A common misperception is that it is expensive to operate a food dehydrator because of the electricity used by the unit. This is not true, even though dehydrators use electricity to operate their heating system and fans for longer periods of time, sometimes up to twelve and eighteen hours.
Food dehydrators are used to dry various foods by eliminating the water within the food. The water content of food is very high, typically between 80% to 95% for various fruits and vegetables and 50% to 75% for different meats. In order to minimize dehydration time, best dehydration practices to follow include slicing food into 1/4 inch or less strips and evenly spreading the food throughout the unit's trays in order to maximize the amount of the food's surface that is exposed to the unit's heat and air flow.
However, even following best dehydration practices, a food drying process can take multiple hours. One temptation is to try and speed up the drying time by increasing the dehydrating temperature. This is not recommended and can result in case hardened food; that is, food that is dried and hard on the outside but moist and containing water on the inside. Case hardened food will spoil due to microbial growth.
So what do typical dehydrators cost to operate? Obviously the costs depend on the state and local area that you live in, however, within the U.S., on average, running a 750 watt dehydrator for one hour would cost about 8 cents. Cost per state, per hour, for the same 750 watt dehydrator varies from about 5 cents on the low end in North Dakota to almost 22 cents in Hawaii.
A typical dehydrator may dry food for twelve hours. Assuming a dehydrator user lives in the state of California, a food dehydrator calculator can be used to estimate electricity costs required to run a 750 watt food dehydrator for those 12 hours. In this case, the electricity cost would be about $1.21. In fact, most food drying units power on and off during the drying cycle so this would be a maximum electricity cost.
Published 8/21/2009 12:00:00 AM