Friday, July 29, 2011

Making Your Kitchen More Energy Efficient

If you’re looking for ways to improve the energy efficiency of your kitchen and save on energy bills, there are ways to make the changes without breaking the bank. The kitchen uses more energy than any other room in the house. Here are a few tips to reduce your energy usage and costs:

The light fixtures in your kitchen are a big contributor to your energy cost, especially during the night. Install ENERGY STAR qualified light fixtures or replace standard light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). According to ENERGY STAR, their qualified lighting provides bright, warm light while using 75% less energy, generating 70% less heat and lasting up to 10 times longer than standard lighting. Remember to always turn off your lights when leaving the room.
If you’re planning to remodel your kitchen, think of ways to bring in natural lighting. Make windows wider, knock down walls, add skylights or put in French doors to connect to another room. This will allow the sun to illuminate your kitchen at no additional cost.
The refrigerator is the appliance that consumes the most energy. When choosing a fridge be sure to also find a product with the ENERGY STAR symbol as these qualified refrigerator models use at least 20% less energy than required by current federal standards.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), you should replace your fridge if it’s more than 10 years old. Also, don’t purchase a fridge that’s larger than what you need; you’ll just be wasting more energy.
Refrigerators with the freezer on the top or bottom are more efficient than side-by-side models. Be sure to leave space between the refrigerator and walls to allow air movement.

Most dishwashers today can thoroughly clean dishes that have had food scraped, rather than rinsed, off — the wash cycle and detergent take care of the rest. To make the most efficient use of your dishwasher's energy and water consumption, run the dishwasher only when enough dirty dishes have accumulated for a full load and use the air-dry option. Try running short cycles for everything but the dirtiest dishes.
Using the wrong sized pot on a stove burner can waste as much 40 percent of the burner's heat and can cost approximately $36 more annually for an electric range, or $18 more annually for gas. Be sure to cover pots and pans. This will ensure you cook more efficiently and keep your kitchen cooler.

You may want to consider selecting a natural gas oven or range which is far more efficient than electricity. Keep the burners clean to ensure maximum efficiency. Blue flames mean good combustion; yellow flames mean service may be needed to ensure the gas is burning efficiently.
Other Tips
Use small appliances when you can. If you use a toaster oven rather than a full-size oven you will save energy. In addition, using a microwave oven versus a full range oven or stove will save you money because the heating time is far less.

For information on 2011 Federal Tax Credits for Consumer Energy Efficiency go to

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Selecting the Right Faucet for your Kitchen

It wasn’t that long ago homeowners only had a couple of options in selecting a kitchen sink faucet, but today there is a wide variety of different faucet types in various styles and finishes. If you’re planning to remodel your kitchen, selecting a kitchen sink faucet is one of the many decisions to make.

The most traditional kind of kitchen faucet is the single handle faucet. A single lever allows you to control water temperature and capacity with one gesture. This is great because it doesn’t clutter up the top of the sink. However, many homeowners find it hard to control water temperature with this type of faucet.

If you’re looking for a more traditional sink (i.e. bathroom sink), go with the double handle faucets. You will get better water temperature control but it can make the area to look more cluttered and harder to clean.

Pull-Out Spray Faucet
installed by Kruse Home Improvement
Many traditional sinks offer a separate spray head that allows you to direct water where you want, making it handy when washing dishes or cleaning out the sink. Nowadays you can get a faucet which can pull out into a sprayer when needed. These pull-out spray faucets have much better water pressure than the side-mounted sprayers and eliminate the look of clutter.

Although most faucets are attached to the sink, faucets coming right out the wall are becoming very popular. If you’re looking for a professional kitchen look to complement your professional-grade appliances, wall-mounted faucets are for you. One of the benefits of this type of faucet is the way it clears up space around your sink and countertop thus making no clutter. This also makes it easier to clean the surrounding area.

Faucets are usually made from brass, nickel, stainless steel, pewter or ceramic and are finished in a variety of ways including chrome, matte, colored, nickel or polished brass. Some are even gold plated. Whether you choose a traditional, modern, contemporary or Victorian style kitchen, there is a large variety of faucets to choose from. Just remember that a kitchen sink will be used numerous times a day so be sure to choose something durable.

For additional information on choosing faucets, visit
Home Building & Remodeling.