Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Manage energy use in your kitchen during holidays


New kitchen appliances use about half the energy as those built just a decade ago, but holiday entertaining can increase use of appliances for cooking, freezing, refrigerating and dishwashing, that adds to your bill. To manage energy use, consider these tips:

Oven
  • Don’t preheat the oven for turkey, ham or other foods that cook slowly over a long time. 
  • Avoid peeking into the oven. Use the light and look through the window. 
  • Cook several items at the same but leave enough space for heat to circulate. 
  • Turn off the heat several minutes before the food is done. If the door remains closed, existing heat can finish the job. 
  • Reduce heat 25 degrees or reduce cooking time if using glass or ceramic pans, which conduct heat better.
  • Use your oven’s self cleaning feature right after cooking to take advantage of residual heat – if the oven needs cleaning. 
Stovetop
  • Match the pan size to the heating element. A 6-inch pan on an 8-inch burner wastes about 40 percent of the energy. 
  • Turn off burners a couple minutes before cooking is done to use residual heat.
  • Keep burners and reflectors clean. If you replace reflectors, the better ones can save about a third of the energy used on the stovetop. 
Other cooking tips
  • Use a microwave oven for baking yams, steaming vegetables or other small portions of food. Saves about half the cost of using the stove. 
  • Consider slow cookers, toaster ovens, electric skillets and other small appliances, which use less energy than a stove. 
  • Consider grilling the turkey outdoors – weather permitting – to avoid the oven. 
Refrigerator
  • Keep doors closed as much as possible. A longer opening one time is better than repeated opening. 
  • Consider using an ice chest/cooler for drinks rather than the refrigerator. 
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer full to help it recover quickly after opening and closing. 
  • Don’t cram. While full is good, cramming blocks circulation, making it work harder. 
Dishwasher
  • Use hand washing and drying to avoid the dishwasher. 
  • Use the basin rather then leaving the water running while hand washing. 
  • Wash only full loads when using the dishwasher. If rinsing first, use cold water. 
  • Use energy-saving cycles when possible. 

More money-saving tips

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