This year, your Thanksgiving feast can be memorable, and, with help from Edison Electric Institute, energy efficient as well. Check out our Top Ten tips for making sure your home’s energy bill on Thursday looks as good as your turkey:
- Check the refrigerator and freezer doors to make sure they seal tightly. This will keep the cold air in and the warm air out. To check, close the refrigerator door on a dollar bill. If you can slip the bill out easily, or worse, if it falls out on its own, the door requires adjustment, or the gasket needs replacing.
- Allow hot foods or liquids to cool off before placing them in the refrigerator. If you don’t, the refrigerator has to work harder to cool them off.
- As you’re preparing the meal, don’t place uncovered liquids in refrigerators. In addition to absorbing undesirable flavors, the liquids give off vapors that make the refrigerator work harder as well. Use a lid or plastic wrap to cover the food.
- Also use the “lids-on” approach to cooking. Tightly fitted lids help keep heat within pots and pans, enabling you to lower the temperature settings and shorten the cooking times.
- Use the highest temperature settings until liquid begins to boil. Then lower the heat control setting and allow the food to simmer until fully cooked.
- Use the microwave whenever possible. Microwave ovens draw less than half the power of your regular oven, and they cook for a much shorter period of time.
- When preheating your regular oven, time the preheat period carefully. Five to eight minutes should be enough time. There is no need to preheat for broiling or roasting.
- When using an electric oven, cook as much of your meal in it at one time as possible. Foods with different cooking temperatures can often be cooked simultaneously at one temperature – variations of 25 degrees Fahrenheit in either direction still produce good results and save energy.
- After the feast, many people put the leftovers in a second refrigerator in their garage. This can be bad for both the food and the energy bill. If you live in a cold climate, frozen foods may melt (as the temperature sensor in the refrigerator will not activate the compressor, if the temperature in the garage is 42 degrees Fahrenheit or lower). And if you live in a warm climate, the refrigerator has to work extra hard to keep the food cold. If you have a basement, see if the second refrigerator will fit down there.
- Finally, when you’re all done, don’t use your oven’s self-cleaning cycle unless you have a major cleaning job on your hands. Wipe up minor spills and splatters with a damp cloth. When you do use the oven’s self-clean feature, start the cycle right after cooking, while the oven is still hot, or wait until late evening hours when use of electricity is at its lowest and if you are on a time of use rate, the cost may be at its lowest as well.
To see another 91 energy-savings tips to help you use your energy more efficiently year-round, check out More Than 100 Ways to Improve Your Electric Bill.