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True Cost of Thanksgiving Dinner

Your Thanksgiving meal costs more than the turkey, potatoes, and green beans you buy from the store. It also costs money to prepare your menu.

What appliances will you need in order to store, prepare, bake, roast, and warm all of the items on your menu?

Some appliances use more energy than others to accomplish the same task. Appliances that are very energy efficient are labeled ENERGY STAR. As you are completing the activity below, make sure to mark which of your appliances are ENERGY STAR and which are not. Consider buying an ENERGY STAR appliance to replace older models as they wear out.

Family Activity

Make a list of every electrical appliance you will use to store, prepare, cook, and clean everything on your Thanksgiving table. Did you use a computer or phone to find recipes? Don’t forget to include those!

Step 1: Make a list of all appliances needed to make your Thanksgiving dinner.

Every machine that runs on electricity has an electric nameplate on it. The nameplate is usually a silver sticker and has information about the amount of electricity the machine uses.

If wattage is not listed, you can calculate the wattage using the following formula:

Power = current x voltage

Or put another way,

Watts = A x V

As an example,

Watts = 1.0A x 5V

This equals 5 watts.

Step 2: Next to your list of electrical appliances, fill in the wattage for each machine.

Using the information from your nameplate investigation in Step 1, calculate how much it costs to operate only the electrical appliances in your home to prepare your Thanksgiving meal. You will need to know the wattage, the cost of electricity, and the number of hours each appliance will be used.

Electricity is measured in kilowatt-hours, or energy used in a period of time. In order to measure your electricity, you will need to change the watts to kilowatts. One kilowatt is equal to 1,000 watts so for this next step you will divide the watts by 1,000.

As an example,

kW = 9,600 watts/1,000 would equal 9.6 kW.

Step 3: Convert your watts to kilowatts.

Use the average Pioneer single-phase, residential rate of $0.148 to figure out how much is costs to run each of your Thanksgiving appliances. The formula should look like this:

Thanksgiving Meal Cost = Hours Used x Kilowatts x Cost of electricity (kWh)

As an example,

Thanksgiving Meal Cost for an Oven = 10 hours x 9.6kW x $0.148 kWh

This would mean running your oven for 10 hours to prepare your Thanksgiving meal would cost $14.21.

Step 4: Calculate your Thanksgiving Meal Cost for all appliances and add them up for a total Thanksgiving Meal Cost.

Which of your dishes used the most electricity? Are there ways you can be more energy efficient by using a slow cooker or smaller appliance? Would an ENERGY STAR appliance save you money over time?

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