Cooking

 

Whether you’re preparing a small meal for yourself or a five-course dinner for friends, your cooking equipment—and the way you use it—can affect your home’s energy efficiency. From lower power consumption and less heat waste to increased productivity and added convenience, electric cooking is a great way to save energy and money.

Countertop Convection Ovens

A countertop convection oven brings together the technology and benefits of convection cooking with the portability and convenience of a conventional toaster oven. Like their standard-sized counterparts, a countertop convection oven combines conventional cooking with fans that circulate heated air around the food. As a result, they can cook food quickly at reduced temperatures, which increases efficiency and saves energy. They’re ideal for preparing smaller food items or for reheating leftovers.


Electric Downdraft Cooktops

An electric downdraft cooktop incorporates a three-speed exhaust system to pull steam, vapor and smoke out of the air. It provides all the cooking conveniences of a standard electric cooktop while eliminating the need for a ventilation hood or system.


Electric Ovens

However simple or complex your cooking needs, a high-efficiency electric oven can help you prepare delicious meals without using excess energy. They come in a variety of styles and configurations, ranging from single- and double-wall ovens to under-the-counter or freestanding floor units. When selecting an electric oven, be sure to choose a model that fits comfortably into your kitchen and your lifestyle.

Types of Electric Ovens

Convection Ovens

A convection oven combines conventional cooking with fans that circulate heated air around the food. As a result, convection ovens can cook food more quickly at reduced temperatures, which increases efficiency and saves money.

Conventional Ovens

A conventional or traditional oven surrounds food with heat to cook it. While an economical choice, conventional ovens tend to work less efficiently than their more modern counterparts.


Electric Ranges (Combined Cooktops & Ovens)

Whether you’re cooking for yourself or planning a huge dinner party, a high-efficiency electric range can help you prepare the perfect meal, all while saving you money and energy. The type of cooking method they employ—conventional, convection or Trivection™—varies depending on the model and manufacturer.

Types of Electric Ranges (Combined Cooktops & Ovens)

Double-Oven Ranges

These models are most popular for their exceptional versatility and inherent convenience. The separate upper and lower ovens operate independently, enabling you to prepare different dishes at different settings.

Drop-In Ranges

Designed to fit seamlessly with kitchen cabinetry, electric drop-in ranges do not sit on the floor nor do they have a warming drawer. The cooktops of these models overhang the neighboring countertops. Cooking options and features vary depending on the manufacturer.

Free-Standing Ranges

Generally the most economical models, free-standing electric ranges are designed to fit common counter cutouts and are easy to install.

Induction Ranges

These models feature a standard oven paired with a fast-working and highly energy efficient .

Slide-In Ranges

As the name indicates, these models are designed to simply “slide in” between existing countertops and cabinets. While they have a custom built-in appearance, they do not have finished sides and, thus, need to be placed within surrounding cabinetry.


Microwave Ovens

A great energy-saving tool, microwave ovens are a quick, easy, efficient way to cook vegetables, reheat foods, warm beverages, defrost frozen meats and more. Popular for their speed and versatility, today’s microwaves—whether they’re wall-mounted, built-in, above-the-range or portable countertop models—offer an impressive variety of cooking options and features.

Types of Microwave Ovens

Combi/Convection Microwaves

As the name indicates, these models are a hybrid of the conventional microwave and convection oven. By bringing these two technologies together, food can be browned, baked, roasted or crisped with the effectiveness of a convection oven and the speed of a microwave. For added convenience and versatility, a combi microwave’s dual functions can operate simultaneously or independently. Cooking options and features vary depending on the manufacturer.

Conventional Microwaves

Conventional or traditional microwave ovens use the energy of high-frequency radio waves to make water molecules in food vibrate, which cooks or heats the food. There are three reasons traditional microwave ovens save so much energy. First, they dramatically reduce cooking time. Second, the unit itself uses a third as much energy to cook food than other appliances, like a cooktop or oven, would require. And third, they heat only the food, not the oven and the surroundings—this prevents unnecessary heat buildup, which can save on summer air conditioning costs.


