Electric Induction stove for cooking

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peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,399
Northern NH
I try to do electrical reduction projects when I can. The last project a couple of year ago was swapping to a new toilet to reduce water usage. I didnt formally measure it but it looks like it did appear to reduce electrical usage due to much less water usage (the trade off is the need for occasional double flushes and more frequent cleaning). The latest project is a single element induction cooktop. My motley collection of cookwear is mostly induction friendly (it only works on cookware that a magnet will stick to) so I just pulled the knobs off of two of my standard resistance burners on my cooktop and set the induction burner on top of my cooktop. If this works out I may just unplug the calrods. My stove is functional but not pretty and with little bit of metalwork I could cut out two calrod burners and replace them with one induction burner that sits relatively flush with the cooktop. The induction unit has fan to keep things cool and an overheat switch so I am unsure how it would like being recessed in a stove top. The burner senses the cookware diameter so a single induction burner can serve many of the purposes of different size resistance burners. I dont think I ever used more than 3 burners at one since I have owned a stove.

Induction burners are known to be the most efficient method of cooking outside of microwaving (which has distinct limitations). A single element device is a lot less expensive than a dedicated cooktop. I picked up a basic unit for $80. So far I am impressed, the cookware heats up far quicker than electric. The induction element is pulsed on and off so when simmering I can see some pulsing as the simmering varies a bit. it doesnt bother me but expect a fine cook may object. I basically boil, steam and fry basic food so it works for me. I will give it a try and maybe I can justify an entire induction cooktop if and when I buy a new range. Most of the focus with energy efficiency is to downplay fossil cooking, my guess is natural gas and propane will increase in cost with some sort of carbon taxes and efficient electric appliances will be encouraged as the grid goes green.

I expect big battery charging is in my future. My new Ebike will not get used a lot but expect a hybrid car will kill my surplus generation. Adding to my PV capacity is problematical as my existing arrays on my house are grandfathered from rapid shutdown rules and I really do not want to have to abandon functioning string inverters to add RSD capability. This may be academic if I build new house but I like to trial new technology when I can if its affordable.
 
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Brian26

Minister of Fire
Sep 20, 2013
604
Branford, CT
I bought one of the single plug in induction stove tops to try out as well. I was impressed and ended up installing a 4 burner induction cook top. I read they are 85-90% efficient where most electric and gas are only 40-50% efficient. I definitely saw a noticeable decrease in electric consumption.
 

semipro

Minister of Fire
Jan 12, 2009
4,039
SW Virginia
An induction stovetop has been on my radar for a while. We only buy compatible cookware and are just waiting until a kitchen remodel.
One thing to consider though is RFI. These things seem to emit quite a bit, so much so that you can't cook with one if you have a pacemaker.
My father has a pacemaker though so I'd have to keep him away from the induction stove as well as my solar PV inverter which apparently can also be a problem.
 
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mar13

Feeling the Heat
Nov 5, 2018
441
California redwood coast
We have a small induction cook top which we take with us camping when the campground/basic cabin/yurt will have electricity. Easier than a Coleman propane stove and quicker.

I have a smooth top electric cooktop stove at home. I've been thinking of induction as its eventual replacement. One thing I'd hate to discover, after the fact, is that it'd mess up wireless wifi in the kitchen. I'm not sure how to figure that out beforehand.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,399
Northern NH
The scary part with a induction cooktop is its fairly expensive to replace. I think its tempered glass and quite tough but my suspicion is its an all one unit with integrated electronics. Both the induction and integrated resistance flat cooktops have reputation of being a bit fragile.
 

mar13

Feeling the Heat
Nov 5, 2018
441
California redwood coast
Yes, I think I recall hearing something similar about reliability - a friend had issue with their induction cook top. Our smooth top range will probably go on forever. I have a hard time replacing something that works with something new just to save an unknown amount of energy.
 

