Electric Ovens, Are they Worth Your Money?
Different electrical appliances need varying amounts of energy. Some, like electric fans, require less, while others can be power-hungry. Examples of energy-intensive appliances are air conditioning units, heaters, and electric stoves or ovens.
Knowing the power consumption of your electronics and devices will help you estimate your home’s energy usage. If you aim to save on electricity costs, you can use the information to move your goal forward.
For this article, let’s focus on the power consumption of electric ovens. We’ll determine how many amps this kitchen appliance uses, how you can save on its energy usage, and see if you can find a cheaper alternative.
Energy Consumption of An Oven
A standard electric oven draws around 30 to 50 amps. However, not all electric ovens are the same. There are different types and models, which will determine how many amps each one uses.
Let’s look at the various kinds of electric ovens and their amperages.
This type of oven is meant for basic cooking needs, such as toasting, broiling, browning, and defrosting small quantities of food. It doesn’t take up a lot of space and is a breeze to install. This electric oven suits those on a limited budget as its price is easy on the pocket.
How many amps toaster ovens draw depends on factors including heat setting and size. On average, they use around 10 to 15 amps.
As its name implies, an electric oven uses electricity as a heat source. This is in contrast with gas ovens that run on natural gas. Electric ovens are quite popular because they’re suitable for most kinds of cooking needs. Some models, called electric ranges, can serve as electric stoves as they come with stovetops.
When it comes to power consumption, electric ovens cost more to operate than oven toasters. They typically use 30 to 50 amps, but larger models and those with complex designs will consume more energy. Moreover, a power surge can affect how many amps an electric oven draws.
Organic materials, such as food or wood wastes, serve as the fuel source for pellet ovens. These organic materials usually come in small and densely packed cylindrical pellets. As such, this type of oven is considered one of the most environmentally friendly among the different kinds of ovens.
Although a pellet oven relies on pellets as its power supply, it still requires electricity. Depending on its heat setting (whether medium or high), this type of oven consumes between 100 to 500 watts.
A gas oven is similar to its electric counterpart. Their main difference lies in what they use as a fuel source. Electric ovens run on electricity, while gas ovens are powered by natural gas. This type of oven is quite versatile and can be used for various cooking purposes, making it a favorite among professional cooks.
Models with burners, digital displays, and the like will need electricity to operate those features. However, gas ovens often have minimal power consumption, around 3 watts for an hour’s use. Those that run solely on natural gas will have zero power consumption.
It’s hard to find a home without this kitchen appliance. Microwave ovens have become extremely popular because of their versatility. This type of oven heats food in minutes or even seconds using the high-frequency microwave. It also doesn’t take up much space because of its compact size.
How much energy a microwave oven uses depends on its size. It has an average power consumption of about 1200 watts and 10amps.
Also called a conduction oven, a convection oven comes with a fan and exhaust system that circulates the hot air inside the cooking compartment and promotes a more uniform heat distribution. The consistent temperature also lessens cooking time, making this type of oven more energy-efficient than its other counterparts.
While convection ovens have almost the same power ratings as electric ovens, they usually consume less electricity because they can cook food faster.
Factors that affect an Oven’s Power Usage
As there are different types and models, estimating how many watts each uses and calculating their energy consumption can be tricky. To add to the challenge, other factors often affect the electric energy requirements ovens have, whether they’re operating on low or maximum power. You’ll need to look at these factors to determine how much this kitchen appliance will add to your home’s electricity expenses
An oven’s power consumption while on maximum power is significantly higher than when operating on a low setting. For example, an oven set on maximum power will drain about 2.5 kW per hour. Lowering the temperature setting will also reduce its power consumption to approximately 1.5 kWh for the same period.
How many watts an oven drain also depends on its size. As such, a larger oven’s energy consumption will be higher than its smaller counterpart. That’s because a smaller space heats faster than a larger one. The oven size is often based on the number of family members, and in the country, medium-capacity ovens are the most popular. The energy consumption of these ovens falls between 800 to 900 watts per hour.
The longer the oven operates, the higher its energy consumption. Moreover, setting it on high power for an extended period also adds to the watts it consumes. Using your oven more often and at a higher temperature will lead to spikes in your electricity costs.
