Making a big family meal for Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be a significant drag on your energy use. One tip from energy savings advisor Allison Trouy is don’t dawdle when you’re preparing to use the oven.
“You want to make sure that the green bean casserole is ready for baking by the time the oven finishes pre-heating,” Trouy says. “Heating the oven for longer than needed is just going to waste energy and that’s going to waste your money.”
Trouy says once something is in the oven, resist the urge to open the door to peek on its progress
“Don’t do it,” she says. “Opening the door can actually drop the temperature as much as 25 degrees, which will add cooking time and energy use.” Just flip on the oven light to check on baking food instead of letting out that heat.
Another thing to keep in mind is that cooking in the kitchen may keep your house warmer than normal.
“It is a great opportunity to just lower your thermostat a few degrees and you probably won’t notice a difference,” Trouy says. “And really, any time you can take the opportunity to lower that thermostat, it can really add up to some significant savings.”
Another way to save energy and time is to avoid the temptation of washing the dishes as you go. Instead, she suggests waiting until all your dishes need to be cleaned and you can fill the dishwasher before turning it on.
“It is going to use the same amount of energy to heat up, whether it’s full or not,” Trouy says. “You might as well maximize that energy use and get everything in there you can before you run it.”
If you have a programmable thermostat, the U.S. Department of Energy says to turn it down by 10 to 15-degrees before leaving the house for an eight-hour span, and you’ll save up to 15-percent a year on your heating bill.