Baby, it’s cold outside: Tips to conserving energy this winter

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Jenna Kagan checks on a pork chop dinner cooking in her energy efficient crock pot slow cooker as she works in her kitchen, Thursday, July 31, 2008, at her home in Maple Valley, Wash., near Seattle. Kagan, who is a stay-at-home Mom and home-schools her three children, says that the current uneasy economy has seen […]

El Paso, Texas (KTSM) — Electric bills tend to go up as the holidays come around. Much of this spike comes from the kitchen.

As you prepare your holiday meals, the only worry you should have is making sure meals and gifts are perfect for your loved ones.

Here are five energy efficient tips to keep your spirits high and your electric bill low:

  • Cook everything together: You should cook as much of the holiday meal as possible at the same time to save energy. Do not turn on the oven until all your chopping and mixing is done and you’re ready to turn on the heat. Another tip to remember is that you can typically turn off the oven the last few minutes of cooking as the generated heat should be enough to finish the job.
  • Go unplugged while cooking: Stay off the electronic devices and spend more quality time with family. Items such as a toaster oven, air fryer and instant pot should always be unplugged so you don’t waste energy. Many people don’t realize these items eat up standby energy when they’re plugged in, but not in use.
  • Keep the doors closed: Keep the refrigerator and oven door closed as much as possible. Be strategic when you open the fridge and try to get out all the items you need at once to avoid wasting energy. When it comes to the stove, do not open the door when the meal is cooking, as the oven temperature will drop approximately 25 degrees with every peek. Use the oven light and glass door insert to check readiness.
  • Big meals can be made in small appliances: You don’t have to cook the entire Christmas dinner in a crockpot, but you can easily save energy by preparing part of the meal in smaller appliances such as a toaster oven, crockpot, instant pot, griddle, air fryer or microwave. All of these appliances can be more energy efficient than the traditional oven or stove. For instance, a toaster oven uses about one-third to one half the energy as the traditional oven, according to the Department of Energy. Smaller appliances are also a great option for heating Christmas leftovers. You can save 80 percent on energy when reheating food in a microwave versus a standard oven.
  • Say “yes” to the dishwasher: An Energy Star dishwasher uses less than half as much energy as hand washing, saving approximately 5,000 gallons of water a year. Always operate the dishwasher efficiently by only running it when there is a full load. Allow the dishes air dry by leaving the door open or hand drying for an extra boost in energy savings when possible.

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