Keep your kitchen cool during the hottest days of summerby Lutes Custom Cabinetry on 2018-06-28 16:57:28
When it’s sweltering outside, the last thing you probably want to think about is cooking a meal in your kitchen during the hottest part of the day. While that’s especially true if you don’t have central air, even with air conditioning the kitchen is likely to be the warmest room in your home due to heat-producing appliances and lights. And even if you are blessed with air conditioning, it pays to take steps to reduce the heat produced in your kitchen so that your electric bill doesn’t skyrocket during those hot days. With some modifications and a little planning, you can help keep your kitchen as cool as a cucumber when the mercury rises outside.
- Give your appliances a break—make meals that can be served cold. There are many delicious meals you can enjoy without using your oven, stovetop, or any other heat-producing kitchen appliances. Subs and cold-cut sandwiches, wraps, cold soups, chicken or tuna salad, bean salad, or any traditional salad made with lettuce are just a few ideas. If a salad doesn’t sound like a filling dinner option, toss in some protein such as pre-cooked chicken, tuna, hard-boiled eggs, or crumbled cheese to make it more substantial. The chicken or hard-boiled eggs could be cooked ahead during a cooler part of the day, such as the night before or in the morning. Similarly, pasta for pasta salads could be boiled during cooler hours, allowing you to throw together a quick yet hearty pasta salad at dinnertime. Even during the cooler hours, be sure to use the vent above your stovetop to dissipate the heat put off by the boiling water.
- Take advantage of smaller appliances if you do want a warm meal. If serving a cold dinner doesn’t sound appealing to you or your family, you could still prepare a warm meal without using the oven. Smaller appliances that produce less heat such as panini presses; sandwich, quesadilla, or waffle makers; or air fryers are great hot-weather solutions. Panini presses can often be used for more than just sandwiches—many models can quickly cook chicken breasts, fish fillets, and vegetables such as zucchini, eggplant, or asparagus. Even slow cookers can be a better option than using an oven on hot days, although it’s best to use recipes that use the low heat setting to minimize the amount of heat your crockpot puts off.
- Plan to have leftovers on the hottest days. If you have any relief from the heat for a day or two, cook a large meal that will provide enough leftovers so that you won’t have to cook on the hottest days of the week. Leftovers can be warmed in the microwave, which puts off much less heat that an oven does. If the entire weekly forecast includes nothing but sweltering days, this probably won’t work as well, unless you have leftovers conveniently tucked away in your freezer that can be thawed and reheated in the microwave.
- Have a ceiling fan installed. If you’re a hardcore cook who just can’t seem to give up the oven—even on the hottest of days—a ceiling fan in the kitchen could at least help you feel more comfortable while you’re cooking. With so many unique ceiling fan options available these days, it’s easy to find a fan that fits the style, design, and size of your kitchen. If a ceiling fan just wouldn’t work in your kitchen, another option may be to install one near your kitchen if you have an open floor plan, or above your dining table.
- Keep the kitchen lights off. It might not seem like a big difference, but leaving the lights on for an extended period of time during the day can cause the temperature in your kitchen to rise. Incandescent light bulbs put off more heat than LEDs, but even LED bulbs produce some heat. Under-cabinet LED task lights are a great option if you need some light but want to avoid using overhead lights during the peak daylight hours. Lights with dimmer switches are also an option for allowing minimal light while you’re working in the kitchen or eating in the dining area.
- Close blinds or curtains. This goes for any room in the house, but since the kitchen is prone to being one of the warmest rooms, keeping the blinds and curtains closed in that area can help keep it cooler, especially if your kitchen windows receive direct sunlight at any point during the day. For some excellent information on how different window coverings can affect the heat gain and loss in your home, check out this helpful article from the U.S. Department of Energy: https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/energy-efficient-window-attachments.
- Run your dishwasher at night. You might not think about it, but your dishwasher puts off a lot of heat, especially if you use a heated drying option. By avoiding running your dishwasher during peak hours, you’ll help keep your kitchen cooler.
- Enjoy a meal out. When it’s just too unbearably warm to enjoy a meal in your kitchen, you could use it as an excuse to take a break and enjoy a meal out!
If you’re considering a kitchen remodel, we can help customize your kitchen with options to provide maximum comfort during those hot summer days, such as ceiling fans, range hoods, under-cabinet LED task lighting, dimmer switches, and more!