Make your kitchen energy crisis proof. All we read and hear about in the news at the moment is how to spend less money at home, how to deal with rising bills, and how to try and cut those bills. It can be very depressing and daunting but hopefully this guide will actually help you to save money on a daily basis: something that none of us can sniff at.
Most of us have been able to spend this particularly hot summer without having the heating on at all, hopefully. And if you don’t already, it’s good to get into the habit of switching off lights in rooms you’re not in: that can waste pounds over a period of time.
So here are some of the most cost-efficient ways to save money in your kitchen, and which options will save you the most.
- Boiling the kettle
- Electric Vs Gas Cooker
- Toasting or Grilling Bread
- Cooking Alternatives and What they Cost
- Slow cooker
- Other Kitchen Hacks
Boiling the Kettle
Let’s begin with the cost of making that cup of tea. Simple, eh? Well…
From October 1st the energy price cap will increase to 52p per kWh, so you could be paying as much as 1.95p per cup of water boiled, or 6.5p per litre of water boiled: this amounts to just over £7 a year after the price cap increase.
According to Energy Saving Trust, 95% of us boil the kettle every day, 40% boil it five times or more a day, and 75% of households are actually boiling more water than they require, which adds up to a collective waste of millions of pounds. So the key is to always just fill the kettle with as much water as you’re actually using each time: you can do this by filling your mugs from the tap, then tip it from the mugs to the kettle. This alone saves you £19 a year.
You might also think about investing in an ‘eco kettle’, which reportedly uses 60% less energy than a regular kettle.
Or finally, consider boiling water on the hob. Electric hobs use the same energy as kettles, but gas hobs will costs 15p per kWh after October 1: so it would be slightly cheaper to boil water on a gas hob, provided you only boil the water you actually need to use and you use a lid to prevent the heat from escaping.
Nonetheless, kettles are usually faster and more efficient at trapping energy inside the kettle. For most users, it’s simpler to continue using the kettle to boil water, unless you need large amounts for cooking – just keep an eye on those amounts and be strict with yourself.
It typically costs 87p a day to run an electric cooker – amounting to £26.38 a month, or £316 a year.
Dual cookers typically clock up a daily cost of 72p, or £264 annually.
A gas cooker costs 33p a day to run. That adds up to £120 over 12 months.
Fan-assisted/convection ovens circulate heat round your food at a lower temperature than a traditional oven: they use 20C less to reach the equivalent of gas mark 6, making them the more energy-efficient option for your home.
Currently an electric oven will cost 0.28 pence per kWh, while as gas oven costs 0.07 pence per kWh: quite a difference! Although gas ovens use more energy, that energy is significantly cheaper than electric, despite being less eco-friendly. Plus with a gas oven you have more control over temperature, but they do cost more to install.
It’s worth noting this stark figure: at the time of writing, 1kwh of electricity will cost you 4x as much as gas.
A good tip to save while using your electric oven is to switch it off 10 minutes before your food is ready: the oven temperature stays the same and continues to cook your food.
When choosing your oven, note that gas and electric hobs both use around 1.95kwh of energy, but gas hobs are much more cost-efficient: currently it will cost you 23p to heat something up on an electric hob, whereas a gas hob will only cost you 6p. Again, it’s a huge difference and could save you a lot of money over the winter.
Toasting or Grilling Bread
We all love a quick bit of toast throughout the day, and using a toaster is more energy efficient than a traditional grill. (It’s worth adding that grilling food is generally healthier, and a more efficient use of your electricity than a traditional oven.)
If you like to compare the numbers, here’s a handy breakdown: toasting bread for 3 minutes at 1.3kWh per serving currently costs less than grilling for 10 minutes at 2.71kWh per serving! So if you have a toaster, stick with that for toast!
A quick and simple meal, a soup or a stew is filling and nutritious (even more so when you’ve made it yourself) and there are various ways you can make it and heat it up:
An air-fryer is known to be a very cost efficient way of cooking and will typically add 14p a day to people’s energy bills, or £52 a year. Which is a massive saving compared to an oven.
