Traditionally, the winter holidays are a time for delicious food shared with cherished company. This year, as you count your blessings, you might give a thought to the reliable energy sources that enable you to prepare those culinary delights so enjoyed by family and friends.
Today’s new kitchen appliances use nearly 50 percent less energy than those built just a decade ago. Still, when holiday time rolls around, your energy bills can rise considerably, what with your stove, oven, and dishwasher running overtime, and the door to your refrigerator standing open frequently as family members search for hidden treats.
Thankfully, it’s not difficult to keep added holiday energy costs to a minimum. Here are a few kitchen tips to help you.
Don’t open the oven door to take a peek at what’s cooking inside. Instead, turn on the oven light and check the cooking status through the oven window. Opening the oven door lowers the temperature inside, which increases cooking time and wastes energy. As long as your oven is on, cook several items at the same time. Just make sure you leave enough room for the heat to circulate around each casserole and pie plate.
When cooking on top of your range, match the size of the pan to the heating element. More heat will get to the pan and less will be lost to the surrounding air. Believe it or not, a six-inch pan on an eight-inch burner will waste more than 40 percent of the energy! Clean burners and reflectors provide better heating, while saving energy. If you need new reflectors, buy quality ones. The best on the market can save as much as one-third of the energy used when cooking on top of the stove.
Other Ways to Cook
Don’t overlook the other appliances for cooking. Fast and efficient microwave ovens use around 50 percent less energy than conventional ovens, and they don’t heat up your kitchen. Consider using them to bake yams, steam your favorite fresh vegetables, or heat up leftover turkey and gravy for a midnight snack.
Remember your small appliances, too. Slow cookers are perfect for busy families. On average, they will cook a whole meal for about 17 cents worth of electricity. Electric skillets can steam, fry, sauté, stew, bake, or roast a variety of food items – and some can double as serving dishes. If you’re baking or broiling small food items, a toaster oven is ideal, using just one-third the energy of a bigger oven.
Your refrigerator and freezer get a real workout over the holidays. While newer refrigerators are much more energy efficient than older ones, they remain one of the largest energy consumers in your house, often accounting for as much as 15 percent of your home’s total energy usage. Help your refrigerator and freezer operate efficiently and economically by keeping the doors closed as much as possible so the cold air doesn’t escape. Vacuuming your refrigerator coils (or hiring someone to do it for you) is a good way to help your refrigerator run at top efficiency.
Keeping your refrigerator and freezer full is a great way to save energy too, because the mass of cold items inside will help your refrigerator recover each time the door is opened. Just don’t cram it so full that cool air can’t circulate properly around your food.
A load of dishes cleaned in a dishwasher requires far less water than washing dishes by hand. However, if you fill the wash and rinse basins instead of letting the water run, you’ll use half as much water as a dishwasher.
If you opt to use the dishwasher, wash full loads only. Rinse your dishes before loading them, using cold water so you’re not running up your energy bill by heating the water. Use the energy-saving cycles too. Dishwashers that feature air power or overnight dry settings can save up to 10 percent of your dishwashing energy costs.
All City Appliance is available if you need service on your kitchen appliances, as well as washers, dryers and dryer vents. Don’t wait until the last minute; if you need us, call us today!
Based on an article from the Consumer Energy Center