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Home Forums General Discussion Is turning off the oven really good?

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  • #62635
    Oven Lover

    I posted this at another forum, but I thought the bright minds on this site might want to tackle this.

    My roommate and I disagree on this issue. I’m not sure I’m right, but he’s pretty sure I’m wrong. I think he thinks that because that’s what everyone else thinks.

    It occurs to me that, in the winter when we already have our gas furnace keeping the house at 65-68, it might be cost-neutral to keep our electric oven at 350 at all times.

    First, I do recognize that heating the entire house solely with the electric oven would likely be more expensive due to the fact that the electric heating element will not be as efficient as our gas furnace. However, the oven’s main power-drain stages are during pre-heating and actual cooking. A significantly lower amount of power is needed to simply maintain the internal temperature when it’s empty.

    Second, electricity is relatively inexpensive (and semi-green) in our area due to it being 95%+ provided by hydro-power sources. This makes the equation tip towards my favor far more than it would in an average American house that uses electricity from costlier sources.

    This leads me towards considering how to conduct an experiment that really finds out the truth.

    So far, I’ve decided that the actual wattage of the oven itself is irrelevant and near impossible to use as a means of deduction. It would be far better and accurate to attach a meter to the oven’s power cable and record the power draw on warm-up as well as the average draw during a few hours of empty heat maintenance. I figure a 2 hour sample will provide enough data to determine the average on a monthly basis since the conditions will remain constant all day on every day.

    The tough part is determining how much heat the oven adds to the overall temperature of the house, and therefore how much gas use it saves.

    This is the part where you tell me I’m an idiot and/or suggest some methods.

    Nick Rosen

    Blogs are always a main source of getting accurate information and provide you the handy results; you can get instant and reliable information which surely helps you in any field of your concern.


    Oven lover you have intuitively grasped the essence of the concept. However you omitted to mention a couple pf details. Were you planning to do this with the oven door open or closed? Where in the house is the oven located? Where in the house is the thermostat to the gas furnace?

    By design, an oven is intended to maintain the heat inside the oven cavity. The thermostat sensor is a capilliary tube mounted inside the oven. If the door is closed heat loss is only going to occur out through the small chimney vent tube usually located under one of the top burners.

    Once the oven cavity reaches the set temp the thermostat opens and power to the element is cut off. If the temp drops the power is turned on at full wattage for however many minutes is required to raise the temp back up to the set point.

    If the oven door is open, heat loss will be greater and the element will stay on longer. Any time it is on it draws the full current.

    Because you live in an area with low electricicty cost due to hydro-electric generation you may well find electric heat to be more economical than natural gas. The same is true in my area. We pay 7.5 – 8.0 cents per kilowatt and people who tried natural gas quickly found it more economical to use electric space heaters than running the gas furnace. Where we lived before we found the gas company charged us $30 per month to be connected even if we never used any gas. No such charge was levied by the electric utility company. They did charge some amount for infrastructure ( Wires and poles) but it was around $7 per month.

    Thermostat and oven locations will play a part. If the kitchen is far enough away from or isolated from the area served by the furnace thermostat then you will not see a reduction in gas consumption. but if the heat from the oven reaches the same space then the furnace will run less often and your gas consumption will decrease while your electricity bill will rise somewhat.

    I haven’t got the formula handy at the moment but you can convert the watts used into BTU and then compare that to how many BTU the furnace uses when it runs. Unfortunately the gas company measures use in terms of cubic meters so now you need to convert a cubic meter of gas into so many BTU per cubic meter. Then you will be able to calculate your savings if any.

    Not much has been published in the popular press about comparative efficiencies of various electric heater. This makes it harder to quantify results. Anecdotal reports I have heard suggest electric heating in my area where hydro power is available at low rates is less costly than gas heat. In areas where coal or natural fas fired power generators are used to create electricity this will not hold true.

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