You may think that factories and oil spills are causing most of the current environmental damage, but your home may be a significant contributor. According to the Yale Environment Review, kitchen appliances use up to 18% of all energy consumed in the United States. In addition to sucking up energy (which doesn’t always come from natural or renewable resources like solar and wind), some kitchen appliances are dangerous and can cause health problems. Here is what you need to know about environmentally detrimental kitchens.
Your microwave is not your best friend
Sure, it heats up food at lighting speed, but it also emits harmful radiation and causes chemicals to leech into your food. Some of these chemicals, which usually come from paper and plastic microwavable containers and covers, are hormone disrupting and can lead to an array of major health problems. While everyone knows not to use a damaged or bent microwave, too few know of the dangers all microwaves pose.
Standing within a foot of your microwave, for example, can expose you to harmful, leukemia causing electromagnetic radiation. Using a microwave in your home, attempting to repair a broken microwave, or discarding a microwave can all have a negative impact on your health and the environment. Be sure to avoid standing too close to your microwave while it’s in use to protect yourself from these effects.
Your refrigerator may actually be warming the planet
Keeping food refrigerated and frozen 24 hours a day sucks up a tremendous amount of energy, and you can expect this to take up around 13% of your energy bill. This number can be even higher if your refrigerator is old or in need of repair. The refrigerator can be a tricky appliance since it typically has multiple components including refrigeration, freezing, and ice making.
If something is not working correctly, the amount of electricity used can increase, so it’s important to get your refrigerator fixed right away. If you need to repair freezer, refrigerator or even ice maker parts, go read the instructions manual first or check several troubleshooting reviews online second. These can assist you well enough do successfully fix small issues. If you can’t tell for sure what’s the problem or you can’t fix it by yourself, call a professional repair company as soon as possible to avoid injuring yourself or harming the environment.
Your oven and stove use up more electricity than you think
Electric ovens are perfect for baking, broiling, and keeping food warm, but they increase the carbon footprint that you leave on the planet. Like all kitchen and household appliances, electric ovens and stoves require energy to heat and that energy usually comes from burning coal. According to the EPA, burning coal and fossil fuels for electricity production made up 29 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in 2015.
Burning coal for electricity is one of the main culprits in global warming, and any time you use a high energy appliance such as an oven, you contribute to the effects of climate change. To get the most out of your oven or stove, always cook a full batch of food. Doing this will help you utilize more of the consumed energy and make your carbon footprint a little bit smaller.
Your dishwasher can do more with less energy
Dishwashers are known for their capacity to wash more dishes with less water, energy, and even soap than hand-washing. However, not all dishwashers are made the same. Using an old or malfunctioning dishwasher can waste more water and energy than washing your dishes by hand.
In addition, using the lowest setting wastes more energy than washing your dishes properly at the normal setting. Making use of the heated drying cycle can also waste more energy than is necessary to get your dishes clean. To reduce energy waste, fill your dishwasher completely before turning it on, and turn off your heated drying cycle.
It’s nearly impossible to stop using your kitchen appliances, but taking these steps is one way you can minimize your carbon footprint and help the environment. Another smart and environmental friendly way to get rid of your appliances is to sell them. If your energy bill is mysteriously high, call a professional and have them look around your kitchen for any breaks that need repair. It’s also a good idea to keep your appliances up to date and periodically shop around for the most energy efficient versions. It’s an investment that can cut long term costs, both financial and environmental.