One Unplanned Consequence of Our Kitchen Renovation

Remember our kitchen renovation from last year? Well, I recently discovered an unplanned consequence of that renovation. I found it out after I signed up for an online account with our electric company and started looking at our billing history. Here’s a comparison of our energy usage in 2008 and 2007:

Bottom line: we’re using a lot more energy! Why? Because prior to our renovation, the kitchen was a separate room and most of the heat was contained in the kitchen. Now with that wall gone the heat is allowed into the famly room. Another important thing to point out is that we decided to recirculate the built-in microwave’s vent back into the room so the heat isn’t allowed to escape. We’ll most likely be changing this in the future.

11 thoughts on “One Unplanned Consequence of Our Kitchen Renovation”

  1. We have the same problem in our kitchen. Fortunately we have butler’s doors we can close and contain most of the heat whether its from the stove or dishwasher. It helps quite a bit. In the winter its nice to open everything up and use the “free” heat in the other rooms.

    If you don’t have any sort of door you might look into something that can be put up and down that might help keep the heat out of other rooms. Try they have unusual things like that.

  2. Call me a skeptic, but with the wall there, where do you think the heat went before? Heat is heat, whether the air conditioning system disposes of it quickly or slowly.

    You’re only talking from year to year. Are you sure you aren’t just measuring a difference in the weather? A little more hot weather (and air conditioning) seems like a more plausible explanation.

  3. Don,

    Good points, both. However, the thermostat is located on the family room wall. If it detects more heat, the unit will run more often. Right?

    Although I’m not sure, I don’t think weather is the factor as this year has been rather mild.

  4. Or maybe this is a sign you should get a higher-efficiency AC unit? (I’m typing this right as the AC contractor is putting in a new system.)

  5. In our house we avoid using the oven during the time that the A/C runs, moving our cooking to the stove top, microwave, or grill outdoors. Of course, here in Salt Lake the A/C usually runs only for 3 to 4 months a year. Not quite the same as southeastern Texas.

  6. Not the same issue but along the lines of efficiency:

    We replaced our 45 year old oil furnace with gas conversion last November. I looked long and hard at simply getting 95+% efficiency furnace, without AC (since the Pacific Northwest is pretty mild year round) but settled on a heat pump due to the favorable electric rates in my area. At twice the cost of just a furnace (and about $1000 more than furnace + AC unit) it has been more than worth it already. If the winter and spring energy saving trend holds true, I’ll pay for the difference between the furnace and heat pump (about $4500) in about 3 years 9 months. Not to mention we also get air conditioning. I realize we haven’t had a full summer yet but the June bill was still lower than last year as well.

  7. Tom said:

    “Speaking of unplanned consequences… what transpired from your dishwasher fiasco?”

    Nothing yet. I’m still not convinced that the dishwasher isn’t leaking. I really don’t want to lay a new floor until I’m certain there’s not a leak.

  8. Obviously the largest effect has been in May-June, but I don’t understand how that would cause higher usage in the winter months???

  9. JLP, while every month is slightly higher … May and June have spiked quite a bit. Any idea what’s going on in these two months?

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