Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Thanksgiving Tips for Saving Energy in the Kitchen

Thanksgiving is certainly one of our most beloved national holidays. Whatever your circumstances might be, each year Thanksgiving reminds each of us to take a moment to express our gratitude. Many families go the extra mile and celebrate Thanksgiving by serving the elderly, infirmed or homeless from the community. 

Despite religious beliefs, food preferences or feelings about football, most of us appreciate sharing Thanksgiving dinner with friends and family.

Another aspect of Thanksgiving that’s great, is that everyone is free to make of it what they will. Make it a formal candle-lit dinner with Grandma’s best china and polished silver. Go ahead and create your own tradition by skipping the turkey and go vegetarian.  Involve your neighbors and co-workers in the creation of an eclectic contemporary buffet where everyone brings their favorite dish to share. How about going for the gusto and trying the “turducken” this year? Whatever your choices might be, everyone will be thankful for sharing a holiday meal together.

While creating this fun, festive and delicious Thanksgiving dinner, most of us also need to keep an eye on holiday expenses.  The Energy Experts want to remind you that energy costs are a significant household expense and your kitchen comprises about 15% of that monthly bill. The Energy Experts aren't going to share their secret green bean casserole recipe with you, but they will share the following tips on reducing unnecessary energy usage.

Stop peeking and keep that oven door closed! Every time you open the oven door the temperature drops by 25 degrees. This fluctuation in temperature extends the cooking progress.

Temperature control. If you are cooking something for longer than an hour, pre-heating the oven is not always necessary. Use a freestanding oven thermometer for greater accuracy. If your stove is electric, you can usually turn off the oven or cooktop off 5 – 10 minutes early because it retains residual heat.

Cookware is important. Ceramic and glass dishes hold the heat better than metal pans, so you can usually set the temperature 25 degrees lower. Copper bottomed pans heat faster. Retire any dented, wobbly metal stovetop cookware. If it’s not making full contact with the heating surface, it’s not efficient. Also, don’t be wasteful by using a small pot on your largest burner.

Give your furnace the day off. If you are cooking all day, you can probably turn down your home’s thermostat since the kitchen will be generating extra heat. Not to mention having a crowd of people in the dining room will require less heat from the furnace.

Clean the burners. If you have an electric range, ensure that the stovetop is working efficiently by keeping the burner reflectors grime-free. Regular cleaning can decrease cooking time.

Invite your crock pot and slow cooker to the party. Putting these other cooking appliances to work instead of the oven and stovetop can mean significant energy savings. Also, use a warming plate and the microwave. All of these devices use less energy than an electric stove.

Energy efficient appliances. Chances are likely that you won’t be rushing out to buy a new stove before Thanksgiving. However, when you do take the new appliance plunge, remember that the Energy Star seal of approval guarantees a higher level of energy efficiency. When it comes to stoves, convection ovens require 20% less energy than a standard oven. Self-cleaning ovens use less energy because they are better insulated. It’s also recommended that you use the self-cleaning feature immediately after using the oven to save time and energy because the oven is already heated. Reconsider running that second freezer or refrigerator because it can cost you up to $700 over the next 5 years. Remember to properly recycle used appliances.

The Energy Experts and Pro Energy Consultants wish each and every one you a wonderful and energy efficient Thanksgiving!