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Save energy this Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is a great time of year to bring friends and families together. It also means spending time in the kitchen to prepare the traditional Thanksgiving feast.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, cooking accounts for 2 percent of U.S. residential electricity consumption. If you add the energy associated with refrigeration, freezers, water heating and dishwashers, the kitchen accounts for about 23 percent of a home’s energy consumption.

There are ways to keep the kitchen from gobbling up more energy during the holidays.

Here are some tips from your local electric cooperative to help keep your energy costs down:


Cooking tips

  • Keep the oven door closed. While you may want to check on the progress of a dish you’ve got cooking in your oven, use the light instead. Every time the oven door is opened, the temperature inside is reduced by as much as 25 degrees, delaying the progress of your dish and, more importantly, costing you more money to get that pot roast perfectly cooked.
  • Don’t preheat for more than five to eight minutes.
  • Clean your burners. If you have an electric range, one great way to keep your stovetop cooking efficiently is to keep the reflectors under your burners grime-free. They can be a pain to clean, but regular maintenance can go a long way. You can also invest in some better reflectors that can decrease your stovetop cooking times, which will save you energy (and money!) over time.
  • Cook as much of the meal as possible at the same time to decrease the use of your oven.
  • Make contact. Electric stovetops can only transmit heat to pans they are in direct contact with. If cooking with your warped pan is taking longer than it should, it may be time for a flat-bottomed update.

Refrigerator, freezer tips

  • Don’t keep your refrigerator or freezer too cold. Recommended temperatures are 35-38 degrees for the fresh food compartment and 0 degrees for separate freezers for long-term storage.
  • Make sure your refrigerator door seals are airtight.
  • Cover liquids and wrap foods stored in the refrigerator. Uncovered foods release moisture and make the compressor work harder.
  • Regularly defrost manual-defrost freezers and refrigerators; frost buildup decreases the energy efficiency of the unit. Don’t allow frost to build up more than one-quarter of an inch.
  • Ensure appliances are properly maintained and operating.
  • Clean refrigerator coils periodically.

Dishwasher tips

  • Check the manual that came with your dishwasher for the manufacturer’s recommendations on water temperature; many have internal heating elements that allow you to set the water heater in your home to a lower temperature (120 degrees).
  • Be sure your dishwasher is full (not overloaded) when you run it.
  • Avoid using the “rinse hold” on your dishwasher for just a few soiled dishes. It uses three to seven gallons of hot water each use.
  • Let your dishes air dry; if you don’t have an automatic air-dry switch, turn off the control knob after the final rinse and prop the door open slightly so the dishes will dry faster.
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