orlando, FL – when compared to a new refrigerator.
Looks DO matter
The style of refrigerator you purchase has a bearing on its efficiency as well. A freezer at the top or bottom of a refrigerator is more efficient than a side-by-side. While ice and water in the door is convenient, it consumes significantly more energy.
The sleek, flat surface of an induction cooktop is definitely appealing. No annoying burners to clean? Yes, please! Induction cooktops save 15% power over electric models, and heat water more rapidly than either gas or electric, and that saves energy.
A new trend in home appliances is the halogen oven, which heats more quickly and has the option to microwave as well. Halogen ovens are much more energy efficient than standard ovens.
Pronto Power is your Sunnyvale electric company ready to give you more energy-saving ideas for your kitchen – and the rest of your house! Call us today at 1-844-621-2852 or visit our website. We love helping you save money!
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