Our use of the kettle

Continuing our look at kitchen economies and the environment, I am rather exercised by our use of the kettle every morning.

Typically, hubby will get up before me, put a lot of water in the kettle and boil it up to make himself a cup of tea. And that uses a lot of electricity. (I’m reminded of the story of the national power outage when everyone went to make cups of tea during the running of the TV series, “The Thornbirds”.)

I now get up rather earlier, chat to hubby and daughter, and, while the first boiling of the water in the kettle is still hot, pour most of the surplus into a thermos flask. Which has several obvious advantages. During the day I don’t have to boil the kettle so I save a bit of time, and steam, and I don’t scald my mouth from sipping hot beverages. I experiment with how long a standard thermos keeps water hot and am often surprised. It’s actually really easy to set this up, and quite fun to notice just how much electrical power we waste by not planning a little ahead.

In my grandmother’s day, when the kettle was boiled on the gas stove, this was never such a big deal for me. Gas is a relatively cheap, primary source of energy. Electric kettles, on the other hand, use secondary energy generated from another source: gas, coal, wind or solar.

I like hot water as much as the next person, but do we really need to boil the kettle all the time? To give another example, I used to boil the kettle before our evening meal – it was just a habit I got into – before realising that actually, we drink cold water with our evening meal – we have excellent fresh water on tap, so we can do that, here – and often, we didn’t think of hot drinks until much later in the evening. So I bought a jug for the table and filled it with cold water instead.

It’s interesting to note how often we do a thing without thinking about it…

Thanks for listening.

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