Small appliances?

nu2solarnu2solar Solar Expert Posts: 28
What are the best microwaves(used only for heating up) and toasters:blush:?
We need the most energy efficient with no extra gadgets.

We will have a gas oven so I don't need a convection oven.

Thanks again,
Lisa

Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,204 admin
    Re: Small appliances?

    Microwave ovens... Probably just pick the cheapest one with the options you want... If you are off grid, a small (800 watt) 120 VAC oven is probably still a better deal than looking for a "12 VDC" oven.

    Microwave ovens are usually not much better than 50% efficient (Power to Microwave conversion)... Still not a bad way to heat food as one only needs to run them a short time to heat the food (and not the rest of the oven/metal/containers).

    We purchased a small counter top oven + convection + toaster oven for our home... I don't think it is particularly efficient at making toast (compared to a dedicated toaster)--but it makes up for it as a pretty good convection oven (Cuisinart convection / toaster oven from Costco) for when we don't want to fire up the gas/convection main oven in our stove (heats the house much less--so much nicer at keeping the house cool).

    Personally, I like this oven because it has an electronic timer--every other toaster oven had a very loud clicking timer that drove me nuts. I use the electric timer for everything so that the oven does not get left on any longer than needed--even if we forget it while elsewhere in the house.

    If you use air conditioning, using a small convection oven will probably save you energy (and money) overall vs using a large gas oven (when cooking anything that would fit in the small oven) during the cooling season.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • PhilSPhilS Solar Expert Posts: 370 ✭✭✭
    Re: Small appliances?

    More important is the inverter that will power the microwave. It should be pure sine wave, as microwaves have diminished performance with MSW.

    If you want that inverter to go into "search mode" you'll need a microwave that is 'old style', that is: dial timer, no digital anything. Those are getting harder to find these days. We had been looking to replace ours and had no luck finding one without digital readout.

    My DW has complained about the performance of our microwave for years (it's visible on top of the friges in my post to your refrigerator thread). The performance improved recently when we replaced the Xantrex SW2500 (56 step waveform?) with a Magnum (pure sine wave). I didn't expect that.

    And now that we've got the new inverter, I don't allow it to go into search mode because of the fridge (the fridge stays off until the inverter comes out of search... whether it's 5 minutes or 5 days... and then immediately goes into defrost mode - 300 watts). I expected that, so low standby (not search) power consumption was a reason I got the Magnum inverter.

    So NOW we can get a new microwave with digital readout and other bells/whistles, but NOW we don't need to.

    We use a regular toaster. They are 1500w but don't run for many hours per day. Better for energy consumption is one of the camping toasters that sits over a range burner.... NO electricity.

    For reference we have about 2100 watts of panels feeding into a 1320ah bank and only need to run our propane gen on rainy/cloudy days for an hour or two. We mostly have clear days here and even with the new fridge load and DW staying home, we're still getting a couple of hours of float time every day.

    Phil
  • lamplightlamplight Solar Expert Posts: 368 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Small appliances?

    checkout the panasonic inverter microwave ovens we discussed here once upon a time. they use true power stepping levels.. might be able to find the discussion here if you search or elsewhere.
  • SolarJohnSolarJohn Solar Expert Posts: 202 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Small appliances?

    What's the most energy-efficient toaster?

    Take a loaf of bread and a Kill-A-Watt meter to the department store for some tests. I'm kidding of course, but maybe you can do some tests at the homes of friends and relatives.

    My two-slice toaster measures 840-watts, significantly less than PhilS's toaster. This is important to me, since my inverter is rated at 1100-watts continuous. I suspect that the least expensive toasters will tend to use the least power.

    You might find a small microwave with a mechanical timer at a garage sale or flea market. I have such a microwave, and I use it when the grid power fails. It measures about 1000-watts, so it works well with my inverter.

    I also bought the smallest window air conditioner I could find. It runs at 5 amps (120-volts). My thinking is that I would want to have the ability to cool a small room with my PV system in the event of a grid-power failure. (And yes, I know that this is not the best way to cool a room).

    John
  • lamplightlamplight Solar Expert Posts: 368 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Small appliances?

    I did this and it works! i had to get a pure sine wave UPS to handle the sag when first powering it on. My office uses about 170w including sound/phone/pc. with only a 600w inverter and only 525w of offgrid PV its tough but possible to do the small window AC unit (but not the office also) - it does keep a couple rooms manageable though!
    SolarJohn wrote: »
    I also bought the smallest window air conditioner I could find. It runs at 5 amps (120-volts). My thinking is that I would want to have the ability to cool a small room with my PV system in the event of a grid-power failure. (And yes, I know that this is not the best way to cool a room).

    John
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