Smoothtop Electric Cooktops

Sleek and stylish, electric smoothtop cooktop models come either glass or “glass-ceramic” surfaces, the latter of which is scratch- and impact-resistant. When selecting an electric smoothtop cooktop, look for one with a no-drip raised edge to prevent spills and boil overs.

Types of Smoothtop Electric Cooktops

Halogen Smoothtop Cooktops

Halogen elements are a combination of halogen lamps and resistant heating wires located beneath the cooktop’s glass-ceramic surface. Fairly new and more expensive than other models, this technology delivers instant heat and responds quickly to adjustments in the temperature setting. As with other glass-ceramic cooktops, the main mode of heating comes from contact between the pan and the hot glass surface—a combination of radiation and conduction. Thus, they are comparable in performance and efficiency to radiant smoothtop cooktops.

Induction Smoothtop Cooktops

Fast working and highly energy efficient, an induction cooktop heats only the cookware and its contents. When operating, the rest of the glass-ceramic cooking surface remains relatively cool, making it much safer—and more precise—than traditional models. To work, an induction cooktop generates an electromagnetic field between itself and the cookware, which gathers energy and heats up. Due to this unique process, the bottom of the cookware must be made of iron or steel; Pyrex, copper or aluminum cookware are not magnetic and, thus, cannot react to the cooktop’s electromagnetic mechanism.

Radiant Smoothtop Cooktops

Radiant cooktops produce heat by passing electricity through resistance heating wires located beneath the glass-ceramic cooktop surface. The elements glow bright in approximately three seconds. Heat is then radiated to the surface where it is transferred to the cookware by radiation and conduction. Easy to clean, these models heat faster than solid disk elements, but not as quickly as standard coil elements. They are more energy efficient than solid disks elements and, in some cases, coil elements.


Toaster Ovens

A great energy- and space-saving tool, toaster ovens are ideal for cooking smaller food items or for reheating leftovers. Able to function as a toaster or a small oven, they add convenience to any kitchen.


Traditional Electric Cooktops

Designed to operate independently from ovens, cooktops can be installed on top of a built-in oven or warming drawer, or as a stand-alone unit incorporated into a countertop or kitchen island. There are a number of electric cooktops and burners on the market, some of which offer energy saving features, enhanced cooking control and a modern, high-tech look.

Types of Traditional Electric Cooktops

Electric Coil Cooktops

Electrical coil cooktops have removable spiral heating elements with drip bowls underneath. These models have very good heat-up speed and use electrical resistance wires encased in a metallic tube filled with an insulation material. The tube is shaped into a coil and flattened for maximum contact with cookware. Heat travels from the coil to the cookware both by conduction and radiation, which enables even and consistent heat for cooking. They are highly economical and, if an element should burn out, it is fairly easy to replace.

Solid Element Cooktops

Solid elements, which are made of cast iron, have been popular for many years in European-inspired kitchens. Since the solid elements are made of cast-iron, they share many qualities of cast-iron cookware—gradual heat-up, even cooking and heat retention. The cast-iron disk contains electric resistant wires embedded in ceramic insulation and, like a coil cooktop, cooks through conduction.


Ventilation Hoods

Ventilation or range hoods remove steam, heat and smoke above the cooktop via an exhaust fan. They are designed to vent through the wall, into the cabinet ductwork or—after being run through a filter—back into the kitchen. In addition to increasing comfort while cooking, ventilation hoods play a key role in eliminating excessive moisture from your kitchen, which can cause unhealthy mold and mildew to grow. When selecting a ventilation hood, consider a money- and energy-saving high-efficiency model.


Warming Drawers

Separate cooking products, warming drawers can be installed with a matching oven or as an individual appliance. They generate a low heat that is designed to keep prepared foods hot, warm plates, proof bread dough or even maintain the freshness of pastries before being served. They can be installed below a cooktop, under an existing oven, beneath a wall oven or in a kitchen island.