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After visiting an appliance show room, and testing out both gas and induction cooktops, I decided on induction. After that, I began researching models and brands.  Naturally, the type of cooktop chosen depends on your circumstances and whether you are replacing something already there or building out a new kitchen and can design around your choice.

Our kitchen was remodeled in 2012 and we already had a 30 inch electric smooth surface cooktop in place with granite countertops.  This definitely affected the decision making process and after reading many reviews, I eventually decided on the Frigidaire 30 inch induction cooktop (FGIC3067MB).

Induction cooktops are also ceramic smooth surfaces but the technology is different.  Induction cooktops work via electromagnetic fields that transfer energy directly to the pot.  There are a bunch of pros to this type of stove:

  • Compared to electric stoves, the temperature adjustment is extremely responsive.  With electric cooktops the heat adjustments respond gradually, whereas with gas, temperature adjustments are instantaneous. Induction cooktops are just as responsive as gas.
  • They run on electricity. Every kitchen (and home) is not equipped with  a gas line but pretty much every home in the modernized world is equipped with electricity.
  • Reduced radiant heat in the room.   Both gas and electric stoves not only heat up the pots and pans, but they also heat up the kitchen.  Induction stoves produce heat only in the cooking vessel.  That means that the stove top itself is not heated up as much as either gas or electric which leads to the next pro…
  • Easier to clean.  Because the surface does not get as hot as an electric smooth surface cooktop,  the surface of induction stoves do not get that inevitable food ‘varnish’ where food or liquids are burned onto the stovetop during the cooking process.  In fact, the first thing I cooked on my new cooktop was bacon.  I covered the cooktop with paper towels before cooking and then just picked up the paper towels afterwards.   The paper towels don’t burn! You could also use newspaper to protect from splatters.

  • Safety. A friend told me of a woman who had a seizure while standing over her stove which resulted in severe facial burns.  If a pot is removed from an induction stove, the heat transfer stops and the stove will shut off. This is a nice safety feature for small children, older people, or even the clumsy (that’s me!). Additionally, there are no gas related medical issues to deal with.  I read several studies that indicate gas stovetops are not good for asthmatics (that’s me too!)

And naturally there are also a few cons to this type of cooktop as well.

  • You may need all new cookware.  In my case, none of my existing pots and pans worked on the new cooktop.   Induction stoves require ferrous pots and pans.  Some, not all, stainless steel pots will work, all cast iron pots will work,  aluminum generally does not work. It’s really easy to tell if your pots and pans will work on your induction cooktop:  does a magnet stick to the bottom of the pan?   If so, you are good to go.  If not, you will be in the same predicament I was in: on a quest for new cookware.  Do you use a wok often? Curved pots and pans without a flat surface also do not work on the induction cooktop.
  • Pacemaker.  If you have a pacemaker, you should consult with your cardiologist. Most studies show they are not affected but there could be some interference.
  • Cooking habits.   Are you a flipper?  I’m talking about flipping omelets or other food items.  If so,  an induction cooktop may not be for you because removing the pot from contact with the stovetop stops the heat transfer.   Additionally, if charring items (such as peppers) is a big part of your cooking repertoire,  that’s not possible with an induction cooktop.
  • Any color besides black is extremely rare.  I am one of the few who prefer white appliances and wanted a white cooktop but could only find one model (that was out of my price range) that offered an option in white.  So if you have a problem with black, this may not be the type of stove for you.

My observations:

  • Cooking time is reduced!   I was used to turning on the heat, putting the bacon in the pan and walking away for a few minutes before the bacon started to sizzle.   With induction,  I walked away for the same amount of time and the bacon burned!
  • Water boils faster on the induction stove (with power boost) than in my microwave, 15 seconds.
  • You have to get used to minor differences: timing,  as mentioned above, making sure the right size pot is placed on the right sized burner (if not, the burner will not heat) so there is a small learning curve when it comes to cooking on your new induction cooktop.
  • Most models seem to have the basic features: knobless, push button controls with burners that sense the cooking vessel. Certain manufacturers will have advanced features like one push button touch to go from high to low.   The model I chose has to be pressed each time to go from say level 5 to level 9. That’s six times total because there are half settings between 2-7.  You have to decide what features are absolutely necessary for you and this affects price.
  • The Frigidaire model I chose is made by Electrolux and has the same internal parts as Electrolux models. At the time I ordered it (Sept 2014) it was in high demand and delivery ran 4-6 weeks from order placement.
  • I picked up two induction ready pots the day I got it, one fry pan from Bed Bath & Beyond, and one 5 QT sauce pot from Marshall’s. I’m still shopping for replacement cookware but I’ve noticed they are readily available at most stores (Macy’s, TJ Maxx, Tuesday Morning, etc).
  • Installation was pretty simple.  We had an electrician come to remove the old cooktop and connect the 3 wires for the new one. It took about 30 minutes total.

We have had this cooktop for a few weeks and I am enjoying it so far.  I’m amazed at the timing differences  in cooking and with how responsive it is.   Now, I’m working on collecting the right set of pots and pans.
-J

P.S.  If you are interested in learning more, I have found the Induction Site to be extremely helpful!

 

All of this time,  our lovely range hood has been just that:  lovely decoration.   While it recirculated air through a filter, it didn’t actually do any more than that because it wasn’t vented to the outside.

I had learned to adjust my cooking habits to compensate for it though i.e. opening the window over the sink and using a pot cover whenever possible.   A few months back,  we finally fixed the situation and now the range hood sucks those cooking odors directly to the outdoors.

Here’s how it went down.

If you’re not going to do this job yourself, who do you even call to vent a range hood?  That was my first question. After asking around, I found out that HVAC professionals (heating & air conditioning) are the ones to call to do this job.

I initially thought it would be easy to just run the duct work over to the nearest exterior wall.

Because of the direction the joists in the ceiling run in, we weren’t able to go that route.   The guys consulted TJI floor joist codes, guidelines that specify where joists are allowed to be cut to maintain structural integrity.   We ended up having to go in a different direction so that the duct work went outside over the window above the sink.

Once that direction was decided,  they got to work drilling out a hole for the vent placement on the exterior wall.

They ran the foil duct from the outside hole through the ceiling to the location of the range hood and had to secure the hood back in place.

Here’s how the vent outside looks on the exterior wall.

This is how the ceiling looked when the HVAC guys finished reconnecting the hood and the vent was working perfectly.   This part took about 2 hours and they charged $200.

You can see we were left with gaping holes in our kitchen ceiling.   The drywall finisher came two days later.  He cut new pieces of drywall and installed them.  For the drywall mud, he used a quick drying material that allowed the texture to be applied within 30 minutes of installing the sheetrock.

He used a special tool on the end of a long pole to recreate the textured ceiling.   [The textured ceiling is not my favorite - but unfortunately it's not going to be changing soon]

The whole ceiling repair took about an hour and a half and cost $125.    Now, all that’s left to do is a fresh coat of paint for the newly repaired ceiling.

The painter (that’s me!) should really get on that now.
-J

To see more details on the range hood and the kitchen remodel see this post and this post.

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