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10 sneaky ways you’re wasting money in your kitchen

You bought your kitchen appliances on sale. Bonus: they’re Energy Star, so you’ll save money in water and energy costs.

But did you ever think that the way you use your appliances can really affect your utility bills?

Here are 10 energy-wasting choices to avoid:

1. Making your dishwasher heat up cold water
Run hot tap water before you run your dishwasher it doesn’t have to heat up the water as long.

2. Setting your refrigerator and freezer too cold
Your fridge section should be set at 37 degrees to 40 degrees, and your freezer section should be set at 5 degrees. A deep freeze should be set at zero degrees.

3. Using an uncovered pot to boil water
Think of all the heat – and time – lost without a cover on a pot of heated water. Instead, a cover traps the energy in.

4. Selecting “Heat Dry” on your dishwasher
If you don’t wash a lot of plastic dishes, or lots of dishes in general, choose the “Air Dry” setting or simply prop your dishwasher door open after the rinse cycle.

5. Leaving foods uncovered in the refrigerator
Uncovered foods release moisture, causing the compressor to work harder. Instead, cover all liquids and foods.

6. Pre-washing your dishes
Not only will it decrease the effectiveness of your dishwasher detergent, pre-washing your dishes is unnecessary and wastes water. Just scrape off the big pieces of food.

7. Ignoring the gasket on your refrigerator
Close your refrigerator door over a piece of paper or dollar bill so it’s half in and half out of the refrigerator. If you can pull it out easily, your door seals aren’t airtight.

Try moistening the gasket with a thin layer of Vaseline, which should create a better seal. If that doesn’t do the trick, you might need to replace the gasket altogether.

8. Cooking with dirty burners and drip pans
Clean burners and drip pans will reflect the heat better, cooking your food faster and saving you energy.

9. Placing small pans on bigger burners
Match pans to the size of the element. Otherwise, you’re using energy to heat a bigger burner only to let it escape around the sides of the smaller pot or pan.

10. Barely stocking your refrigerator
It seems backwards, but a full refrigerator holds temperature better than a poorly stocked refrigerator. Just don’t pack food so tight as to block the airflow.