Heating Things Up with Induction Stoves
Have you heard of induction cooking but aren’t sure what it’s all about? If you’re not already looking for a new stovetop, you may be after reading this! Induction stoves offer excellent temperature control, are energy efficient, can lower your carbon footprint, and are safer than conventional stoves.
A traditional radiant electric stove uses an electrical resistance coil that indirectly heats cookware. The heating coil takes time to heat up and cool down, which makes temperature changes slow to react and temperature control imprecise, and the cooking surface stays hot for some time after the stove is turned off. An induction stove instead uses an electromagnetic coil, which does not itself become hot. Rather, when a piece of ferrous cookware is placed on an induction stove, the magnetic field from the coil creates an electric current in the cookware that produces heat. Essentially, induction cuts out the intermediate step of heating up a burner and then transferring the heat to the pot so induction stoves bring cookware to the desired temperature very quickly, and the temperature can be precisely controlled.
While induction stoves must be used with ferrous cookware, these are very commonly available and can also be used with conventional gas and electric stoves. Manufacturers have started labeling induction-compatible pots with a special symbol that looks like a coil. Cast iron, enameled cast iron, and many types of stainless-steel cookware are all induction compatible, but stainless steel poses the most confusion because it can be made with a great variety of metals. Many manufacturers have started adding a magnetic layer to the bottom of aluminum, copper, and glass cookware so that they will work on induction stoves. The easiest way to test a pan is to see whether a magnet clings to the underside. If so, the cookware will work on an induction cooktop.
Induction stoves are safer than both radiant electric and open flame gas stoves. The cooktop does not get hot so you (or your children) can touch it. Also, they are easy to clean as food cannot become baked on because the surface is cool, so cleaning can be as easy as wiping it down with a damp cloth.
The energy efficiency of gas stoves is typically only about 37%, since a lot of heat is wasted in heating the air around burners. Radiant electric stoves have energy efficiencies ranging from 67 – 70%, while induction stoves are the most energy efficient option at 75%. So, by switching to induction cooking, you will save energy and reduce carbon emissions! The cooking process is also more efficient with induction stoves, with the time to bring water to a boil about half that of gas and conventional electric stoves. So, why not give induction cooking a try?