Whenever you choose to cook using a microwave, you're choosing to save money. Fast and efficient microwave ovens use around 50 percent to 65 percent less energy than conventional ovens. They also have the added benefit of not heating up your kitchen, so they save money on air conditioning in the hot times of the year.
Microwaves ovens use very high-frequency radio waves to penetrate the surface of food to heat water molecules inside. These energetic waves can greatly reduce the cooking times and energy consumption for preparing certain foods, especially in small amounts. That's why microwave ovens are especially efficient for smaller portions or for defrosting things. When it comes to large items, however, your oven or stovetop are usually more efficient.
Basic microwave ovens are almost equally efficient. New models of microwave ovens, however, include features that improve energy efficiency and cooking performance. These include temperature probes, sensing controls that tell by moisture content when food is properly cooked, and variable power settings.
Cost of Cooking
This table from the Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings compares the cost of cooking a casserole in several ways. It assumes the cost of gas is $.60 a therm, and electricity is $.08 a kWh.
|Electric Oven||350||1 hour||2.0 kWh||$.16|
|Electric Convection Oven||325||45 minutes||1.39 kWh||$.11|
|Gas Oven||350||1 hour||.112 therm||$.07|
|Electric Frying Pan||420||1 hour||.9 KWh||$.07|
|Toaster Oven||425||50 minutes||.95 kWh||$.08|
|Electric Crockpot||200||7 hours||.7 kWh||$.06|
|Microwave Oven||"High"||15 minutes||.36 kWh||$.03|
It's Your Money
Microwave ovens are not well suited to cooking large-sized portions, and full-size ovens don't efficiently cook small qualities of food. For the most economy, consider several ways of cooking, including toaster ovens and crockpots - those insulated ceramic pots with built-in electric heating elements.
Microwaves Cooking Tips
Microwave ovens use around 50 percent less energy than conventional ovens; they're most efficient for small portions or defrosting. For large meals, stovetop cooking is usually more efficient.
Use your microwave as often as possible in the summer. You'll be more comfortable and save on air conditioning costs.
Use microwave ovens or toaster ovens to cook small- to medium-sized meals.