Q- I need to buy a new range and I do a lot of cooking and baking. I am unsure whether to get a gas or electric range and what features to get. Are some ranges more energy-efficient?
H. L.A - There are differences in the costs to operate various types of kitchen ranges. Some new innovative ranges offer special features that can reduce the cooking time by one-third. This not only saves your time and money, but also decreases the heat buildup in your kitchen.
Electric ranges and ovens are more expensive to operate than gas models. A typical electric oven baking element is rated at about 3,000 watts. For example, at an electric rate of 8 cents per kilowatt-hour, it costs 24 cents for each hour the element is actually on.
Typical gas oven burners are rated at about 16,000 Btu/hour. At a gas rate of 55 cents per therm, it costs 9 cents for each hour the burner is on. Since ovens switch on an off during baking, the actual cost difference between gas and electric is not as significant as the numbers indicate.
One new energy-efficient and convenient feature is a standard oven that has a microwave built into it. You can use the microwave and the standard oven heat simultaneously to reduce cooking times by half. You can also use the broiler and the microwave together, or any of them alone.
For example, you can roast a 12-pound turkey in only 55 minutes. It will be juicy and brown just like one roasted for several hours in a standard oven alone. It speeds broiling, too.
Another new oven feature is a special parabolic-shaped top above the electric broiler element. This focuses the heating rays more directly on the food and reduces preheat and overall broiling time. A new gas broiler uses a special mesh burner design to cook faster and more efficiently.
Ranges with convection ovens can also reduce baking times by one-third. A powerful fan forces the hot air around the oven cavity, so heat is transferred quicker and more evenly to the food.
A self-cleaning oven can also reduce your costs in the long run. On average, it uses about 50 cents of electricity to operate the hightemperature self-cleaning cycle for three hours. You would probably spend more than that for spray oven cleaner. The heavier oven wall insulation can reduce the heat loss during regular baking and broiling.
You can write to me for UTILITY BILLS UPDATE No. 298 showing a buyer's guide list of the features of many gas and electric oven/ ranges and for more-detailed information about the new features mentioned above. Write to James Dulley, The Deseret News, 6906 Royal Green Dr., Cincinnati, Ohio 45244. Please include $1.00 and a self-addressed envelope.
Q - When the weather is chilly, my son lets the hot bath water stay in the tub until it cools down. He says it saves energy, but it leaves a ring.
Is he right? Y. K.
A - Unfortunately for your dishpan hands, he is right. With a standard-sized tub, you waste thousands of Btu of heat by draining the warm water. It can take several hours for the heat from the water to transfer to the room air.
If you have a condensation problem from excess humidity in your home, you have a legitimate excuse to make him drain it. Also, if he were really interested in saving energy, he would take cold showers anyway.