Conserve Energy and Save Money While Entertaining for the Holidays
Doing the cooking this holiday season? Keep your energy bills from busting your budget by following a few easy tips.
Pro Home Manager by Rubi Fingeret
Limit Oven Energy Usage

• Don’t open the oven door during cooking to retain the heat inside. Opening the door can reduce the cooking temperature by 25 degrees F.

• If you use heat-retaining glass or ceramic baking dishes instead of metal, you can reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees F
• When cooking for an extended period in an electric oven, turn it off 15 minutes before the cooking time is complete. The temperature will hold if you don’t open the oven door.

• Do all of your baking in a single session to avoid turning the oven on and off.

• The self-cleaning feature uses very high heat so clean immediately after cooking when the oven is already hot.

More Energy-Saving Cooking Options

Slow cookers, electric skillets, and toaster ovens are great for heating leftovers, and use much less energy than conventional ovens and range tops. Microwave ovens also 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.

Refrigerators and Freezers

Your home refrigerator accounts for as much as 15% of your home's total energy use. Make sure the seals on your refrigerator door are airtight. Test them by closing the door over a piece of paper or a dollar bill positioned half in and half out of the refrigerator. If you can pull the paper or bill out easily, the latch may need adjustment, the seal may need replacing, or you might consider buying a new unit.

Keeping the refrigerator and freezer well-stocked helps maintain the set temperature and reduces energy loss when the door is opened. Removing as many items as possible, each time the door is opened, cuts down on the number of openings as well.

Dishwashing Tips

Dishwashers today clean heavily soiled dishes to a shine, eliminating the need for pre-rinsing. If you cannot bring yourself to load the dishwasher without pre-rinsing, be sure to use cold water. If your dishwasher has a booster heater, set the temperature of your hot water heater to 120oF. To save even more energy, do the following:

• Fill the dishwasher according to manufacturer's recommendations.

• Never turn the dishwasher on until you have a full load.

• Use the air-dry feature whenever possible.

Thanks to PSE&G for the info in this article.

11/20/2009

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