Save energy when cooking with your oven

Ovens account for about 8.3% of the electricity consumed by electrical appliances in the home. Find out which types of oven are the most efficient, which are most environmentally friendly, and how to save energy by cooking in your oven.

One aspect that we usually overlook when cooking is about the power of ovens and the amount of electricity they consume. Let's take an in-depth look and discover some practical tips on how to save energy when using your oven.

 

What power does an oven use?

A normal oven usually uses between 900 and 3,500 watts of power (W), although this depends significantly on the functions we use to cook and the type of oven. For example, a domestic electric oven has an average power of 1500 watts (W) in normal use.

Therefore, if you use your oven for 1 hour to bake a cake, you would be consuming 1500 watts per hour, i.e., 1.5 kW/h.

 

10 Tips for saving energy when using your oven

1. Cook several dishes at once

Without saturating it, one good way to save energy when using your oven is to cook several dishes at the same time. Most home ovens have enough space to cook several dishes simultaneously. This way, you get two for the price of one in your kitchen saving money, energy and time.

 

2. Don't open the door while cooking

It is true that often you might have to open the door to check that your dish is turning out as planned. However, by reducing the number of times you open the oven door when cooking, you can avoid a loss of heat, achieving a more efficient and sustainable use.

 

3. Harness residual heat

Once you have finished using the oven, it will still retain a lot of heat that you can continue to use to heat other foods. Instead of using your microwave, use the residual heat in your oven to heat other dishes and save energy.  

 

4. Turn off the oven 5 minutes before

Another way to harness the residual heat is to turn the oven off 5 minutes before finishing cooking your dish. The residual heat will be enough to finish the dish without affecting its quality and you could save, using this simple trick, more than €3 per month.

 

5. Cook food in smaller pieces

The same amount of a food, baked in smaller portions, requires a shorter cooking time. A very simple way of saving time and money when using your oven, with the same exquisite results. Furthermore, this makes it much easier to serve meals if you have already prepared the portion sizes.

 

6. Keep your oven well maintained

Cleaning and maintaining your oven are two other factors that greatly enhance the energy savings offered by this appliance. Over time, the door might not close properly or either the thermostat or fan might fail.

Furthermore, significant amounts of accumulated dirt can result in the heating of the resistor or the gas burners not being distributed homogeneously within the oven.

When taking care with cleaning and performing small checks on the most important points of your oven, you can extend its useful life and help consume less energy.

 

7. Use suitable baking containers

Your choice of container is essential to get the most out of each kW/h consumed by your oven. For example, ceramic or glass containers retain the temperature very well and can help to avoid having to heat the oven too much. Another example are metal containers indicated for baking, which heat up quickly and are perfect for dishes that require temperature in short periods of time.

 

8. Pre-cook vegetables

Boiling vegetables before baking them is one very interesting way of saving energy. This reduces baking times, thus saving energy and the results are amazing.

 

9. Choose ovens with a high energy rating

Although it is true that they require a greater initial investment, ovens with A or B ratings provide energy savings and offer maximum performance in the long run. 

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10. Make a commitment to green energy

Now it is possible to reduce the environmental impact of the energy you consume and, at the same time, save with flat tariffs for electricity and/or gas that use ecological energy sources exclusively.

 

When is it cheapest to use your oven?

The cheapest times to use your electric oven are off-peak hours, from 12 p.m. to 8 a.m. Alternatively, the best time to cook in your oven could be during the flat-rate hours from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the afternoon and from 10 p.m. to midnight. Bear in mind that on weekends and bank holidays, off-peak hours are the cheapest, lasting 24 hours a day.

These times are the most appropriate if you have a tariff that discriminates between time brackets on the free market or the regulated market. However, you can still save more by using your oven. As we saw in the article about "the cheapest time to put the washing machine on", depending on the electricity tariff you take out, you can adapt your habits to suit your needs or lifestyle.

For example, in the Tempo Happy 2 hours tariff electricity consumption is free for two hours in a row every day. There are also flat electricity rates as part of which you pay the same every month regardless of your consumption. This is the ideal option if you don't want to worry about what time is cheapest to use your oven.

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Types of oven and their energy efficiency

Below are details of different types of standard ovens and the benefits they offer when compared to one another.

 

Which oven consumes the most energy? Conventional, convection or microwave.

Electric ovens are now the most common ovens in Spanish homes. Generally speaking, when choosing to use glass ceramic hobs, most people also change switch traditional gas ovens for an electric one. However, there are several types of ovens within the electric range.

 

Conventional

Traditional ovens consume the most energy when cooking. They work the same as gas ovens, only that in this case, heat is produced by electrical resistors rather than burners.

 

Convection

This type of oven also uses resistors to generate heat. The difference is that a fan system recirculates the hot air inside the oven, getting the most out of the energy while baking.

Although initially they were focused on frying without oil, in recent years, this type of oven has become very popular. They come in progressively larger sizes and have features that make it possible to prepare a very wide variety of dishes. 

"Convection ovens use 30% less baking time compared to a conventional oven."

Microwaves

In this case, it is the heat generated by the electromagnetic waves that give them their name, microwaves. Although we are still reluctant to use them for more elaborate dishes, microwave ovens can be used for much more than just heating milk or leftovers.

These ovens consume less energy, although it is true that they suffer from important size limitations and, most of all, the type of containers that can be used.

"Microwaves spend up to 75% less than a conventional oven when cooking the same dish."

Although microwaves or convection ovens are very good energy saving alternatives to using ovens, it is true that they cannot be used for all types of dishes and recipes.

Pastries, more elaborate baking or recipes for multiple diners usually need a conventional oven. However, it is always a good idea to keep them in mind and explore new recipes with this type of more efficient ovens.

 

Pyrolytic ovens or catalytic ovens, which is more sustainable?

Pyrolytic or catalytic ovens are a type of conventional oven, although they feature self-cleaning functions. The difference between a pyrolytic oven and a catalytic oven lies in the form and cleaning temperature.

  • Pyrolytic: the self-cleaning process is performed once the oven has been used for cooking. To remove any remnants of fat or food, the oven is heated to more than 500 ºC.
  • ·Catalytic: the task is similar to pyrolysis, although in this case the oven is cleaned at 200 ºC and the self-cleaning process is performed at the same time that food is cooked.

These features of catalytic ovens make them more efficient and sustainable, as they do not use as much energy when self-cleaning and this task is performed while baking. This makes it possible to save energy during the oven cleaning process.

 

What is an ecological or steam oven?

Ecological ovens are the name given to steam-powered ovens. These electric ovens, similar to conventional ovens, use steam to transmit heat to food rather than air. One of the main advantages of these ovens is that they cook faster and use less energy when baking.

Furthermore, these types of ecological ovens have a steam condenser that prevents many of the odours typically generated when baking food. These are typically large ovens and are expensive, more often present in the hotel industry rather than in the home.

From using your oven more efficiently, changing your habits when cooking or using your microwave and convection ovens, there are progressively more options available to use energy more efficiently.

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