Is your kitchen the hottest room in the house? Kitchens generate a lot of heat, particularly in the summer when you'd rather be cooling down instead of getting hotter.
What makes kitchens so hot in the first place is due to a wide range of variables. For one thing, the heat coming from the stove or range can raise the temperature of the kitchen by 10 degrees or more. Appliances such as dishwashers, refrigerators, toasters and popcorn makers can also add to the heat in your kitchen. Even hot food will heat up the kitchen as it waits to be served.
There are also some hidden reasons why your kitchen heats up. Old kitchens in older homes were often tacked on to the end of the house to face south or southwest for maximum light. Unfortunately, the same windows that bring in the light also bring in that hot summer heat, even more so if the kitchen has minimal insulation. Unwrapped water pipes, uninsulated floors, and high wattage light bulbs can also heat up a kitchen.
How to keep the kitchen cool in the summer
Heat in the kitchen is nothing new. Many older historical homes had summer kitchens, located in an outbuilding or in the cellar. While a summer kitchen isn't practical for many of us, there are some other ways to keep the kitchen cool in the summer.
- Cook in the morning. Instead of using the oven in the afternoon or evening, I cook in the mornings. By baking and cooking in the morning, the heat generated from the oven and all that boiling food dissipates out the open windows instead of heating up the kitchen.
- Run the dishwasher at night. Even insulated dishwashers generate heat during the washing process. Instead of washing dishes after dinner, program the dishwasher to run late at night. For those cooks without a dishwasher, let the dishes soak overnight and tackle them in the morning.
- Use low heat appliances for cooking. If you must cook in the evenings for a hot evening meal, think about using low heat appliances to prepare your meals. Crockpots and microwaves are great ways of cooking dinner without heating up the kitchen in the process.
- Replace your kitchen light bulbs with low energy bulbs. If you're running 100 watt bulbs in your ceiling light fixtures, summer is a great time to replace them with low wattage CFLs.
- Hang bamboo shades on the outside of the kitchen windows. Bamboo shades placed on the outside of your south, SW, or west windows can lower kitchen temperatures as much as 20 degrees.
- Grill outdoors as much as possible. Most entrees can be cooked outside on the grill which keeps the heat outside. If you don't have one already, invest in a vegetable grilling tray which will let you cook vegetables, steam rolls, and even bake a pizza on the grill.
- Run a small oscillating table fan in the kitchen. Fans can lower air temperature by 8 degrees and goes far in improving the disposition of a sweaty family. Whenever I'm in the kitchen, my tabletop fan is set to high which circulates the air and makes the kitchen a more tolerable place to work.