Cooking Up Energy Efficiency
Home cooking is a great way to make healthy and flavorful meals, but it can really add to your energy bills. The following simple tips are your recipe for a more energy-efficient kitchen:
- Use the lowest temperature setting possible.
- Preheat the oven to the exact temperature required. Preheating is not necessary for foods that cook for several hours.
- Limit the number of times the oven door is opened; opening the door lowers the temperature as much as 25°F.
- Glass and ceramic baking dishes retain heat better than metal. Cooking with glass or ceramic dishes allows you to reduce the oven temperature 25°F.
- Turn the oven off 15 minutes before the cooking time is complete. Food will continue cooking at the set temperature as long as the door remains closed.
- For range tops, match the size of the pot to the size of the burner. A 6-inch pot on an 8-inch burner wastes over 40 percent of the burner's heat.
- Cover pots and pans; foods will cook more efficiently and the kitchen will stay cooler in the summer.
- Turn off the burner on your electric range a few minutes before cooking is complete; the heating elements will stay hot enough to continue cooking after the electricity is turned off.
A well-maintained oven cooks more efficiently. Make sure your oven and range-top remain clean at all times.
Energy-saving kitchen appliances
Slow cookers, electric skillets and toaster ovens are great for heating leftovers, and use much less energy than conventional ovens and range tops. Microwave ovens also use 50 percent less energy than conventional ovens. To save energy, reheat food in the microwave instead of on the range top or in the oven.
Looking for new appliances? Purchase ENERGY STAR® certified models. They use less energy than standard products.
Newer dishwashers clean heavily soiled dishes to a shine, eliminating the need for pre-rinsing. If you must pre-rinse, use cold water. If your dishwasher has a booster heater, set the temperature of your hot water heater to 120°F. More energy-saving tips follow:
- Don't run the dishwasher until you have a full load.
- Load the dishwasher carefully to ensure the water flows freely, and the dishes are cleaned efficiently.
- Use the air-dry feature whenever possible.
To reduce costs and help the environment, make energy-efficient cooking part of your daily routine.