Induction cooktop stoves heat twice as fast as a conventional hob, using half the current.
This page was last updated by Bernard Preston on 26th December, 2018.
There is a very strong correlation between electricity, magnetism and heating. You are, I'm sure, aware that your home is filled with copper wires carrying an alternating current that is used to drive your fridge motor, lights and a host of other gadgets.
You can't see it but, around each of those wires, is an invisible magnetic field.
You almost certainly played with bar magnets and iron filings during your high school days, so this is hopefully not entirely unknown territory.
I'm working up to something very important, so bear with me; and useful in your kitchen, especially if you are a busy person and need instant heat. If you are also committed to reducing your electrical bill, then tomorrow you'll rush out and buy one of these.
An induction stove uses less than half of the power of its conventional cousin; even more important, it heats extremely fast. You can literally boil an egg in half the time; now that has got you interested, I hope, even if these maps of magnetic fields hasn't.
Induction cooktop stoves use half the energy of a conventional electric hob too.
Much more interesting, and useful, is the magnetic field generated around straight wires carrying an electrical current, and even a solenoid like this. Now we have the potential to turn this magnetism into something useful in your home.
Electric currents produce magnetic fields that we can use; in a moment
we'll see that an alternating current, like that you have in your home,
is even more useful; it can be used to heat. If you're interested you can read more about at this electromagnetic induction page.
Can you see how this rod is glowing in the centre of the solenoid when early researchers passed an alternating current through a wire wrapped around the iron? Notice the cable is not actually touching the core metal. The electricity is not passing through that steel; it's the magnetic induction that is producing the heat.
Only in your home, it won't be a rod that's being heated; it's the base and sides of the pot that receive the energy directly from the alternating current.
Eddy currents in your steel pot, set up by the AC, generate heat immediately you switch on; you don't have to wait for the element to get hot, and then transfer that energy to the pan.
The base of the pot, in effect, is used as the heating element. That energy is then transferred to the contents of the the steel or caste iron container in the normal way.
Without wanting to become neurotic, much of the gadgetry in home and industry may in time turn out to be toxic to human beings; it took a long time for researchers to realise the affect of xrays and radiation; will we one day have to add microwave cooking to that list?
With magnetic induction stoves the heat is transferred to the pot, which then warms the contents.
Well, you may well be thinking, as I am, what does magnetic induction do to us? Could it too be toxic to humans; maybe, but we are already exposed to the fields produced by those conventional coils in your stove. And from all those other gadgets in your home.
Even the Earth has a magnetic field, and to our knowledge that hasn't affected humans adversely.
You could wear a lead apron in the kitchen if it bothers you.
So let's get directly to one of these induction cooktop stoves; there are full hobs using these principles but they are expensive; actually in 2018 I've just seen a Frigidaire hob for about $600 with four of these plates.
If a saving of more than half the electricity, and 64 percent of the time to get your dinner cooking, doesn't impress you, I'll be surprised.
Whether you're cooking green beans, boiling brown rice or frying an egg, it's all about a very nifty induction stove.
One thing that impresses me is that there are eight magnetic induction settings, from 200 watts up to 2kW.
Actually I would like to have a 100W setting; even the existing lowest value is a little fast for cooking your oats porridge for breakfast, for example.
On gas you have to carefully turn the dial right down in the wrong, and less safe direction; half the time it goes out. These portable induction stoves are so hassle free and, priced under one hundred dollars, should be on every shopping list. Get a 2000W unit if you can find one. Your pole beans will be boiling is seconds, and then you turn it down.
It also has a useful timer.
You shouldn't be using aluminium pots anyway; they have been implicated in Alzheimer's disease. But copper based pots won't work either with magnetic induction.
Make sure you clean the filter beneath your induction cooktop stoves regularly; a fan is used to cool the coil.
If you're a greenie and have built a solar powered generator, then of course these energy efficient induction cooktop stoves mean that you can cook during the day for free.
But even if you're using mains, you can probably bank on saving at least a dollar or two per day by using a portable induction stove like this.
The perfect option is a mixed gas and induction cooktop stove, but for that you'll have to wait. So will I; initially they will be expensive as manufacturing companies cash in on a new fashion. This isn't one that we'll change next year, though. Induction cooking is here to stay.
Solar power energy can drive any electrical device, especially those that draw little current like your induction cooktop stoves.
The time has really arrived when every one of us should be thinking of ways to use the energy from the sun.
It might be to charge your cellphone, or this small ten watt photovoltaic panel which I use to charge the small battery that powers our front gate. This has the advantage of not requiring a solar generator; so it's easy and safe to set up. Because it's only 12 volts we saved a huge amount by not needing an electrician to set up a high voltage line. You really could do this yourself; read more at residential solar panels; incidentally, depending on how often that gate opens and closes, and how much inclement weather you have, 10W is too small; choose rather 15 or 20W.
But to power your induction cooktop stoves you'll need 110 or 220 volts, alternating current; and a much bigger panel than this baby.
To go green is a step by step process; quite expensive upfront costs but knowing that you'll get it all back. Your portable induction stove will pay for itself in a few months; the speed and convenience of cooking is the real feature.
Start changing your fluorescent and incandescent lamps for extremely low energy Light Emitting Diodes. If you buy LED light bulbs you will literally reduce your lighting bill by 95%. I'm not exaggerating, but do your homework first; there are a few decisions to be made first.
The biggest user of energy in the home is the hot water geyser; it uses half of your electricity bill. To my mind, it's the very first step, but it's complex in very cold climates if you want to go solar; you'll need specialised help if you live in Chicago.
However, an induction geyser is a good option; half the power too, I would presume.
In a few months I'll do a page on an induction hot water geyser.
Useful linksBernard Preston » Day in the life of solar geek Bernard Preston » Induction Cooktop Stoves
Bernard Preston is a greenie, turned solar junkie. Whilst not choosing to go off the grid, because of the heavy cost of a large battery bank, or off the water mains, because of regular droughts in Southern Africa, he has successfully made every attempt to become large independent of the utilities; modern devices such as induction cooktop stoves simply make it easier.
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