The kitchen is often the place where family and friends gather, especially for meals. Kitchen ranges (the unit combination of the cook top and the oven) account for about 11 per cent of the electrical consumption in a typical Alberta home. At ATCO EnergySense, we can help you choose the right range for your needs. Here are some of the most common questions we are asked about kitchen ranges.
There are two types of ranges: electric and natural gas.
Electric ranges include flat surface, coil and induction cook tops. Induction cook tops are the most efficient electric ranges, while those with flat surface cook tops tend to be the least efficient.
Natural gas ranges may be marginally more expensive to buy, but they cost significantly less to operate than electric. As well, many people prefer natural gas ranges because they offer precise temperature control and instant availability of heat compared to some electric cook tops.
Dual fuel models are also available which include a natural gas cook top and an electric oven.
The table below compares the operating cost of natural gas and electric ranges.
Natural Gas vs. Electric Ranges: Operating Costs and Energy Use
Assumes $6/gigajoule (GJ) and $0.11/kilowatt hours (kWh)
Because kitchen ranges, whether they are natural gas or electric, come in a variety of styles and have a variety of features, it can be challenging to compare models and decide which one best suits your needs. Here are a few tips to help you make the right decision.
• If you are buying an electric range, check the EnerGuide label, which indicates the annual amount of electricity the unit uses. The lower the EnerGuide number, the more efficient the range.
• Consider not only the upfront cost of a range but also the operating costs over the life of the appliance.
• A gas range requires a gas line and an approved connection. Contact a qualified plumber or gas fitter for a cost estimate.
• When selecting a range hood, ensure it is properly sized and ENERGY STAR® rated.
In recent years, ranges have become more energy efficient because of innovations such as improved design, additional insulation and better gaskets and hinges that create tighter fitting oven doors. However, like other major appliances in your home, the range consumes a significant amount of energy. By following these energy efficiency tips, you can save energy when cooking meals.
• Ensure the food you prepare on the range has been fully thawed. This will reduce cooking time and save energy.
• Reduce the number of times you open the oven door while cooking. Approximately 20 per cent of the heat inside the oven is lost each time the door is opened.
• Use a pan that is the same size as the heating element.
• Use flat-bottomed pans that make full contact with the element. A warped or rounded pan will waste most of the heat coming off the element.
• Use a lid, when possible, to speed up cooking time.
• Cook or reheat meals in smaller appliances, such as a microwave, toaster oven or slow cooker. These use less energy than a range.
• Turn off the oven when a few minutes are left in the cooking time; the residual heat in the oven will finish cooking the food.
• A convection oven is more energy efficient and will cook food faster.
• When the self-cleaning function for the oven is required, activate it immediately after regular cooking while the oven is still hot. The range will use less energy to reach the cleaning temperature.
• Ensure the oven door is tightly sealed and the hinges are operating properly. You can do this by closing the oven door on a piece of paper and then trying to pull it out. The paper should remain snugly in place. Consider replacing the oven door seals if the paper slips out easily.
• If you’re considering a flat, glass-top range, look for one with a feature that indicates when the cooking surface is hot.
• If you have young children, choose a range that does not have controls on the front of the unit where they can be easily reached.
• Ensure the range hood exhaust fans are properly maintained and are vented to the outdoors.
For additional household energy-saving tips, visit our Energy Fact Sheets section.
An electric range costs almost five times as much to operate compared to a natural gas range.
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