Variable Temperature Kettles – Help Save the Planet

Millions of Kettles

You and your temperature control kettle are not going to make a big impact on the national power requirements. But add in all the electric kettles in the UK (It must be over 20 million – but no one really knows) then that does make a difference.

Add to this that all these kettles are used every day and more than once a day and suddenly the potential energy consumption saving be comes huge.

Boil - Don't Boil

If we take our new variable temperature kettles and use them to just “boil” water then there’s no environmental benefit. But think about it, we seldom need boiling water, hot or very hot water will do just fine for most things.

So we need to get into the habit of heating water and not going straight to the boil option.

Energy Usage

For each degree of heat for a given volume of water –  you need a certain quantity of energy in the form of heat. That’s as scientific as I’m going to get. There are web sites that go into actual formulas of how this actually takes place. 

But things are slightly different as water approaches it’s boiling point. This is because the water in the kettle is not at an even temperature. The water near the heating elements is hotter than the surrounding water. Convection is the term used to describe the describe the transfer of heat from hot spots in the water to slightly cooler spots. 

Energy to produce Bubbles

Because of this uneven heating, the hot spots in the kettle start producing bubbles. More and more bubbles are created as the water gets close to its boiling point.

These bubbles are interesting because these bubbles contain steam. Steam is water in its gaseous state and changing water into steam takes energy. As the bubbles are produced they quickly find there way to the surface and into the atmosphere, warming the surrounding water as they pass by.

But the bubbling stage uses more energy without much heat transfer. If you leave the water on the heat then the water is slowly evaporating away – energy being used to just produce steam.  

The "Keep Warm" conundrum

At first sight this looks like the elephant in the room. If you heat some water then use the keep warm feature, you’re using additional energy. The “Keep Warm” feature uses energy negating any energy you saved in the first instance.

This looks like a deal breaker but in real life it’s not quite as simple as that and here’s why;  

We use our Kettle straight away

In reality we heat water when we want it. We don’t just heat water up for no reason. 

This means that the “keep Warm” feature wouldn’t be used for hours on end. It wouldn’t make sense.  

Modern Kettles has insulation

Modern electrical kettles are made with an insulation layer. Indeed many kettles, containing boiling water, can be touched without burning our fingers. 

This means that the keep warm feature uses little energy when activated.

And Finally

So would purchasing a temperature control kettle save the planet? It all helps, you’re use less electricity which will save some money for you and you’re be contributing to an overall reduction of energy.

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