Woodspliter

Member
Jan 25, 2020
131
Maine
Yeah I agree, I like my gas range. I fill up one 200 pounder a yeah running the stove top and my gas fireplace and they have next to no maintenance and work during a power outage
 
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ben94122

Burning Hunk
Sep 4, 2017
133
California
We have had an induction range for 3 years, and love it. Speedy, efficient, and no propane on the property (except for BBQ and camping stove). When we moved from the last rental, I checked the heat times vs the propane "power burner" in the rental. Induction was 1/3 the time to boil the same big pot of water from the same initial temperature at the same elevation. Love that it can be wiped clean, love that I can pick a setting without having to look under the pot to gauge the flame, and love that I'm not going to explode the basement with propane.

My brother fried the electronic controls in his induction range during a power surge, so he recommends installing a whole-house surge protector. I have yet to look into that, but it's on the list!
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,079
Downeast Maine
Could you get by with plugging just the induction cooker into a surge protector? Would a one or two "eye" induction cooktop need a whole house surge protector?
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
1,004
SE North Carolina
Could you get by with plugging just the induction cooker into a surge protector? Would a one or two "eye" induction cooktop need a whole house surge protector?
Most of the built I cook tops I have seen are 220V. My dad is on his third controller board for his freestanding oven/range. Stove is 7 or 8 years old. None of them were damaged by electric surges.

Portable 110v cooktops could easily be protected by a regular plug in surge protection.

Whole house surge protection is the only way to protect hardwired appliances. Just found this on Amazon. Probably worth it a new controller board was 600$
Progressive Industries SSP50X 50 Amps Surge Protector (240V/50A),Black Amazon product
 
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Alpine1

Feeling the Heat
Apr 27, 2017
389
Eastern Alps, Italy
We installed an induction cooktop with 4 “burners” in 2017 when we renovated the whole house and couldn’t be happier. Of course, during winter we use our wood cooker for the most of our cooking. The only downside we found was we had to buy a few more pots and pans since most of our old cookware wasn’t suited for induction.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
88,835
South Puget Sound, WA
We have a variety of good-quality pots and pans. Not all are magnetic. Our kitchen has a propane cooktop that I put in soon after we moved into the house. This is extended power outage insurance. Amazingly it has been repair free for 26 yrs.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,399
Northern NH
My standard comments on suppressors. There are industrial and commercial surge suppressors that are built to meet specific specs and usually specified by a professional engineer. They are designed for very specific purposes and loads. Household surge suppressors can be pretty generic and sold mostly on price. A surpressor is rated on how much power it can transfer to ground and the clamp voltage which is the point where the imcoming power is shunted to ground from the circuit. The ground also has to be good, preferably to the main house ground. Over the years many older homes have crappy grounds or the wiring gets dug up or cut. Household electrical wiring is generally rated for 600 volts max, Anything more than that and the insulation is inadequate and that is when wires can smoke, burn and melt. A cheap surge suppressor may clamp at just under 600 Volts. Consumer electronics can be far more sensitive to high voltage surges and they may not make it through a surge that clamped just under 600 volts. So the house does not burn down but some of the equipment plugged into it may not survive

If you are hit by a lighting strike, all bets are off but if there is a strike nearby, a surge suppressor may save your electronic equipment. The internal components that do the switching vary from cheap to expensive. The most common good quality component is a Metal Oxide Varistor (MOV). They work well but they wear out as they absorb surges. Solar system electronics have it hard with line surges as they can get it from the utility side or from the panel side. The belt and suspenders approach is a surge suppressor on the roof at the panels and one on the line from the load panel. i lost an inverter once from a utility line surge and had a brand name household surge suppressor. I had a couple of other items cooked but the house made it through. My neighbor had much more damage. I switched over to A Midnight Solar product that has a good reputation. Its called a Midnight Solar SPD. They sell a couple of voltage ratings and their clamp voltage is set lower. I now have one on my main panel and at my two solar arrays.