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Your House  >  Kitchen  >  Oven/Stove Thursday, August 21, 2014
 
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 Oven/Stove
 
Ovens are the most inefficient appliance in your kitchen. To date, ENERGY STAR has yet to qualify any ovens. The reason is the great deal of energy an oven needs just to get up to temperature. The newest ovens/ranges on the market use only 8% less energy than those found in the average home. Statistics vary from country to country and region to region, but electric ovens are the most popular with 58% of households in the United States cooking with electricity and a whopping 97% in Canada. Gas ranges make up the difference in both cases. Despite electric ovens seemingly being the more popular of the two, gas oven are making a comeback - and with good reason. A gas stove can cost up to half as much to operate than its electric counterpart, assuming it is equipped with an electronic ignition, rather than a pilot light. A pilotless ignition reduces the amount of gas used by 30% because there is no pilot light to burn constantly. Ovens typically have a lifespan of 18-20 year depending on whether they are electric or gas and whether they get used on a regular basis. So the energy efficiency of an oven can be important. If you are in the market for a new oven, a self-cleaning oven is likely the best choice. Self-cleaning ovens have more insulation than a standard oven, meaning it will keep the heat in better and use less energy. They often cost more than a standard oven, but the energy and cost savings over time are well worth it.

Convection ovens are also a great way to save energy. They distribute heat more evenly by continually circulating heated air around the food. This allows for cooking times and temperatures to be reduced, saving as much as 30% on energy use.

Another cooking alternative is the Induction cooktop. Induction cooktops use magnetic fields to heat the cookware, keeping the actual stovetop cool, meaning any spills will not stick. They also provide extremely fast boil times, up to 50% faster than gas or electric, while using 90% of the energy produced, compared to 55% for a gas burner and 65% for electric ranges. However, buyers must be aware of a few stipulations. Pots and pans must be steel, cast iron or another metal to react with the magnetic field. The kitchen must also be wired for 220 volts. Prices vary as well, reaching as high as $4,000.

Sun ovens (also called Solar ovens) and hybrid solar ovens are two other examples of new products available to consumers. They use the sun’s energy to cook the food. While no fuel is required, the downside is that they generally need to be refocused towards the sun in regular increments in order for them to work optimally.

 
  
 
 
 Oven/Stove Tips
 
Don't preheat your oven
Energy
Preheating your oven uses extra energy and in most cases is not necessary when cooking. If you are roasting a turkey or making a casserole, you can simply set the temperature according to the instructions and begin cooking your meal. Preheating is only necessary when baking.
Use Your Broiler
Energy
Surprisingly, your broiler can save you energy. It requires no preheating, so use it when you can.
Bake or cook with glass or ceramic
Energy
Whether you are cooking a meal or baking your favorite pastry, try to use glass or ceramic cooking or baking ware. These types of cooking accessories transfer heat better than some metals, meaning you can lower the cooking heat by 14°C (25°F).
Consider using alternative appliances
Energy
If you are cooking a small amount of food or just heating a meal, consider using a microwave, toaster oven or slow cooker. They are much more energy efficient, and in some cases they are quicker.
Get a self-cleaning oven
Energy
Self-cleaning ovens are convenient for obvious reasons. Aside from reducing the time spent cleaning up, self-cleaning ovens have increased amounts and quality of insulation when compared to ovens without the features. This keeps heat in better and makes them more energy efficient.
Clean your oven regularly
Energy
A dirty oven means that it isn't operating at optimal efficiency. Clean your oven regularly in order to make sure it is running at peak efficiency. How regularly you clean your oven depends on a number of factors, including what you cook in it, how often you use it, etc. Some ovens will have more information on this in their manual. However, for practical purposes, try cleaning your oven quarterly or whenever it is obviously dirty.
Use the right sized pots and pans
Energy
Whether cooking on the stove-top or in the oven itself, it is important to select a container of the appropriate size and material. If you are cooking on a small element, use a smaller pot or pan. The opposite is true for larger elements. Glass and ceramic tend to transfer heat better than most metals, so they are often a better choice when looking for new pots and pans. Always use lids when cooking on the stove-top to make the most of the available heat. Finally, keep your pots and pans clean to ensure maximum heat transfer.
Reuse cooking water
EcoFriendly
When using water to boil vegetables or clean fruit, instead of dumping it down the sink, keep it to water your plants at a later time.
Make sure seals are clean and tight
Energy
Check the seals around the doors of your fridge, freezer and oven to make sure they are tight. They should be able to hold a piece of paper or money tightly. If you pull it out easily, you will need to replace the seals. Another way to check this is to place a flashlight inside. If you can see light, the seals need replacing. Damaged seals will allow heat or cold to escape from the appliance.
 
  
 
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