How often do you use your oven? Probably a lot more now that the temperatures are dropping and a little warmth in your home is welcome. (As I type there’s a celeriac roasting in mine.) And how often do you think about minimizing the energy output of your kitchen? Hopefully more once you read this easy how-to list from The Conscious Kitchen, excerpted below. Every little bit helps!
MINIMIZING STOVE AND OVEN ENERGY OUTPUT
Whatever kind of cooker you have – new or old – here are ways to minimize its impact:
-Make sure all elements are in good working order.
-Match your pot size to the burner size or you will waste heat/energy.
-Pots and pans come with lids for a reason. Use them.
-If you use drip pans under your burners, keep them clean. And don’t use aluminum foil liners for this purpose. Good-quality reflector pans save energy and are made to last.
-Gas stove burner holes can get clogged. If the flame is uneven or yellow, turn it off and carefully unclog it with a pin or an unfurled paper clip.
-Calibrate your oven (see below).
-Don’t preheat, even when baking. And don’t repeatedly open the oven door to check cooking items. Both waste heat. If you have an oven with a glass door, peek through there.
-Like your refrigerator, the oven door has a seal. Make sure it’s tight and not sagging, and that the door hinges are in good working order.
-Don’t overuse the self-cleaning feature (don’t use it more than once a month), or you’ll waste the energy you were hoping to save by having it. Place a sheet pan in the oven to catch drips and grease so you won’t even need to clean.
-If you turn on the oven, fill it up. Use that heat to bake/roast/broil more than one thing at a time.
-For more information, check out the following websites: American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy: ACEEE.org; ConsumerEnergyCenter.org; HomeEnergy.org; EnergyStar.gov.
Calibrating an Oven
Ovens often run too hot or too cold. To fix this, you can adjust your own cooking to match however your oven seems to go, you can get a thermometer, or you can “calibrate” it (fancy for fixing it). This is easiest to do with a digital stove – follow the instructions in the manual. For nondigital ovens and/or if you don’t have the manual, Google the instructions for your make and model. The process can be overwhelming for the un-handy, so call in a repair person or a handy friend if needed.