Thanksgiving is all about tradition…
…But traditions don’t always have to be old ones. Use this year’s Thanksgiving Day to begin some new traditions that can lower your energy costs, reduce waste, and improve your home’s safety.
In The Kitchen
- Keep the oven door closed. Opening the oven door for even a few seconds lowers the temperature by as much as 25° F. Check your food’s progress through the window instead. If the oven door doesn’t have a window, resist the urge to check on the food until it is close to the expected finish time.
- Cook several items in the oven at the same time. Take care to leave enough space between the dishes to allow for the heat to circulate around them.
- Turn off the oven a few minutes before the food is fully cooked. As long as the door remains closed, there should be plenty of heat stored inside to finish cooking the meal.
- If your oven has a self-cleaning feature, consider using it immediately after finishing cooking the meal to take advantage of the residual heat.
- Using glass or ceramic pans will allow you to reduce the oven temperature by 25° F.
- Use small appliances such as microwaves, slow cookers, electric skillets and toaster ovens to cook as much of the food as possible. These energy-saving appliances use a fraction of the energy of bigger ovens.
- Be sure the burners and reflectors on your stovetop are clean to provide better heating and save energy. Dirty reflectors can reduce the energy efficiency of your stovetop by as much as one-third.
- Always match the size of the pan to the stovetop’s heating element.
- Keep the refrigerator and freezer well-stocked. A full refrigerator or freezer saves energy by reducing the recovery time when the door is opened.
- A dishwasher is usually more energy efficient than hand washing them. Make sure your dishwasher is completely filled before running it. If your dishwasher has energy-saving options on it, use them.
- Avoid pre-rinsing plates as much as possible. Scrape food off of them instead. Most dishwashers can get all the food off without a pre-rinse.
Fighting Food Waste
- Avoid cooking too much food. Too many leftovers usually go bad before they’re consumed.
- Use your vegetable peelings and leftover turkey carcass to create a delicious turkey stock.
- Compost your food waste instead of tossing it into the garbage bin. Avoid composting leftover meat, bones, dairy, or food that’s fatty, oily or greasy.
- The garbage bin should be reserved for waste that can’t be composted or recycled.
- Check the batteries in your home’s smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors and replace them as needed.
- Make sure your home’s fire extinguisher is within easy reach and that it has not expired. Make sure your guests know all the alternate exits to your home in case of a fire.
- Take care in using candles. Keep open flames away from flammable materials such as drapes and out of the reach of children and pets. Aromatic candles have been known to contribute to poor indoor air quality. Always use candles in well-ventilated areas.
- Check your home for any loose electrical sockets, overloaded sockets, frayed cords, faulty plugs and broken light bulbs. Fix and replace them as needed.
- If you have a fireplace, wood stove or another similar source of supplementary heat, be sure it has been inspected by a licensed chimney sweep and is in excellent working order. Take precautions to keep kids and pets away from them to avoid burn accidents.
- Don’t drink and drive, and don’t allow your guests to drive if they’ve had too much to drink.
Share your best Thanksgiving traditions with us in the comment section! Have a Safe and Happy Thanksgiving!
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