Summer Smart: Use your Oven without Cooking your Kitchen

ImageIn case you missed the memo: it’s hot. We’re in the midst of summer, our air conditioners are working overtime and it even when we’ve got them blaring – it still feels warm inside! Then you get to the kitchen – which, if you didn’t know, is usually the warmest room in the house due to all the heavy-duty appliances – and it’s ten times worse. Most days we forgo using our ovens in favor of lighting up the grill in order to avoid cancelling out all the hard work the A/C has done, but some days, it’s just not possible. For those days were you don’t have much of a choice but to fire up the oven for dinner, the least you could do is try to be efficient.

For example, one of the best things you can do is multi-task when cooking. Plan out your meal, find out which foods can be cooked at the same temperature (or within 25 degrees of a certain temperature) and batch them together. This way, you’re not using your oven for quite as long and your kitchen has more of a chance to cool down. Don’t forget to stagger out the pans to maximize air flow and promote efficient cooking!

Another thing you can do is get a good oven light so you can step away from that door! Opening your oven door means you’ll lose about 25 degrees in internal temperature, which could mean you need to cook that food longer – not to mention, that heat gets released right into your kitchen, combating the work of the air conditioning unit. Very counter-productive! Get an oven light so you can peek in regularly to see how the food is doing.

Make sure your oven is always clean – both the inside and the door. You want to make sure that all the heat energy is making it to your food, not whatever’s stuck to the bottom of the oven. Additionally, a clean oven door forms a better seal and releases less heat.

Did you know that you can reduce your necessary cooking temperature by up to 25 degrees when you cook in glass or ceramic bakeware instead of metal? These materials are way more efficient, and being able to turn down your oven by 25 degrees makes a huge difference.

If it starts getting warm in the room, you can always turn your oven off a few minutes early. The food will still cook in the residual heat, but the rest of the house can start to cool off.

And most importantly, make sure your oven temperature is calibrated. If your gauge is off, you could be wasting energy and money, and needlessly making your home much, much hotter. Check the oven temps with a cheap thermometer to make sure this isn’t the case!

Of course, it’s always a good idea to go for the grill rather than the oven whenever possible to give your air conditioner a break, but sometimes, we just have to use our ovens. On these days, use these tips to be as cost- and energy-efficient as possible.


1 Response to “Summer Smart: Use your Oven without Cooking your Kitchen”

  1. 1 Go cook something | Studio 1215 news Blog Trackback on August 7, 2013 at 2:07 AM

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