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Energy Saving Ovens

 

About Oven Efficiency:

New ovens have additional insulation and tighter-fitting oven door gaskets and hinges to save energy. For gas ovens, new electronic pilotless ignitions reduce gas usage by about 30% over a constantly burning pilot light. These are also more convenient, eliminating the need to restart a standing pilot light.

Tips for Lowering Your Oven Energy Usage:

  • Preheat ovens only when necessary. With conventional ovens, keep the preheating time to a minimum. Unless you're baking breads or pastries, you may not need to preheat the oven at all.

  • Food cooks more quickly and efficiently in ovens when air can circulate freely. Don't lay foils on racks. If possible, stagger pans on upper and lower racks to improve air flow.

  • Use glass or ceramic pans in ovens. You can turn down the temperature about 25F and cook foods just as quickly.

  • Do not open the oven door often to preview the food. Each time you open the door the oven temperature drops by 25F. Watch the clock or use a timer instead.

  • Full-size ovens are not very efficient for cooking small- to medium-sized meals, it generally pays to use toaster ovens or microwave ovens.

  • Check to be sure the oven door gasket is tight. Adjust or replace gaskets as required.

  • If you have a self-cleaning oven, consider using the self-cleaning feature immediately after regular baking when the oven is still hot. Less energy will be required to reach the cleaning temperature. Try not to use the self-cleaning feature too often.

  • Keep range-top burners and reflectors clean; they will reflect the heat better and save energy.

  • 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. A 6-inch pan on a 8-inch burner will waste over 40% of the energy.

  • On electric stove-tops, use only flat-bottomed pans that make full contact with the element. A warped or rounded pan will waste most of the heat.

  • When cooking with a gas range-top burner, use moderate flame settings to conserve gas. Also make sure the pilot light is burning efficiently, with a blue flame. A yellowish flame indicates an adjustment is needed because the gas is burning inefficiently.

  • Whenever possible, use a pressure cooker. By cooking food at a higher temperature and pressure, cooking time is reduced dramatically and energy use is cut by 50-75%.

Tips for Buying a New Oven:

  • Consider buying a self-cleaning oven. They use less energy for normal cooking because of higher insulation levels. However, if you use the self-cleaning option more than once a month, you will end up using more energy than you will save from the extra insulation.

  • About 58% of American households cook with electricity, but gas cooking is making a steady comeback. Gas ovens use much less energy compared to their electric counterparts because the fuel is used directly for cooking. A gas appliance costs less than half as much to operate as an electric one, provided it is equipped with electronic ignition instead of a pilot light.

  • With electric cook tops, there are a number of new types of burners on the market: solid disk elements, radiant elements under glass, halogen elements, and induction elements.

  • Solid disk elements and radiant elements under glass are easier to clean, they take longer to heat up, and use more electricity.

  • Halogen elements and induction elements are more efficient than conventional electric coil elements. Induction elements require that you use only iron or steel pots and pans. Aluminum cookware will not work with induction elements.

  • The range hood should ventilate to the outside and not simply recirculate and filter the cooking fumes. This is especially important with gas ranges. But also be careful about the sizes of fans -- too large a fan can waste energy and cause back-drafting of combustion gases into the house. This is a major concern with large downdraft ventilation fans used with some cook-tops and ranges. Ask about make-up air ducts available for these models.

 

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