22 December 2008

Whether electric or gas cooking appliances provide similar cooking performance. Which one is your choice is depends on several factors, such as price, appearance kitchen layout, personal preference and of course, energy efficiency.

Generally, electric and LPG cooking costs more than natural gas. But, smaller electric appliances (frying pans and deep fryers) can be cheaper to run than both electric and gas stoves of the cooking periods is shorter. Microwave ovens are quite efficient also.

Energy efficiency
Energy star ratings at electric and gas appliances such as refrigerator, gas hot water systems and dishwasher indicate the energy efficiency but not for cooking appliances. The larger your cooking appliances and the longer cooking time, the more expensive cost you should pay. That’s why small appliances tend to be more efficient and should be used for cooking smaller amount of food.

Types of cooktops

Gas burners
  • Easy to adjust and respond rapidly
  • Good temperature control properties
  • Consumption varies according to the size of the burner and setting
Electric hotplates
There are three main types of electric hotplates : coil, solid and ceramic. The Efficiency different each other.

(a)Radiant coil hotplates
  • The cheapest electric hotplates
  • More efficient than solid and standard/halogen ceramic hotplates
  • Generally hinge up so that spillage bowls can be cleaned (some models have plug-inelements which can be removed for easier cleaning and replacement)
(b) Solid hotplates
  • Fixed to the hob and don’t need to be moved for cleaning
  • Slightly less efficient and have a slower response time than coil hotplates Retain heat longer than coil plates so they can be switched off before cooking is finished to save energy
  • Look for auto-sensing elements to assist with temperature control
  • ‘Sintered’ elements give faster cooking times
  • Require regular cleaning to maintain their efficiency and appearance
(c) Ceramic cooktops (smooth-tops)
  • Have elements concealed under a flat, glass surface
  • Provide stylish appearance and are easier to clean than coil and solid hotplates
(d) Ceramic induction cooktops
  • Uses electromagnetic technology to heat the cooking utensil and its contents with very little energy wasted on heating the ceramic cooking surface
  • An electronic circuit supplies power and electronically controls an inductor coil inside the appliance. This coil generates a magnetic field when a saucepan is placed in contact with the hob’s surface, causing induction currents to flow through the base of the pan
  • The cooktop surface stays cool, and spillages are not baked on, making cleaning easier. Induction cooking provides immediate response and precise temperature control
Type of electric hotplate Efficiency (%)
Coil55-65
Solid50-55
Ceramic - Standard55-60
Ceramic - Halogen 45-50

See Type of Cooktops for your kitchen for more information

Types of ovens
Gas and electric ovens are available in various sizez and can be install in walls, under benches or as part of a free standing stove. No matter the oven stand doesn’t effect on the energy efficiency or cooking performance. It’s important to choose the oven which is sufficiently in size for your requirements.

There are various types of ovens currently available on the market. Each cooks food
in slightly different ways.

(a) Conventional ovens
  • Have a gas burner or an electric element(s) for cooking
  • As hot air rises, the highest temperature is found towards the top of the oven
  • This can limit the amount of food which can be cooked at the one time.
  • These types of ovens are no longer commonly available
(b) Fan-forced (or convection) ovens
  • Have an in-built fan which circulates heated air around the oven
  • This results in an even temperature throughout the oven, allowing all shelves to be used simultaneously
  • Fan-forced ovens heat more quickly than conventional ovens, can cook food at lower temperatures, and use up to 35% less energy than conventional ovens
  • Multi-function ovens provide the option of either fan-forced or conventional cooking
(c) Microwave ovens
  • Extremely energy efficient as a result of the short cooking times involved
  • Energy only heats the food, with little wasted on heating cooking utensils or the oven itself
  • Shorter cooking times and significantly less energy consumption than conventional ovens
(d) Combination cookers
  • These combine convection and microwave cooking in the same oven
  • The food can be browned/crisped on the outside using convection cooking, while the microwave energy reduces the actual cooking time
Other appliances
Most kitchens are likely to contain a range of smaller cooking appliances such as a kettle, food processor and toaster Smaller electric cooking appliances are generally very energy efficient and inexpensive to run. It is important to unplug them at the power point as some consume standby power.

Based on the standard domestic electricity price of 13.94 cents per kilowatt hour (c/kWh).

Running Costs-electrical appliancesPower ratingRunning cost per hour (watts)
Oven2500 (large)
1800 (average)
35¢
25¢
Grill2000 (horizontal)
1800 (vertical)
28¢
25¢
Hotplate2050 (large)
1250 (small)
29¢
17¢
Microwave oven, Kettle150021¢
Frypan, Deep fryer120017¢
Toaster, sandwhich maker600
Bread maker470
Crock pot150

Gas appliances(MJ/hour)Natural gasLPG
Oven1325¢63¢
Grill1020¢49¢
Burner1020¢49¢

Based on a natural gas price of 7.05 c/kWh and an LPG price of $102 (2006 average cost of a 45kg cylinder, including rental and delivery in Western Australia). To convert MJ to kWh divide by 3.6 (1kWh = 1 unit).

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