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Ovens & Ranges

Excerpts from The Difference is in the Details by Tracy DeCarlo.

Before it can heat your food, a conventional oven must first heat up about 35 pounds of steel and a large amount of air. Tests indicate that only 6 percent of the energy output of a typical oven is actually absorbed by the food. New ovens are more energy-efficient due to additional insulation as well as tighter fitting oven door gaskets and hinges. Energy Star does not rate ovens; however you may want to consider the following features to increase energy saving:

Pilot-less Ignition:
Gas ovens with an electronic, pilot-less ignition use approximately 30 percent less gas over those with a constantly burning pilot light. These appliances are also more convenient, eliminating the need to restart a standing pilot light if it goes out. About 58 percent of American households cook with electricity, but gas cooking is making a steady comeback. A gas oven uses its fuel directly for cooking, which means it uses far less energy than its electric counterpart. In fact, a gas appliance equipped with an electronic ignition costs less than half as much to operate as an electric one. While we’re on the subject of gas ovens, I went to interject a tip about gas cooktops. Think twice before choosing a black porcelain gas cooktop. The workings of the cooktop are not in question here; it’s the color that’s the problem. After living with a black porcelain gas cooktop, I can tell you that it’s a total nightmare to keep clean.

Self-Cleaning Oven:
Consider buying a self-cleaning oven. Not only is the convenience factor well worth it, you’ll actually use less energy for everyday cooking because of the oven’s higher insulation levels. Note, however, that if use the self-cleaning option more than once a month, you’ll wipe out any energy savings from the extra insulation.

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