Thursday, October 25, 2007

Electricity Challenge - In the Kitchen

I figured the most logical place to continue my electricity audit would be the kitchen. After all, the kitchen is the central hub of the home...appliances. Nearly everything in the kitchen uses electricity!!!! Have you ever noticed that?

Here's a list of the things in my kitchen that use electricity:

* fridge
* freezer
* microwave
* oven
* grill
* hot plates
* fish tank.... which has *nothing * to do with eating I assure you
* breadmaker
* kettle
* rangehood
* dishwasher

Those are just the things that are on or plugged into power all the time!!!!

Then you have:

* toaster
* electric frypan
* foodprocessor
* popcorn maker
* donut maker
* sandwich maker
* pie maker
* hot dog maker..... mmm.... think we have too many "makers"?
* slow cooker 3 lt
* slow cooker 6 lt
* kenwood mixer
* juicer
* George Foreman grill
* egg poacher

Scarily enough, there is probably 1 or 2 items I've forgotten we even own. So it's not surprising that the kitchen is responsible for a reasonable chunk of the electricity that we use.

Eating really has a LOT to answer for doesn't it? How often have you heard people say we'd have plenty of money and time if we didn't have to eat? Of course, life would be a lot less fun too!

I have been doing some research into what certain appliances are costing us (approximately) to run.

A 600L fridge costs somewhere around $0.06c per hour to run. A 450L freezer costs around $0.03c. This isn't something I can change but keeping them full is supposed to help with their efficiency.

We're also *trying* to train our children NOT to stand in front of the fridge for half an hour while they decide what they'd like to eat. Perhaps I need to keep a list on the front of what is in there that they can have so that they don't do this. Hmmmm.....there's an idea. Note to self: make a laminated A4 sheet for the front of the fridge.

Come summer, I also plan to keep cold water in one of those esky coolers with a tap so that everyone isn't going to the fridge for cold drinks all the time.

Boiling Water:

I did a little *test* this morning with boiling enough water for 2 cuppas which is around 4 metric cups.

Kettle took almost 2.5 minutes to boil. @ 0.45c per minute (27c per hr) that cost 1.12c.

Microwave took 5 minutes. @ 20c per hour that cost 1.67c

Stovetop took 8 minutes. @ 18c per hour that cost 2.4c

Obviously the kettle is the way to go (which we all knew anyway). I also timed the kettle boiling with double the amount of water and it took just over 4 minutes. So you don't double the time to boil double the quantity of water.

Something else I noticed with the kettle was that I could hear it boiling for almost a minute before the automatic cut-out cut in. So I could save myself around half a cent by manually turning off the kettle each time when I hear it boiling.

One thing I could be doing is boiling water in the kettle for things like pasta and rice rather than simply putting cold water into the saucepan. It's one more step for me but would be quicker as well as use less electricity.


To cook a 2kg roast:

Oven takes around 2 hours + (well, mine does anyway) so @ 36c per hour that is 72c

Microwave on convection only takes 2 hours so @ 24c per hour that is 48c

Electric Frypan takes around 2 hours so @ 20c per hour that is 40c

Microwave on combination (part microwave and part convection) takes 1 hour so @ 24c per hour that is 24c

Slow Cooker takes around 4-6 hours so @ 2c per hour that is 8-10c

The slow cooker beats everything else by miles in terms of cost of cooking. Which is great as I much prefer most of our roasts done in there anyway. It's so much easier and my oven is painfully slow for some reason.

My next project is to attempt to bake a cake in the slow cooker. Has anyone already tried that? I wonder if I need a special recipe or whether my usual recipes would work the same?

I do have another plan for summer cooking though. DH is going to help me make a solar cooker! You can find some examples of solar cookers here . When it comes to cooking, well you can't really beat *free* can you? :-)

Washing Up:

Here's one I'd rather not know about. A dishwasher costs around 36c per hour to run (on average). Our cycle is around 90 minutes so that's around 54c a day (we run it once a day). Generally all our cooking dishes are washed by hand so the dishwasher takes all the cups, plates and cutlery for the day. I'm not quite ready to give up the convenience of the dishwasher though.

* Figures based on Country Energy: Energy Wise Guide. All are approximate and will vary depending on the actual cost per kWh from your energy provider as well as the number of watts the individual appliance actually draws.


slouching mom said...

Thanks for your visit to my blog.

And I hope your fish tank has nothing to do with eating, LOL!

lightening said...

LOL - it's empty at the moment but we DIDN't eat them. They died. :-( Besides, golfish are all skin and bone....not very tasty (I'm assuming - no I've NEVER eaten a goldfish!).

Junebug said...

I'm over here reading your posts about electricity. Wow, that's a lot of figuring. I agree with you on opening the fridge door and standing there gazing in, I have to tell my kids many times to close the door on it. A chart of things would be good, but I need to clean it out first. We have an ice maker and water thingy in the door, so at least that doesn't have to be opened all the time. I will come back tomorrow and visit you again. Nice to meet you.

Simple Blog Writer said...

A couple of things I do in the kitchen to save energy that you might like trying (or not).

When cooking rice, I bring to boil and then simmer for half the usual time. I turn off the burner and just let the rice sit there for the rest of the cooking time (or longer...there is no chance of burning). If the rice isn't done and is still watery, which happens sometimes, just bring up the heat again for awhile.

I haven't tried it, but I suppose you could do the same thing with pasta. Why not?

Consider a stovetop cooker. The one I have is Camerons brand. I think it's marketed as an indoor smoker, but I use it for baking and steaming daily. I don't have a microwave and my stovetop cooker works just as well to heat things up. I've even baked a cake on the stovetop with it. Very versitile, uses less energy, compact, and doesn't heat up the entire kitchen like an oven.

Way to go on all your progress.

Mrs. G. said...

I love all this good information but all I really want to talk about is the donut maker...who knew!

lightening said...

Hi Junebug - thanks for dropping by. :-)

Simple Blog Writer - thanks for your suggestions. I have tried the rice method you suggest but since we've switched to brown rice, I'm still learning about cooking times.

I'm not sure exactly what you mean by a stove top cooker. Would there be somewhere on the web with a picture of one that you could point me in the direction of? Or put a picture up on your blog?

lightening said...

mrs g - our donut maker was one of my "bargains" in my less "money savvy" days (yeah, yesterday and the day before and so on.....). It was marked down from $60 to $16 so I couldn't just leave it there!!!! It has sat in the cupboard unused for about 10 years now (and 2 house moves). BUT, I am planning on getting it out soon-ish and letting the kids have a play with it. It's really just a sandwhich press in the shape of small donuts.

Ali said...

I'm really impressed in how you've looked into the costs of various ways of cooking. Good luck with getting your power bill down a bit more!

Lis said...

I have a doughnut maker too and it comes out about once a month - i make heaps and freeze the rest to go in lunchboxes. they are quiet low fat as they are baked not fried. Email me via my blog if you need the batter recipe again :)

Simple Blog Writer said...

Your wish is my command: to see the stovetop cooker go to

Again, they talk about it as a smoker but I rarely use it as a smoker. I do use it daily for all sorts of other cooking and heating up.

As for the rice, I eat only brown rice and the method still works. :)

Happy cooking!

Oh, I LOVE the picture of your slow-cooker cake.

lightening said...

Thanks for that simple blog writer. :-)

Thanks Ali - let's hope I can succeed.

Lisa - that sounds great. I'll be in touch. You are my recipe queen!!! :-)