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Save Energy For Thanksgiving

Don’t be a turkey and waste energy at Thanksgiving. Here are 9 ways to save energy on turkey day without sacrificing any comforts of the season.

A Few Days Before Thanksgiving

Install a dimmer switch to save energy1. Install a dimmer switch for the dining room chandelier. Every time you dim a bulb’s brightness by 10%, you’ll double the bulb’s lifespan. Keep in mind, most CFLs don’t work with dimmers, but you can create mood lighting with incandescents and LEDs. The dimmer switch will cost you about $10 to $15. Be sure to turn off the breaker to your chandelier before replacing any switches!

2. Plan side dishes that can cook simultaneously with the turkey. If you cook dishes at the same temperature at the same time, you’ll reduce the amount of time the oven has to be running — it’s easier for the cook and will save energy, too.

When You Start Cooking

3. Lower your house thermostat a few degrees. The oven will keep the house warm. If you have ceiling fans, turn them on in reverse (blowing up to the ceiling) so it sucks air up, distributing heat throughout the room, thus helping you to save energy.

4. Use ceramic or glass pans — you can turn down the oven’s temperature by up to 25 degrees and get the same results. That’s because these materials retain heat so well, they’ll continue cooking your food for a while even after being taken out of the oven.

5. Use your oven’s convection feature if you have that type of oven. When heated air is circulated around the food, it reduces the required temperature and cooking time. You’ll cut your energy use by about 20%.

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6. Cook in the microwave whenever possible. Ditto slow cookers. Microwaves get the job done quickly, and although slow cookers take much longer, they still use less energy than the oven. Resist the urge to peek inside your slow cooker: Each time you remove the lid, it releases heat and can add about 25 minutes of cooking time to your dish.

7. Use lids on pots to retain heat. The food you’re cooking on the stovetop will heat up faster when you use lids.

When It’s Cleanup Time

8. Scrape plates instead of rinsing with hot water. Unless food is really caked on there, your dishwasher should get the dishes clean without a pre-rinse. Compost your non-meat food waste.

9. Use your dishwasher. It will save energy and water, so only hand-wash things that aren’t dishwasher-safe. Wait until you’ve got a full load before starting the dishwasher. Try stopping the dishwasher before the heated dry cycle; just open the door and let your dishes air-dry. Many dishwashers today will let you turn off the heated dry cycle when you start the washer, in case you forget to do it when the dishwaster is finished washing.

Keep these tips in mind while you enjoy your upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, and save energy while you do so!

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