An electric cooker is one of the most expensive appliances in your home. Using an electric oven daily for an hour will cost over £250 per year at todays’ energy prices. EcoFrenzy show how changing the way you cook and using an energy efficient cooker can reduce energy use, save money and the environment.
Money saving tips
Reduce cooking time
Reduce energy costs when cooking by turning your oven off before the end of the cooking time. Provided you don’t open the door, it will stay at the same temperature for 10 minutes. You could save 6p every time you use your oven, about £41 per year (= 36kg CO₂)
Use a slow cooker
Cooking a stew in a 2kWh oven for 1 hour costs 68p. Cooking the same stew in a slow cooker for 8 hours will only use 0.7kWh of electricity, costing 24p. If you used a slow cooker twice a week you could save £46 = 41kg CO₂ a year.
Use the right size ring for the pan
Choose the right size of ring or burner for the pan. On an electric stove, a 15cm pot used on a 20cm ring wastes more than 40% of the ring’s heat. This costs you an extra 31p per hour, cooking on the wrong sized ring for 2 hours per week, adds up to £34 per year to your electricity bill (= 30kg CO₂). Note this is halved if you use an induction hob to £17 and 15kg CO₂.
If you are buying a new cooker, choose one with an induction hob which can be up to 90% efficient. This type of hob transfers electromagnetic energy directly to the pan, leaving the cooking-top itself relatively cool and using less than half the energy of standard coil elements. Running costs will be around £125 per year, not £250.
Defrost food before cooking
Defrost food prior to cooking, this reduces time in the oven. If you defrosted meals twice a week (as below) before heating in the oven you can save £9 per year (= 7.6kg CO₂)
Par boil potatoes
Par boil potatoes before roasting to reduce the time in the oven to save energy and money.
Check cooking food through the oven door
Keep your oven door closed while you’re cooking (opening it loses up to 20% of the heat). Keep the oven door clean so you can look in to check your food.
Choose the smallest oven for your family size
Ovens come in different sizes, choose the smallest volume oven for your family or yourself.
Triple glazed oven doors
Triple glazed oven doors reduce heat loss and saves energy.
‘Self-cleaning’ ovens are more efficient because they are better insulated.
Automatic fan switch-off
Look for an oven which has automatic fan ‘switch off’ when the door is opened, this helps to save energy.
Use close fitting pan lids
Use close fitting lids on pans, this will retain the heat and reduce wasted energy.
Cook food in bulk
Cook food in bulk to use all the space and heat in your cooker. Once the food has cooled, freeze it in separate portions for reheating at a later date.
Cut food into small pieces
Cut food into smaller pieces, it will cook more quickly and save energy.
Turn down the ring or burner once the required cooking temperature or state is reached. Simmer food rather than boiling it into a mush!
Use fan assisted cooking
Use the fan assisted cooking option if possible. This helps to evenly spread heat around the oven, resulting in reduced cooking temperatures and times.
‘A’ rated energy
We recommend ovens and hobs that have an ‘A’ energy rating as they are the most efficient. New A+ rated electric ovens will consume 40% less energy than a B rated oven.
If you are regularly throwing cooked food in the bin, you are preparing over-sized portions. Count out each part of a meal for your individual diners to reduce waste.
Don’t waste leftovers, there are many suggestions on-line to help you make a hearty meal or bag and freeze them.
A halogen oven uses heating elements that convert electrical energy into intense heat. Infrared waves and an inbuilt high-performance fan helps circulate the heat to cook the food more quickly than in a regular oven. The ovens are much smaller than their conventional rivals – and about an eighth of the cost.
Energy transferred into cooking
In a conventional electric oven, the amount of energy transferred from generating heat into cooking is only about 10%. Try and use all the tricks mentioned here to help maintain the efficiency of your cooker.
Even assuming you use the right sized pan, only 40% of the energy from a gas hob is used for cooking (the rest is wasted heat).
Teflon coated pans
Teflon coated pans remove the need to use fat to prevent food from sticking. However, they have a dark side – toxic fumes from Teflon when cooking at high temperatures can kill pet birds and may cause flu-like symptoms in humans. Teflon comes from Perfluorinated Chemicals (PFCs), these are nasty compounds which have been linked to smaller birth weight and size in new-born babies, elevated cholesterol, abnormal thyroid hormone levels, liver inflammation and weakened immune systems. These chemicals also wreak havoc on the environment.
Solar ovens use only sunlight for energy, yet can reach cooking temperatures of 180 – 200C.