According to the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Star rating system, convection ovens are the most-used appliances in professional kitchens. But more and more home cooks are discovering the advantages of convection cooking, such as shorter cooking times, more consistent internal temperature inside the oven cavity and more evenly cooked foods. If you are considering switching from a standard electric or gas oven to a convection oven, there are many important considerations to take into account that will assist your in making an informed decision as to whether a convection oven is the right choice for you.
Convection ovens tend to be much more expensive to purchase than traditional gas and electric ovens; for some, the cost difference can be prohibitive. A comprehensive review by Leonardo Energy of convection ovens available on the market found that the cheapest convection ovens started at $1,189 whereas traditional gas and electric ovens started at $699. Note also that $1,189 was the lowest price that the Leonardo Energy survey could find; most convection ovens are in the range of $1,500.
A claim of many convection oven manufacturers is that the extra upfront cost of purchasing a convection oven is recovered by the long-term energy savings that they can deliver. Convection ovens use a fan to pull in air from the oven cavity, heat it and distribute it back inside the oven cavity. Hot air that would otherwise simply vent out of other ovens are recovered in convection ovens and recycled to help cook the food. Additionally, convection ovens cook food fast and at a lower temperature than nonconvection ovens. Recent research by the Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings found that convection ovens do outperform electric ovens in terms of energy costs, but that nonconvection gas ovens are still the most energy efficient of all three types.
Additional Energy Cost Factors
The research compared the exact same dish cooked in three comparable ovens, a convection, a standard gas and a standard electric. The extent to which you will save money on energy costs by using a convection oven depends on a near-limitless number of variables that are specific to your situation. The Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings settled on an estimation of 5 cents energy savings per dish cooked in a convection oven, but this number will vary depending on what you are cooking, the cost of natural gas or electricity in your community, the condition of your convection oven and many other important factors.
Other Cost Considerations
New energy efficient convection ovens are being marketed in response to a greater concern over the energy efficiency of home appliances. Some states are even offering rebate programs for homes and businesses that purchase energy efficient convection ovens. The aforementioned research by the Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings focused on standard convection ovens, so investigate convection ovens that are marketed as energy efficient to see if they may save you more on energy costs. More energy efficient convection ovens and utility cost rebates could greatly affect your consideration of how much money you will save by switching to a convection oven.
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