20 December 2008

The benefits of induction cooking have been available for years, but have not caught on in the United States as in Europe where sales equal those of radiant cooktops. Induction Cooktops is more expensive than conventional gas cooktops or smoothtop electric cooktops, but in general it performs better and is said to be the safest, fast and most energy-efficient way to cook. The safety factor is a result of the induction technology.

How does This Induction Cooktops works?
Induction does not use a heating element. Instead the heat is generated by magnetism in the induction device below a smooth glass cooktop and is transferred directly to the pan, which actually becomes the heating element. It won’t start unless you place an iron-based pan on top, and will automatically switch off when the pan is removed. It powers up fast, and you can adjust the heat setting instantly and with greater precision than an electric stove. The cooktop surface never reaches the extreme temperatures as does an under-glass heating element, an electric coil, or a flame. The result is safe, efficient heating.

An induction cooktop holds a series of burners called induction coils, which are based on magnetic principals. These coils generate magnetic fields that induct a warming reaction in steel-based pots or pans; it is the cooking vessels themselves that heat the food, not the stove elements. Because of this form of heat generation, the cooktops may feel slightly warm to the touch after they are turned off, but they remain relatively cool - and thus much safer.

An additional expense can arise if you need to replace your current cookware. Induction cooktops only induct energy into ferrous metal-based pots and pans. If you are currently using cast iron, steel-plated or certain types of stainless steel pans, you should be able to continue to use the cookware you already own. However, you cannot cook with such materials as copper, aluminum, or glass. Some makes of stainless steel pots and pans are conducive to cooking on an induction cooktop while others are not.

Installation
Magnetic induction cooktops are available in 120 and 240 volt models. Manufacturer’s specifications will detail cabinet clearances that are required.

The Benefits of Induction Cooktops
  1. Induction cooking is 85-90% more energy efficient than conventional gas or electric cooktops and they use approximately half the energy of gas-sourced models.
  2. You also save time. Water boils 3 times faster compared to other electric cooktops.
  3. Because of the reduced cooking time, the energy savings can be substantial.
  4. You have much more control as temperature changes are instantaneous.
  5. Because the cooktop never reaches high temperatures, spills won’t burn and always wipe up easily.
  6. Unlike a traditional gas stove, it has a smooth, flat, easy to clean surface, that heats evenly, so you don’t get “hot spots”.
  7. There are no nooks and crannies where food particles or spillovers can collect.
  8. The surrounding area always stays cool, so it makes for a cooler kitchen, and a safety plus for families with young kids who like to poke their fingers everywhere.
  9. Units are available in traditional sizes, so they can be fit into custom kitchens with the same ease as traditional electric cooktops.
  10. Induction cookers also make your kitchen look more modern and stylish.
Electrolux has been selling induction cooktops in Europe for years. The Electrolux ICON™ brand offers an induction cooktop with precision touch controls, cook surface sensors that detect the presence of a pan, a “keep warm” setting, and control lock out. It is available in a four-burner 30” model or a five-burner 36” model.

Cost

Initial Cost Greater than comparable products
A magnetic induction cooktop costs three to four times more than an electric cook top. A magnetic induction cooktop with four elements ranges in price from $1800 to $4000, dependent upon the manufacturer and features.

Operational Cost Less than comparable products
Cooking with magnetic induction is 90 percent efficient, as compared to resistance electric at approximately 65-percent efficiency, and open-flamed gas which measures in the 55-percent efficiency range. Magnetic induction cooktops also feature sensors that adjust the energy setting to the pot size and a broader range of settings than traditional cooktops.

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