Cooking with your microwave can work out cheaper than using an oven if you get twice the ingredients, cook and then reheat the food, costing only 8p a day to use, or £30 annually.
Batch cooking like this can save £158 over a year according to recent research.
There’s also the slow cooker option. These are brilliant for time-pressed folks who just want to throw a bunch of ingredients in one pan and leave for the whole day: when you come into the house at the end of the working day, the house is not only full of delicious smells but you’ve made yourself a meal to enjoy later – for which you can thank yourself!
Slow cookers use a small lightbulb to heat the food slowly, which uses way less energy and power than a regular cooker, plus they’re fun and there are lots of slow cooker recipes out there to try. Slow cookers cost 16p a day – £59 annually – to run. Significantly cheaper than your oven.
Using Pan Lids
While we’re on the subject of cooking habits: when you’re steaming, boiling or frying food, putting a lid on your pan reduces the cooking time and lowers your bill. Shorter meal prep times and lower bills: it’s a no-brainer! Plus, using the right-sized pan for the job – with a lid that fits properly – would save £72, and simmering rather than boiling could reduce annual bills by £68.
Defrost the fridge and freezer
Don’t let ice build up inside your freezer – the appliance has to work much harder to operate when it’s clogged up and this alone will drive up your bills. It’s also messy and stressful to have ice caked all over your freezer, and it reduces the space that you need for your food. Defrost regularly and you’ll be amazed how much better your freezer functions, and how much room you have for all those tasty leftovers. Same goes for the fridge: use the space wisely, don’t under stock or overstock (just use the shelves sparingly) and you’ll get the most from it.
Using your Washing Machine at Lower Temperatures
Putting a wash on at 30 degrees uses up to 40% less energy: that’s something we’ve been told about for years now. But also, don’t half-fill your washing machine as it uses/wastes the same water for fewer clothes.
DRYING YOUR CLOTHES
Try to avoid tumble driers unless absolutely necessary: they are energy guzzlers! If you do use one, keep the filter clean and use smaller loads for these machines, otherwise they’ll struggle (and therefore use more energy) to function.
Heated drying racks are becoming increasingly popular. You need to first invest in one in order to make savings – prices ranging from around £50 to £200, depending on size and brand. However, they are much cheaper to run than a tumble dryer. According to one recent study (pre October 2022 rise in energy prices) – a heated drying rack costs around 6p per hour to run, compared with a tumble dryer which costs 20p.
Of course the free way to dry your clothes in winter is on a non-heated rack, but that can take a long time and clothes often end up smelling musty. Try to avoid putting your clothes on radiators though.
According to Which? radiators work to heat your home until the they detect the temperature you’ve set on your thermostat. If you cover radiators with cold damp clothes, your radiators will think your house is the same temperature as those wet clothes and work harder to make up the difference. This will make your heating bills soar.
Stick with a rack dryer and – if you can afford it – try a heated one, even if you only use it for bigger items, such as sheets, it should save you money in the long run.
Washing up by hand can save you £35 a year on energy bills and £30 a year on metered water bills, rather than using a dishwasher; although those can be more cost-effective for larger families. Use a washing-up bowl rather than running the water continuously, that way you only use one bowl of hot water for your dishes.
This may sound obvious but you can save money hand-rolling, mixing and making your own dough for cakes and bread, waffles and other treats, rather than leaning on those gadgets like mixers, blenders and so forth: if you don’t use those, you can knock all of the above off your energy bill.
So in total, the cost saving could reach a total of £604, based on the Cornwall Insight price cap forecast for October 2022.
Obviously investing in kitchen appliances requires an initial outlay of money (and while you’re buying, it’s usually best to get a higher-rated, well-reviewed model than something cheap and cheerful which may end up costing you more in the long run), but the rewards are long-term as you’ll hopefully get years of time-saving, energy-saving and money-saving use out of such appliances.
Changing Energy Suppliers
You could easily save a few hundred quid by changing your supplier with someone like uSwitch, which will show you which providers cost less for your area. Well worth doing some research.