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Why You Should Stop Putting a Small Pot on a Large Burner

This common household habit might be costing you money. Here's how much.

A pot on a stovetop
Finding the right size pot or pan for your burner can save energy and money.
RapidEye/Getty Images

This story is part of Home Tips, CNET's collection of practical advice for getting the most out of your home, inside and out.

Winter is just around the corner, and Americans are dealing with rising inflation, still-high gas prices and now skyrocketing utility bills. With all of that going on, you might be looking for ways to cut down on your spending at home (including on your heating costs). Look no further than your stovetop. While using the stove probably seems foolproof, you might be missing a simple thing that can save you money on your electric bill over time: Matching your pot size to the burner size.

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Turns out putting a small pot on a large burner is probably costing you. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy found that putting a 6-inch pan on an 8-inch burner, for example, wastes over 40% of the heat created by the burner. Using the right size pot or pan can actually save you around $36 a year if you use an electric range and $18 a year for a gas range.

Another cooking tip that can save you money: If you keep a lid on your pans while cooking, you can set a lower temperature on your stove, and can decrease your energy use by up to 66%

So the next time you shop for pots and pans (check out our picks for the best cookware sets, the best stainless steel skillets and the best Dutch ovens), make sure you buy them in sizes that correspond with your burner sizes. Until then, try to match your pot size to burner size as closely as possible.

For more ways to save money at home, check out how much you can save by unplugging your unused appliances, shopping online instead of at the grocery store and buying meal kits instead of groceries