During hot summer days, preparing family meals can really heat up the kitchen. Cooking creates a lot of heat and humidity. This forces the air conditioning system to work harder to remove moisture from the air and keep everyone cool and comfortable.
Many cooks prefer to serve sandwiches and salads to keep cool, but there are other tips that can help keep your family cool:
- Use lids to cover pots and pans and contain hot steam. When covered, foods tend to cook more quickly. Using lower burner settings reduces energy use and keeps the kitchen cooler.
- Use an exhaust fan to vent steam and heat from the cook top and oven to the outdoors. The range hood should be connected to the exterior of the home instead of venting into the attic.
- Use energy efficient appliances such as a microwave or toaster oven, slow cooker, or pressure cooker. Baked potatoes and meats can be started in the microwave to reduce the time the oven is used.
- Grill meats and fresh vegetables outdoors instead of oven roasting. Consider grilling enough for more than one meal. Leftover grilled chicken or steak is a great addition to a tossed salad.
- Start your dishwasher when you go to bed. If it has a timer, set the dishwasher to run during the middle of the night. If you prefer to rinse your dishes before placing in the dishwasher, use cool water.
In addition to the kitchen, other rooms of the house have their own heat and humidity sources. The bathroom is a major producer of warm, moist air. Suggest that dad rinse his razor in cool water while shaving at the bathroom sink. Encourage family members to take shorter showers. A water-saving showerhead can also reduce the amount of steam produced. Use an exhaust fan while in the shower, but avoid using it too long and venting cool air to the outdoors.
Think about these tips for the laundry room:
- If possible, separate the water heater and laundry appliances from the living area of the house.
- Use cold water to wash most loads. If you need to use warm or hot water, do so in the late evening or early morning. When washing smaller loads, adjust the water level appropriately.
- Consider drying clothes on an outdoor clothesline. Using a dryer to fluff towels produces much less heat.
- Vent the dryer outdoors and clean the vent hose regularly. A buildup of lint will cause the dryer to run longer, producing more heat and using more energy.
Danna Gillett is the Family and Consumer Sciences Agent for Richland Parish.