With the warmest of this year’s weather now behind us, Michiganders are free to get back into the kitchen to cook up some seasonal fare—without breaking a major sweat. At the same time, we’re reminded that it’s almost time to fire up central heating, bringing up the question of how to best save energy in the coming months. HVAC uses almost 50% of your home’s total energy consumption, but beyond that, mealtime is an excellent opportunity to cut back on energy use. But how much power do our go-to appliances and tools actually consume?
Energy-efficient cooking: Appliance breakdown
When we’re measuring how much power our appliances consume, we speak in terms of kilowatt hours (kWh), with 1 kWH equal to a power consumption of 1,000 watts for 1 hour. Michiganders spend around $0.14 per kilowatt hour on average, spending less during the spring and fall months. That considered, let’s talk about how many kilowatts each cooking tool tends to use:
- Crockpot: For roasts, quick soups and slow-simmer recipes, crockpots use about 0.8 kWh. For the same types of recipes, electric ovens and ranges use around 3 kWh, making crock pots the more energy efficient option in most situations.
- Oven: With ovens costing about 32 cents per hour of use, and about 20 cents for cooking on the range surface, they aren’t the best option for daily use if you’re looking to slash your bill. If you want to keep your dishes warm, move them from your stovetop or oven to the pull-out tray under the oven after turning off the heat. The residual heat is enough to keep your meal warm for about an hour.
- Microwave: Microwaves go through about 0.12 kWh for every five minutes of cooking—a measly 2 cents per five minutes. However, that small cost can add up if you use your microwaves for things like defrosting meats. In that case, consider moving your meats from your freezer to refrigerator at least 24 hours before mealtime so you can avoid using the microwave altogether.
- Toaster: Toasters and convection ovens use one-third of the energy of a full-sized oven, so are perfect to use for one-person meals and snacks. They also use almost no standby or idle power, so you don’t have to worry about unplugging it after each and every use!
- Blender: If you’re using your blender for about 3 minutes, you’ll be using 0.6 kWh, or about 8 cents per session. If morning smoothies are your thing, that means the routine costs about 40 cents for the work week, a cheap and healthy way to approach breakfast and snack time.
- Coffee Maker: As our trusty, life-saving coffee makers get more technologically advanced, so do they become more of an energy hog. Standby mode, time-telling, self-clean cycles, and self-start features can use as much as 5 extra watts per day, adding more than $20 to your annual energy spending. Drip filter coffee makers are the worst offenders at 100-150 kWh per year, with espresso steam machines the best option at 10-30 kWh per year.
For your cooking tools and other appliances around the house, try to plug them into a surge protector power strip, and switch the strip OFF when the appliances aren’t in use. For more energy tips to use this season and beyond, check out our Your Power blogs.