Gobble-up energy savings with these tips for Thanksgiving and the holiday season

Stock image. August de Richelieu (Pexels)

Thanksgiving is a popular holiday when family and friends gather to feast and give thanks for the blessings we have in our lives.

However, the holiday can also contribute to an increase in energy consumption.

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that cooking alone generally accounts for about 5% of total home energy use, and this figure doesn’t include the energy costs associated with refrigeration, hot water heating and dishwashing.

Added together, these costs mean that as much as 15 % of the energy in the average American home is used in the kitchen.

Here are some energy-saving tips to help you gobble up savings during your Thanksgiving gathering an all year long:

Turkey tips

  • Although it is common to purchase a larger turkey with the intention of having leftovers, there are advantages to buying a turkey sized to match the number of people in your party. A smaller turkey cooks faster and uses less energy.
  • Preheating the oven is unnecessary when slow roasting a turkey for several hours. Unlike other meat and poultry dishes, slow roasting a turkey for several hours does not require preheating the oven.
  • Adding side dishes that can be cooked at the same temperature as the turkey can help to reduce oven use. Simply adjust your cooking timer to account for different temperatures.
  • You can also lower the temperature on your thermostat while the turkey is cooking because the oven adds heat to your home.

Oven tips

  • When cooking, keep from opening the door to check on the progress. While it is tempting, frequent peeks defeat the cooking process and reduces the oven temperature by as much as 25 degrees. Releasing the hot oven air forces the appliance to work even harder to get back to its set temperature, and in turn uses more energy. Instead, peek through the oven door window and set a timer.
  • When it comes to cooking the turkey, your oven is the MVP of the holiday. However, is your oven energy efficient? The simplest way to tell is to look for the ENERGY STAR® seal of approval. ENERGY STAR certified ovens are guaranteed to reduce your energy consumption and help you be the MVP of energy savings.
  • Convection ovens use less energy as well. These ovens continuously circulate air, reducing cooking times and the temperature required to thoroughly cook your food. When you use a convection oven instead of a standard model, you’ll use about 20 percent less energy per month, according to the Department of Energy.
  • Self-cleaning ovens are more energy efficient because they have better insulation. Remember to run your oven’s self-cleaning cycle once a month to clear away any buildup. This way, your oven will need less energy to reach the set temperature.

Cooking on the stove

  • You can save energy even if you don’t have the most energy-efficient stove. Remember to use a pan that is appropriate for the size of the burner you are using. If you use a large burner to heat a small pan, you may be wasting more than 40 percent of the heat your stove is producing. The Department of Energy estimates that if you follow this one simple tip, you could save $36 per year.
  • When preparing Thanksgiving dinner, you should also take care in selecting your cookware. A flat-bottomed pot uses 50 percent less energy to boil water than a warped-bottomed pot.
  • You can also improve energy efficiency by using more conducive pans. Copper-bottomed pans, for example, heat up much faster than regular pans.

Other cooking appliances

  • Put your crock pot, microwave, toaster oven, air fryer or warming plate to work. Most of us have small cooking appliances that are stored away and are rarely used. By cooking with these more often for smaller meals, you can realize significant savings. For example, the average toaster oven can use up to half the energy of the average electric stove over the same cooking time.

Following the feast

  • Only run your dishwasher when it has reached full capacity. This habit ensures you get the most out of every dishwashing cycle.
  • Avoid washing dishes by hand, an ENERGY STAR certified dishwasher uses less than half the energy and water of hand-washing dishes. Dishwashers that are ENERGY STAR certified are the most energy efficient options available and can save 3,870 gallons of water on average over their lifetime. These dishwashers typically use 10 percent less energy than comparable models.
  • A standard-sized ENERGY STAR certified dishwasher costs about $35 per year to run and can save you about 3,800 gallons of water over its lifetime.
  • Dishwasher technology has improved dramatically over the last decade and new ENERGY STAR certified models include several innovations like soil sensors, improved water filtration, more efficient jets, and dish rack designs that reduce energy and water consumption and improve performance.

Visit this website to learn more ways on how to save money in your kitchen.