Homeowners and renters are being stung by the increasing cost of household bills due to the continued cost of living crisis
Every penny counts more so now than for a very long time. Even though staying in can be much cheaper than going out, searches for ‘how to save energy while cooking’ is up by 200% in the past 12 months. With many of us feeling the pinch, you might be surprised that making a few changes in your kitchen can make a significant difference to your bills.
From smarter appliance usage to mindful cooking techniques, there might be mistakes you’re making that are contributing to the extra pounds each month. Being savvy with costs is important with the uncertainty of future energy prices.
The experts at Wren Kitchens have teamed up with personal finance expert Laura Rettie at Finance.co.uk, to share seven tips that will have you cooking up a storm whilst keeping your energy bills in check.
1. Prepare meals by batch cooking
Embracing batch cooking isn’t just timesaving and healthy, but an energy-saving option. By preparing larger quantities of food at once, you can maximize the efficiency of your appliances and reduce the overall energy consumption.
Plan your batch cooking around peak energy hours. Costing £30.10 per year, cooking during off-peak times can further reduce your energy bills. Laura says, “Batch cooking is excellent for conserving energy because preparing multiple meals simultaneously reduces the need to repeatedly heat up the oven or hob.”
2. Always put a lid on your pan
Keeping a lid on your pan whilst cooking is a small habit that can make a big difference. This action helps food cook faster, which means you can turn off the heat or lower it sooner, saving energy.
Laura adds, “Using a lid whilst cooking with a pan on a hob helps trap the heat and steam your food, this speeds up cooking and reduces energy consumption. You’ll find that this is particularly effective for cooking dishes that require liquids like soups, stews or rice.”
3. Use the microwave for quick dishes
Unlike ovens or hobs that need time to preheat, the microwave is ready to cook as soon as you turn it on. This eliminates the need to wait for the oven to reach the desired temperature, saving both time and energy. According to Carbon Footprint, a microwave will cost £9.07 per year compared to an electric oven costing £21.08 a year.
Laura says, “Microwaves are generally more energy-efficient than conventional ovens. They aren’t just for reheating. They can steam vegetables, cook rice, defrost frozen foods, and even bake certain items like chocolate cakes or potatoes. The appliance uses less energy and can cook food faster due to the focused heat source.”
4. Turn off the oven before you need to
Ovens retain heat even after they’ve been turned off. By switching off the oven a few minutes before the timer goes off, you can take advantage of the residual heat to finish cooking your food. This works best for dishes that don’t require precise timing, such as casseroles or baked pasta dishes.
Some dishes are particularly sensitive to overcooking, so turning off the oven early can help you achieve the perfect texture and flavour. For example, vegetables may stay crisper when cooking on residual heat.
5. Have the right flooring in your kitchen
During Winter, you’ll be turning up the heating, even if you’re cooking in the kitchen. Vinyl flooring offers a wide variety of styles and is often backed with insulating materials that help regulate temperature. Some vinyl planks are designed to be more energy-efficient, providing both comfort and durability. Engineered wood combines the look of hardwood with added stability and can help maintain a consistent indoor temperature, reducing the need for excessive heating or cooling.
Laura says, “This might not be immediately obvious, but having the right flooring in your kitchen can contribute to energy efficiency. Choosing flooring that provides insulation and retains heat can help keep your kitchen feel warmer, reducing the need for turning up the heating during those cold winter months.”
6. Invest in energy efficient appliances
Choosing energy-efficient appliances for your kitchen is a smart way to reduce consumption and lower your utility bills. The air fryer has revolutionised the way we cook, they are economical and can make healthy meals quickly. According to Utilita, the average air fryer will cost you around 9p per day to use, compared to an electric oven which costs around 31p per day to use.
Induction hobs are 90% efficient compared to around 60% for gas as induction creates heat directly in the base of the pan.
Laura adds, “Choosing appliances with high energy efficiency ratings can help you use less energy. In 2020, the UK introduced a new energy label that makes it easy to compare different products’ efficiency. It uses a simple A to G system – the closer to A, the more energy-efficient the appliance is”.
7. Don’t leave the fridge open for too long
Although it seems harmless, the longer the fridge door is open, the more cold air escapes, and the harder it is to hold the temperature. Costing £40.80 per year arrange items in a way that makes it easy to find what you need, reducing the time the door is open.
Laura says, “Keeping your fridge door open unnecessarily causes it to work harder to maintain a consistent temperature. Try to minimise the time your fridge is left open to prevent energy wastage. Make sure it’s properly sealed by testing the rubber gasket for any gaps or signs of wear.”
Darren Watts, Showroom Development and Design Director at Wren Kitchens says: “Energy-efficient practices and appliances help reduce the amount of electricity and fuel used in cooking and food preparation.
These tips, in turn, could lower your energy bills and conserves valuable natural resources which is important in the current climate.”