Calculate your Oven’s Electric Consumption
An oven’s power rating is just one piece of information you need to calculate your oven’s power consumption. Like most electrical devices, ovens have 3 main specifications. These indicate the power supply the kitchen appliance need. Here’s a quick explanation of what those specifications in your unit’s manual mean.
Voltage refers to the force of an electric current. It specifies the electric strength or pressure an appliance or electronic device needs to operate. Most electronic devices have a voltage rating of 120 or 240 volts, with power-hungry appliances like electric ovens running on 240 volts. For the equipment or device to function correctly, you should plug it into a socket with a matching voltage rating.
Ampere (Amp) is a unit of current. An appliance or device’s amp rating indicates the electric current it draws from the power socket while it operates. Thus, the ampere rating of an oven specifies the maximum current it will get from the circuit. Most ovens for home use typically draw between 20 to 50 amps, while commercial-grade ones can draw over 60 amps.
Wattage or watts indicates the rate of power flow. Specifically, it results from one amp flowing through an electrical difference of one volt and refers to the power an electronic device consumes to perform the necessary operation. Knowing your oven’s amperage will help you choose the correct circuit breaker for your appliance.
Importance of Amps Rating on an Electric Oven
Energy-intensive appliances like electric ovens can draw between 20 to 60 Amps of electric current while operating. Because of an electric oven’s high energy requirement, you should first determine how many amps of current it will draw before plugging it into a power socket. A mismatch between the appliance’s ampere specification and the electric socket can cause some problems.
Effects of Ampere Requirement
If the ampere rating of your oven doesn’t match that of the socket you plug it in, you may encounter the following issues.
- Your oven may not work because it doesn’t get the power it needs to operate.
- If your oven tries to draw more current than the electrical system can handle, it can overload and trip your home’s circuit breakers.
- The oven can become a fire hazard.
These issues are safety risks. They can also affect the performance of your appliance or even cause damages that will be costly to repair. Thus, you should make sure that you plug your oven into the appropriate socket.
Finding the Amps Rating of your Oven
Because it’s essential to match the amperage of your oven with that of the power socket, you’ll need to identify the amps rating of your appliance first before you use it. To determine this vital piece of information, you can do the following:
- Look for the label at the back of the appliance. You can find this label next to the power terminals or where the power cord exits your electric oven. All the electric parameters of your device, including its amps rating, are listed on this label.
- The same parameters and specifications are also indicated in your unit’s user manual.
- If you can’t find the amps rating, you can calculate it by dividing its power rating by its specified voltage.
Average Monthly Cost of Using an Oven
How much using an oven will add to your monthly electric bill depends on its type, function, size, wattage, and the number of hours it operates per day. To illustrate, let’s do two sample calculations for ovens with different wattages.
2000 watt oven
Oven wattage: 2000 watts (W) or 2 kilowatts (kW)
Run time: 5 hours
Number of days used: 20
U.S. residential electricity rate: 13.9 cents per kWh
2 kW x 5 hours x 20 days x 0.139 = $27.8
1000 watt oven
1 kW x 5 hours x 20 days x 0.139 = $13.9
A 2000-watt oven will cost you $27.8 if you operate it for 5 hours a day, 20 days a month. Meanwhile, if you use a 1000-watt oven for the same duration, its running cost will come to $13.9.
Choosing the Right Circuit Breaker
Energy-intensive appliances like electric ovens need plenty of power to operate. As such, they should be connected to a power source that can supply the amount of electricity they need.
Electric ovens run on 240 volts, so the wiring for these kitchen appliances differs from standard wiring. They also need a dedicated circuit with separate circuit breakers. The circuit breaker is a safety device that breaks the connection between the oven and the power supply in case of a power surge.
To choose the correct size breaker for your electric oven, take note of two critical factors:
- The current drawn by the oven
- The thickness and size of the wire that supplies the current.
If you live in an old house, where the existing wiring can support up to 40 amps of current, you can only operate a small oven because that’s all the power supply can handle. Large electric ovens need more than 40 amps. You’ll also have to use thicker wires that can withstand the higher current required by the appliance.
If the current exceeds the amps the breaker can support, the circuit will trip each time you turn on your oven. On the other hand, a breaker with a higher rating than the oven may not shut down when needed. That’s a safety risk as it could lead to overheating or even an electrical fire. That’s why it’s important to match the circuit breaker’s size to the oven’s amps rating.
