Summer cooking and staying cool

Be energy efficient in the kitchen this summer.

Summer is officially here and temperatures are rising. How can you prepare home cooked meals in relative comfort while being energy efficient? Energy.gov suggests the following:

When cooking with your oven:

  • Limit preheating when possible. Keep in mind that certain recipes that require rising (i.e. cake, bread, etc.), do require your oven to pre-heat. However, some recipes may encourage you to pre-heat longer than necessary. Some ovens have digital displays that count down the pre-heating process. If your oven doesn’t have this feature, use an oven thermometer to see when your oven is actually ready for cooking.
  • Keep the oven door closed. Resist the temptation to routinely check on your cooking creation. Each time the oven door is opened, the temperature can drop 25 degrees – which can lead to energy waste. Instead, use an oven light or timer, to check on your cooking progress.

(Tip: Digital timers are more precise than wind-up timers).

  • Keep the oven door seal clean. Use a kitchen degreaser to gently clean the door seal so your oven will retain the maximum amount of heat.
  • Don’t forget the importance of summer food safety.

Refrigerator use and care:

  • Before storing food, cover it. Did you know that your refrigerator’s compressor works harder to cool moist air? The easy solution is to cover your food before placing it in the refrigerator, because covered foods limit moisture evaporation. This may also reduce odors and unfortunate spills!
  • Don’t forget to clean the coils. It is recommended that we clean or dust refrigerator coils (located on the back of the unit) annually. This will help the compressor cool faster and run less frequently, reduce energy use, and help extend the life of the unit.

(Tip: Remember, being energy efficient also helps save you money. To learn more about household appliances and the amount of energy they use, visit the Appliance Energy Calculator at Energy.gov.)

In addition to the above, you may want to consider these additional tips:

  • Use other appliances that use less energy to prepare meals: microwaves, toaster ovens, slow cookers, etc.
  • Use fans to circulate air to increase comport: i.e. ceiling fans, whole house fans, etc.
  • Use energy efficient lighting to reduce energy use and heat: i.e. replace incandescent bulbs in recessed down-lights or under-cabinet lights with CFL or LED lighting.

To access a variety of energy saving tips, visit Energy.gov.

For additional money management resources, visit Michigan State University Extension. Michigan State University Extension offers financial literacy and homeownership workshops throughout the year to help you become financially healthy. For more information of classes in your area, please visit either the MSU Extension events page or MI Money Health website. Additionally, you can take the Financial Health Survey at MI Money Health to access if you’re financially healthy and discover more ways you can improve your financial health. 

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