Microwaves are a staple part of the modern household. More than just convenience, microwave ovens also lower energy costs by cooking for efficiently than conventional stovetops and ovens. If it’s time to replace your microwave, use this Hearts guide to finding the most energy efficient model, and remember to recycle your old unit, too.
Quick Facts: Microwave Energy Costs
- 25% of home energy consumption on kitchen appliances: Microwaves and other kitchen appliances account for 25% of a household’s energy consumption.[i]
- $55 monthly cost for 20 minutes of microwave use daily: It costs a household $1.84 each day if a microwave is operated for 20 minutes; $55/month.[ii]
- 45 minutes cooking time saved with microwave instead of range: Some one-hour conventional range recipes can be cooked for 15 minutes in a microwave set on high.[iii]
Take Action! Purchasing an Energy Efficient Microwave
- Choose a convection microwave: A convection microwave cooks food faster and at lower temperatures than a conventional microwave oven because the heated air is circulated with a fan. Convection microwaves also provide better results than regular microwaves in terms of food quality allowing you to dispense with the conventional oven to save even more energy.
- Look for energy saving features: While microwaves have yet to reach ENERGY STAR status, there are some features that help you save energy. The best microwaves have an automatic shutoff sensor that detects when food is done cooking to prevent overcooking. Additionally, a microwave that has a variable power setting feature with preset choices depending on the food you are cooking will also help you save energy.
- Avoid energy wasting features: Microwaves with big, colorful displays consume more energy when on standby. Choose microwaves that have small and uncomplicated displays for greater energy efficiency.
Dig Deeper: Energy Efficient Microwaves
- Find out how the cost of cooking with microwaves compare versus other cooking appliances from the Consumer Energy Center.
- Whirlpool details how convection microwaves work.
[i] General Electric. (n.d.). ecomagination Kitchen. In General Electric ecomagination. Retrieved September 22, 2012, from http://www.ecomagination.com/portfolio/ecomagination-kitchen
[ii] Madison Gas and Electric. (2011, May 4). Appliance energy costs: Operating costs for major household appliances. InMadison Gas and Electric. Retrieved September 22, 2012, from http://www.mge.com/images/PDF/Brochures/Residential/ApplianceEnergyCosts.pdf
[iii] Edison Electric Institute. (2012, September). More than 100 ways to improve your electric bill. In Edison Electric Institute. Retrieved September 23, 2012, from http://www.eei.org/ourissues/EnergyEfficiency/Documents/100Ways.pdf
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