From now until the New Year, it’s a time where we tend to spend more time in the kitchen. Whether it be Thanksgiving dinner, preparing for holiday parties, baking family recipes, cookie exchanges, or a Christmas feast, the time we spend in the kitchen really adds up this time of year!
Cooking accounts for 4.5 percent of total energy use in our homes. That doesn’t include the cost of refrigeration, hot water heating, and dishwashing (3).
Just by knowing a bit more about your cooking habits, you can save a lot of money in the kitchen! Here are some energy saving facts and tips to be aware of.
Looking at Different Ways of Cooking
Take for example meatloaf—a family favorite in the coming winter months.
Here’s how the energy used (and associated cost) breaks down based on appliance, if you were to use it to cook a meatloaf:
- Electric oven: 2.0 kWh or $.24
- Gas oven: .11 therm or $.12
- Convection oven: 1.4 kWh or $.17
- Toaster oven: .95 kWh or $.11
- Crockpot: .7 kWh or $.08
- Microwave: .36 kWh or $.04 (Source for these figures.)
Although it’s just cents we’re talking about, you can see how the money can add up day after day, meal after meal! It’s interesting to know and keeps things in perspective when we do choose how we’ll cook.
One takeaway: if it’s a larger cooking or baking job, go for the larger appliance, in many cases. On the flip side, if it’s a smaller amount of food being baked, go for a smaller appliance if you’re looking to save money.
When Cooking: Small Changes That Can Save Energy
Here are just a few energy-saving cooking tips to consider:
- Prevent heat loss by using pots and pants when a recipe allows for it
- Use a pot that’s appropriate for the burner, size-wise, when possible so that heat is less likely to escape around the sides. That also includes avoiding ones that are warped and rounded on the sides—for electric stovetops, that is!
- When recipes allow for it, use the microwave to heat things up (since it uses less energy than the oven)
- Clean out the refrigerator when you can; not only does it cut down on having old, spoiled food around, but it won’t over-work the refrigerator which can cost you more (2)
When Baking: Small Changes That Can Save Energy
Are you more of a baker in the winter months? So are many people! Here are just a few energy-saving cooking tips to consider:
- If you have two ovens, use the smaller oven when you have less amount of food you’re baking
- Set the oven to the exact temperature you need—you never need to set it higher, which does not make your oven preheat any faster
- Use glass baking dishes if you have them which retains heat better than other materials, meaning you can cut down on baking time
- Time your baking: don’t pre-heat before you need to, which will just cost you more money and waste unnecessary energy
- Don’t lay foil on the racks in your oven, unless you have to, because it can force the oven to work harder/less efficiently to evenly bake your food (or you’ll have to bake your food longer)
- Never use your oven to heat your home; not only is it a safety hazard but it’s also very costly
- Near the end of the winter, take advantage of grilling outdoors when you can (1, 2)
When It’s Time for Clan Up: Small Changes That Can Save Energy
Now you’ve done your cooking or baking, and it’s time for clean up! Here are some tips to keep in mind to save on energy:
- Scrape leftover food into the trash, when it’s easy to do so, to save water that you’d be using if you put it down the garbage disposal instead
- Don’t run the dishwasher until the load is full and consider turning the water temperature to 120 °F
- Look at your dishwasher settings and turn the air dry on, saving you tons of money over time (but it will take you longer to get them dry, or you can dry them by hand!)
- See if your energy company charges more during peak hours or when energy is used most often; if so, use the delay feature to simply wash your dishes at a time that isn’t a peak hour (4)!
Call the Greater Comfort Team Today
Contact the experts at Greater Comfort at 859-491-4915 for all your heating services, including heating installation, replacement, repairs, tune-ups and more.