From baking bread to boiling water, there's a lot your electric oven and range can do. But what's it costing you? That's one of the more complicated questions to answer when it comes to analyzing your household energy consumption.
Let's end the suspense with some basic cost estimates. Most electric ovens draw between 2,000 and 5,000 watts, with the average electric stove wattage coming in at around 3,000 watts. So how much energy does an electric stove use per hour? Assuming an electricity rate of 12 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), a 3000-watt oven will cost you about 36 cents per hour at high heat.
As for the burners on the electric stovetop, bigger burners draw more electricity. Many cooktops range from about 1,200 watts for the smallest burners to 3,000 watts for the largest, which will cost you roughly 14 cents and 36 cents per hour, respectively.
But even if you know the exact wattages of your oven and each of your burners, this breakdown is a simplification. That's because the actual wattages you're drawing depend on the amount of heat you're generating. There's a big difference in energy consumption between making beef jerky at 170 degrees and self-cleaning your oven at 800 degrees.
And think about how you use your burners: you quickly turn the dial to low, medium or high heat, but the exact place where the dial stops changes slightly every time. This makes it very difficult to accurately track the energy consumption of a kitchen range.
Fortunately, given the rough cost estimates stated above, these differences won't amount to more than a couple of dollars per month for the average home cook. Unless you keep your range running all day, every day, it's not going to break the bank.
The task of estimating an electric range's energy consumption doesn't get much easier when you're shopping for a new model. The federal ENERGY STAR program, which helps consumers identify energy-efficient models when shopping for many appliances, doesn't evaluate ovens and ranges. In addition, the yellow and black EnergyGuide labels that feature cost estimates for the use of appliances like refrigerators and dishwashers are also not available for ovens and ranges.
However, there are some general guidelines for choosing a range that will use less energy:
Unless you're already in the market for one, getting a whole new range probably isn't the best way to save energy in the kitchen. If you're looking for opportunities to cut back, just try these smart energy practices: