Home cooking is a great way to make healthy meals for your family, but wasting energy through careless cooking habits is not so hot. By following a few simple practices, you can avoid overstuffing your energy bill.
- Cover pots and pans; foods will cook more efficiently and the kitchen will stay cooler in the summer.
- Match pots and pans to the size of the burner. A 6-inch pot on an 8-inch burner wastes 40% of the burner's heat.
- Keep range-top burners and reflectors clean; they will reflect heat better and cook more efficiently.
- Use the lowest temperature setting possible on your stove or oven.
- Preheat the oven to the exact temperature required. Preheating is not necessary for foods that cook for several hours.
- Limit the number of times the oven door is opened; opening the door lowers the temperature as much as 25°F.
- Glass and ceramic baking dishes retain heat better than metal. Cooking with glass or ceramic dishes allows you to reduce the oven temperature 25° F.
- Turn the oven off 15 minutes before the cooking time is complete. Food will continue cooking at the set temperature as long as the door remains closed.
- Turn off the burner on your electric range a few minutes before cooking is complete; the heating elements will stay hot enough to continue cooking after the electricity is turned off.
- A well-maintained oven cooks more efficiently. Make sure that your oven and range-top remain clean at all times. For gas burners, blue flames mean good combustion; yellow flames mean service may be needed to ensure the gas is burning efficiently.
- Microwave ovens use 50% less energy than conventional ovens. To save energy, reheat food in the microwave instead of on the range top or in the oven.
Kitchen clean up
- Newer dishwashers clean heavily soiled dishes to a shine, eliminating the need for pre-rinsing. If you must pre-rinse, use cold water.
- If your dishwasher has a booster heater, set the temperature of your hot water heater to 120°F.
- Do not run the dishwasher until you have a full load.
- Load the dishwasher carefully to ensure that the water flows freely, and the dishes are cleaned efficiently.
- Use the air-dry feature whenever possible.
- ENERGY STAR® certified dishwashers use advanced technology to get your dishes clean while using less water and energy. If your dishwasher was made before 1994, you're paying an extra $40 a year on your utility bills compared to owning a new ENERGY STAR model. Plus, a new ENERGY STAR certified dishwasher will save up to 1,300 gallons of water over its lifetime.
To reduce costs and help the environment, make energy efficient cooking part of your daily routine.