It sure looks nice, but what's wrong with this kitchen remodel? Ovens placed beside the refrigerator require the fridge to work harder; the microwave over the cooktop has an exhaust fan, but it vents into the room, not outside; and the "kitchen triangle" is interrupted by a large island.
Can't stand the heat? Then remodel the kitchen
Question: My kitchen gets uncomfortably warm during summer, even with air conditioning. How can I remodel the kitchen to keep it comfortable and efficient?
Answer: A kitchen remodeling project is an excellent opportunity to improve your home’s summertime comfort and efficiency. As you plan the renovation, your goal is to make sure you use as little heat as possible to prepare your meals. You can do this by following two smart strategies—developing an intelligent kitchen layout and installing high-efficiency appliances.
The kitchen triangle
When designing the floor plan for your new kitchen, use the “kitchen triangle” concept for both efficiency and convenience. The three areas used most often are the sink, range and refrigerator. Try to locate these in an equilateral triangle. If your kitchen is relatively small, you may need only a step or two to get from one to another.
It might sound obvious, but don’t put hot appliances, such as the range or dishwasher, immediately next to the refrigerator. Even though a refrigerator has heavy wall insulation, it will use more electricity to stay cold if there is a range beside it roasting a turkey for hours. Likewise, a dishwasher gives off warm, humid air, which reduces the refrigerator’s efficiency.
Do not place the range under a window that is used for natural ventilation. Even a small breeze can carry away the heat that should be going into the pot. The space under a window is a great place to locate a sink, offering natural lighting and an escape for warm, humid air without running an exhaust fan.
Choosing efficient appliances
The refrigerator and range/oven are the two greatest energy consumers in the kitchen, so look for the most efficient models you can afford. For all appliances, compare efficiency information on the yellow energy label, and look for Energy Star-rated models. The Energy Star designation is earned by appliances that meet efficiency guidelines set by the federal government.
Cool cooking tips
Whenever possible, use a toaster oven or slow cooker instead of the large oven. Heat buildup in the kitchen will be much less.
Match the size of the pot to the size of the burner or heating element to reduce heat loss.
If your refrigerator is seldom full, put several jugs of water in the back. This holds the temperature steadier and reduces air loss when the door is opened.
Set the refrigerator temperature at 40 degrees and the freezer around zero. Setting them too cold just wastes electricity.
When shopping for a refrigerator, choose the smallest model that satisfies your needs. Refrigerators with more surface area absorb more heat from the room, and the compressor has to run longer to keep it cold inside. As a rule, top-freezer designs are the most efficient, but consult the energy label for exact comparisons.
Choose your dishwasher and range based on the energy label and the features you need. A range with a convection oven will cook more efficiently than a standard oven. The up-front cost is higher, but you’ll see savings in the long run.
The Energy Star label also comes in handy when identifying efficient vent hoods for ranges. Look for a range hood with about 50 cfm (cubic feet per minute) of airflow per linear foot of the range top. Install it no more than 30 inches above the cooking surface. If the range hood is too small or too high, it will run much longer to vent the hot, humid air—if it can at all.
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