Green Wednesday: Energy Saving Tips for the Thanksgiving Chef

From on November 26, 2008 in Green Remodeling

Here comes Thanksgiving: a time for thanks, family, and cooking on all burners. The biggest meals of the year are consumed as we usher in the hearty meals of winter. And Thanksgiving is one energy-sucking day, the heat, television, oven, stove, and everyone’s car all running at the same time. It is a holiday, after all, but energy bills never take a day off. Since much of Thanksgiving Day revolves around the oven range, here are some energy saving tips that could potentially cut your energy costs in half:

  • On the stovetop, be sure to correctly size your pan to the burner. That is, a small pan on a large burner wastes close to half the heat emitted.
  • Use lids when bringing liquids to a boil, simmering, etc. The lids keep the heat in, keep your house that much cooler, and help your water boil faster.
  • Turn it off early. This goes for the oven and stovetop. Turn off the oven about 10 minutes before the end, it will cook. The heat trapped in a pan will usually finish the job without wasting energy. Take hard-boiled eggs: Cover and bring them to a boil. Immediately turn the burner off and let it sit for at least 15 minutes. You will have nice hard-boiled eggs having used half the energy.
  • Keep the oven door closed! Whenever you look in the oven you feel a rush of heat on your face. That is not just warm air, that is wasted energy! Every time you peek your oven has to work harder to cook the food, not to mention your wallet. (In winter after the meal has been cooked and removed, I like to open the oven and allow that extra heat to warm my house a bit.)
  • Keep it clean. Maintaining a clean stove and oven also affects energy efficiency. If gunk and debris pile up on or around your burners, it can actually steal heat from your food, using more energy, time, and money. For the oven, use the self-cleaning system directly after cooking a meal to utilize the heat that is already trapped in there.
  • Don’t use it! When you can, use a toaster oven, microwave, pressure cooker or crock pot, especially for smaller dishes and reheating the leftovers. These small appliances have less area to heat and therefore use much less energy.

The kitchen is but one station in the Thanksgiving Day activities. Nor are they limited to Thanksgiving. There are several ways to save energy throughout the house. Following these and other energy saving tips can do nothing but save you money, while providing a little more to be thankful about.