Cooking accounts for 4% of total home energy use, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates, and this figure doesn’t include the energy costs associated with refrigeration, water heating and dishwashing.
As households gear up for the holiday season, keep these tips in mind to control energy costs.
Smart Oven Use
Before the baking begins, clean the inside of your range, wiping accumulated grease and grime out of the oven and making sure the window is clean and clear so you can see what’s cooking.
Don’t open the oven door to check on the progress of cooking food. Every time the door is opened, the temperature inside is reduced by as much as 25 degrees, forcing it to use more energy to return to the proper cooking temperature. Use the oven light and the window to keep an eye on those cookies.
For recipes that need to bake longer than an hour, preheating isn’t necessary.
If you use a ceramic or glass dish for baking, you can typically set your oven to 25 degrees lower than the recipe directs. Because ceramic and glass hold heat better than metal pans, your dish will cook just as well at a lower temperature.
For your stovetop to function effectively, it’s important that the metal reflectors under your electric stove burners stay free of dirt and grime. Electric stovetops transmit heat to pans only by direct contact with burners. The less contact your pan has with the burner, the more energy the stovetop has to expend to heat the pan.
If your pans have warped over time and don’t sit flat on the burner, it may be time to upgrade to a new set of cookware. To keep pans from warping, don’t clean them while they are still hot. The temperature difference between the pan and wash water can deform the metal.
Think Small Appliances
A slow cooker, microwave, toaster oven or warming plate can do the same job of cooking some dishes with less electricity. For example, the average toaster oven can use about half the energy of the average electric stove over the same cooking time.