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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
Use glass or ceramic
pans in ovens. You can turn down the temperature about 25°F 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 25°F. 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
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
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.
Los Angeles Department of
Water and Power