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(xp) energy efficiency of vintage stoves/ovens?

Is the title of my post a paradox? :)

We bought a little 1940 tract home 5 months ago, and adore its war era charm.

The vintage GE stove/oven that came with the house needs repairs, and I don't much like cooking with electric anyway, so we're thinking of trading in or selling the stove we have now for a different vintage (gas) stove.

Question is, we are sensitive to environmental issues and energy efficiency (2 Prius household, enough said? ;) so, can you tell me, are vintage stoves/ovens terribly energy inefficient?

I would guess that new models of ovens are much more efficient, in terms of insulation and such. Can you help inform our decision?

Thank you!

Re: (xp) energy efficiency of vintage stoves/ovens?

  • We replaced our 60s vintage range 6 months ago.  While I can cook meals significantly faster on my new stovetop, and the kitchen doesn't heat up when I use the oven (which actually works!), I highly doubt the energy savings is anything beyond minimal.  There aren't any energy star rated ranges.

    If you were able to find a second-hand range that suits your needs, I bet that would be better for the environment overall than buying new.  In my experience, the thing you have to watch out for in the older ovens is uneven baking and improperly functioning temperature settings.

  • We bought a 1930s Westwood and had it rehabbed for our 1907 house.  I love this thing!  I don't see how the stovetop could be any less efficient (pot over flame, really they're all the same).  The oven is a good bit smaller (still big enough for a cookie sheet), so it heats up very fast.  It probably loses a bit more heat than a new oven (it gets pretty hot on the outside), but the guy who rehabbed it for us did add in some insulation.  Plus, the whole thing is cast iron, so it holds onto heat really well. 

    I haven't notice any difference in our gas bills when compared to our newish, plain vanilla oven, which we sold on Craigslist.  

    The 40s/50s stoves are a pretty hot commodity right now in CA (20s/30s are sort of out at the moment, but are in from time to time), according to our rehabber.  It might be kind of pricey, but I also think a lot more rehabbers are doing that vintage right now.  At least that was our experience when looking.  There were some pretty kick-a$$ 50s stoves out there.  One had a periscope-type thing on the top so that you could see the food cooking without opening it (it didn't have glass on the front).   

    ETA: If you buy a rehabbed version, the rehabber should calibrate the oven temp for you.  Also, on ours, there's a little screw he showed us that we can use to calibrate it if it ever gets out of whack.  I love that these things are infinitely repairable.  Not like a lot of high-tech gadgets.

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