How to Save Energy on Your Ovens?
Because ovens consume a lot of electricity, you may want to find ways to lower their energy usage. Here are some tactics you can employ to reduce the amount you’ll pay for using the said kitchen appliance.
Select the Correct Type of Oven
Using an oven that’s right for the task often helps save energy. For example, you won’t need a 2000-watt oven to heat some dishes. That’s a task an 800-watt microwave oven can handle with less energy consumption.
Regularly Clean the Oven
A dirty oven can hike your power bills. That’s because grease, dirt, and other impurities act as insulation. As a result, your appliance has to work harder because the heat it produces is absorbed by the greasy and sooty deposits. On the other hand, clean oven walls allow the heat to be reflected within the compartment, allowing it to cook the food faster.
Switch off the Power Supply
Any appliance or electronics that remain plugged in continue using electricity. So switch off your oven’s power supply once you’re done using it. The oven light, display, and other features keep using energy even when you turn off the oven. You’ll need to pull the plug to ensure that your appliance stops drawing power from the circuit.
Do not Over Preheat
Most recipes tell you to preheat the oven. However, it’s not always necessary to do so. Preheating is often required only for baked goods containing yeast. The yeast needs heat to make the dough light and fluffy. But for most dishes, preheating may just be a waste of electricity. If the recipe does require you to preheat the oven, 10 to 15 minutes will do the trick instead of the customary 30 minutes of preheating.
There’s an optimum temperature setting for an oven’s different functions. Baking cookies or cakes require more heat than thawing or heating your dishes. Determine the best temperature for each task, as using more heat than necessary will lead to higher electricity consumption. On the other hand, setting the temperature below the minimum requirement can lead to longer run times, which also increases energy usage.
Close the Doors
Keep the oven door closed when you’re cooking. Opening the door constantly to check on your food releases the heat inside the oven. As a result, your kitchen appliance will need to bring the temperature back to its original level, which drives up its energy consumption.
Prepare Multiple Dishes Simultaneously
Some ovens let you cook multiple dishes at once. In such instances, taking advantage of this convenience will help you lower your electricity costs. That’s because you’ll use the same amount of energy for cooking several dishes.
Use the Right Size of Pan for your Burner
Your choice of cooking equipment affects your appliance’s power usage. For example, putting a small pan on a big burner wastes electricity. According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, using a 6-inch pan on an 8-inch burner wastes 40% of the heat coming from the burner. Matching the pan’s size to the burner’s can help you save about $36 a year on electricity expenses.
What size wire do I need for an electric oven?
Wiring an electric oven is dependent on its size or energy consumption. The wire size needs to match the breaker, which, in turn, must match the oven’s current draw. Keep in mind that when it comes to wires, the higher the amp size of the appliance, the smaller the wire size you need to use. For example, a 10-gauge wire is the correct size for a 30 amps oven, while 40 amps one will require an 8-gauge wire.
Should a microwave be on its own breaker?
Any electrical appliance that demands plenty of power should have a dedicated circuit. A microwave is one such appliance. As such, it should have its own breaker for safe operation. If other devices are on the same circuit as a microwave, it could overload and trip the breaker.
Can an electric oven be plugged into a normal socket?
The answer depends on several factors. Before plugging your oven into a regular socket, you’ll need to determine the following. One, what is the socket’s capacity? Is it 13 amps or 15 amps? Two, what is your oven’s power requirement? You can’t plug an oven that needs 220 watts into a socket that can only provide 120 watts. Doing so will damage the socket and can be a fire hazard. And three, does the socket have a dedicated circuit? Appliances that have high power demands need a socket that can cope with the load placed on them.
Do ovens use a lot of power?
They do. On average, ovens consume around 2000 watts (2 kW) per hour. Depending on the electricity rates in your area, you’ll pay about 30 cents an hour to use your oven.
How many amps does an electric oven use? That depends on the type of oven you use. Some may use 20 amps, others 60 amps. You’ll need to know what you need the oven for to pick the right size and type. Being power-hungry appliances, they also require a dedicated circuit and the proper wire gauge for safe operation.
You don’t have to stop using your oven if you’re conscious of your energy usage. Despite their high power demand, there are ways to reduce your oven’s operating costs. Using those techniques, you can lower your electricity expenses while still being able to cook tasty dishes and desserts.