When I tell people about my sous vide cooking, one of the comments that I get is that it is going to really run up my electric bill. Of course, this is when I usually look over at that 220 volt stove and think how much that thing uses. My Anova WiFi 900 watt model has been operating for 12 continuous hours at 135º F in a Coleman Stacker 24 Can Cooler. In those 12.2 hours of run time it has used 0.94 kWh of electricity. My electric company is currently charging me 10.61¢ per kWh therefore, I’ve spent about a dime on electricity for 12 hours of cooking.
I am planning to redo this experiment using the Anova WiFi in a regular container on the countertop to see how much electrical use a cooler saves when WiFi cooking. Anyone think it will be double?
What questions do you get asked by people who know nothing about our cooking method?
The answer lies entirely in the variables. How big is the container? How well is it insulated? What is the water temperature? What is the ambient temperature around the container?
The less insulated the container is, the longer the heating element will need to run to maintain the temperature. The greater the difference between the water temp and the ambient temp, the longer the heating element will need to run to maintain. The greater the surface area of the container, the more heat will be lost to ambient… Get the idea?
While I do appreciate your desire to find out, and am interested in the results, there are far too many variables to call any measurement a hard and fast rule for any situation other than your own.
While insulation and rates vary I think you can look at order of magnitude. While a 12 hour cook may cost someone a dime the next a quarter but it isn’t going to be $12 for 12 hours. At the end of the day it is an inexpensive way to cook. Also a great many of the recipes are only an hour or two.
Using the Coleman Stacker Cooler is indeed a very energy efficient way to cook using our Anova Precision Cookers. I’ve hit 20.9 hours today and used 1.6 kWh of electricity. I admit that I’m a nerd. I love numbers and live by the creed that if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Rich is right, there are many variables that will change the amount that it costs to cook a brisket for 48 hours. John is right that the difference will be negligible. The biggest take away that I got from this experiment was that just because it is a cooking device and it is plugged in for days on end, doesn’t mean that the electric meter is spinning off the pole.
I bought my cooler to be able to do ice baths until I was ready to actually cook my meal on work days. The fact that it saves me electricity is just a bonus. The bigger plus will be that my Anova doesn’t have to work as hard to maintain temp.
A Splendid & Efficient Anova Setup
I have purchased two Coleman Excursion coolers, 9 L and 16 L respectively. I use the 9 L for a few steaks, pork chops, chicken breasts and vegetables and the 16 L for bigger roasts or more pouches. Worrying about electricity cost is not a factor in my case. I was obviously more concerned by volume and dimensions of coolers than operations cost of what is equivalent to a 20~40W light bulb. I use ping-pong balls to keep water evaporation to a minimum during long cooking sessions (6 ~ 36 hours). The price of 150 ping-pong balls is very cheap on AliExpress. No need to cut holes in lids, so coolers can still be used as… well, coolers AND cooking vessels. So far, I’ve never had to add water during long sessions.
I also use the wonderful stainless steel VARIERA accordion rack from IKEA (product code # 701.548.00) to keep my sealed pouches from swimming around. The rack is adjustable and fits both coolers (even bigger models) perfectly. You can unscrew and remove the dividing rods if need be to accommodate extra large pieces of food or whatever else you’re cooking. I am totally satisfied with my setup which I find extremely efficient. Sorry to say that worrying about the Anova’s electricity bill and drilling holes in cooler lids are not my cup of tea. I see it as an exercise in futility, a total waste of time and money aside from wasting cooler lids. This comment is not meant to offend anyone. Just my 2¢ bit.
I was testing the electricity use to learn. Several people have commented that a 900 watt cooking appliance running for two or three days is going to run up my electric bill. Since I have a couple of TP-Link HS110 plugs that measure electrical usage, I tested it.
Sous vide balls will help keep some of the heat in but do not compare to a top. The purpose of the top is not just to keep water from evaporating but to make it easier for our devices to hold temperature. I use my Anova WiFi and MySousVide MY101 four to five times a week. This is a lot of usage.
I did order the Variera Accordion Rack from IKEA. It’s actually a pot lid organizer. Thanks for the tip.