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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Wash only full loads when using the dishwasher.
- Use energy-saving cycles when possible.