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How to be more energy efficient when cooking

How to be more energy efficient when cooking

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Last updated: 02 July 2021

When it comes to being smarter with the way you use energy in the home, you may not think about your cooking habits.  However, your kitchen appliances are some of the biggest guzzlers of gas and electricity that you have in your household. There are some simple changes that you can make to help cut down on your energy bills.

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Do I need to invest in an energy efficient oven?

Ovens require a huge amount of energy to heat up and retain heat, so buying an energy efficient oven could help to keep your energy bills down.  
If your oven is broken or damaged, particularly if it’s over ten years old, it may be cheaper to buy a new oven rather than have the existing one repaired.  When buying a new oven, they will have an energy rating which shows how efficient they are. Look out for one with an ‘A+++’ rating, as these are the most efficient meaning that you’ll use a lot less energy.

Other ways to use the oven more efficiently

Day to day there are ways that you can use your oven more efficiently to save you money:
  • Turn it off 10 minutes before your food is ready: If you have a well-insulated oven, it should retain the heat that it has built up for ten minutes without needing the heat to be on. Although this may seem like a little thing, if you add up the money spent on keeping the oven on for an extra 10 minutes with every meal that you cook, it could cost a lot in the long run.
  • Keep the oven door closed: Whenever you open the oven door it lets out a lot of heat and it will need a lot of energy to heat back to the right temperature once you close it again.  Make sure to only open it to take food out once it’s done.
  • Batch cooking, cook as much in the oven as you can in one go: Ovens are large and have multiple shelves, allowing you to cook more than one thing at once. Making full use of this will mean that you can cook more for less.

Energy efficient microwaves: Your money saving friend

Microwaves are the most energy efficient item that you have in your kitchen. They only cost around 21p an hour, but considering you only use them for a few minutes at a time, they can save you a fair amount compared to an oven.  Remember that once you are finished using it, turn it off and unplug it at the wall, as they (and other cooking appliances) can drain energy when they are not being used, even if they are turned off or on standby.

You could also consider using a slow cooker.  Although (as their name suggests) cooking food in them takes time, they use only a small amount more energy than a traditional lightbulb.

What are the most energy efficient cookers?

There are three main types of stovetops in the kitchen: gas, electric and induction. The most efficient of all is induction, which uses electromagnetic energy to transfer heat straight to your pan.  They have been estimated to be around 75% more efficient at transferring heat to your pan than gas hobs.  Electric hobs are by far the most expensive to run of the three, so consider switching to induction if you can.

What else can I do to cook more efficiently?

There are also a number of steps that you can take day to day to make sure that you minimise your energy use in the kitchen.  Here are some tips and savings you can :
  • Choose the right size pot for the task: It takes a lot more energy to heat up water in your huge stock pot than in your small saucepan.  If you are just boiling a couple of potatoes then use the smaller one, which will help save you energy, as well as making the cleanup easier.
  • Don't overfill the kettle: Only fill the kettle with the amount of water that you need to use, this can save around £6 a year. 
  • Use lids: Putting a lid on while your food is cooking or when the pan is heating up will not only help save energy, but time.
  • Keep your oven and stove top clean: Dirt and grease absorbs energy, meaning that it uses more to properly heat up your food.
  • Defrost naturally: Allowing your food to defrost naturally in the fridge means that you don’t have to use microwave energy to do it.  It also means that it defrosts more evenly, meaning tastier food!
  • Clearing up: Using a bowl to do the washing up rather than a running tap can save £25 a year.

What other ways can I keep my energy costs down?

The simplest way to keep your energy costs down is by switching your energy provider.  Although it’s often thought that changing providers is a complicated task and it’s not worth the effort, it’s actually very simple. All you need to do is use our energy comparison tool, fill in a few details about your address and energy usage, and we’ll get quotes from numerous providers so you can find the best deal. If you decide to change your mind, you’ll have a two week ‘cooling off’ period allowing you to switch back at no extra cost.

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Harry Pererra

Author: Harry Pererra

Harry turns on his experience in web design and programming to write about the latest news in the world of tech and broadband. When he isn’t writing for usave he is working towards his Blue Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and prefers dogs to cats.

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