Q and A’s – All about induction.

With the rise in popularity of Induction ranges and cooktops, my teammates and I are getting many more questions from our customers about induction appliances and induction cooking in general. This makes sense because induction is relatively new to the American appliance market and when you think about it, induction is cooking with magnets; how does that even work?

Which brings us to our first question:

Q: How do induction burners work?

A: Induction cooking is performed by electro magnets that excite the atoms in the iron inside your pots and pans. When the atoms get excited, friction is created and a bunch of heat is generated really fast! Like super fast! Like, “Holy cow! My ramen is already done!” fast. You can read more of an in depth explanation as to how exactly induction works by reading our blog called “Why Induction Cooking is Simply Better.”

Q: I have heard that I will have to throw away all my cookware and get new stuff? Is that true?

A: Not entirely, no. Since Induction cooktops work using magnets, your cookware will need to be comprised of some type of magnetic material like cast iron, rolled steel or most types of stainless steel. There are two ways to be sure that your cookware will work on your new induction cooking surface:

  1. If a magnet is attracted to the base of your pan, you are all good to go!
  2. You can also look at the bottom of your pan for the induction icon (shown below). If that is present, your cookware can be used!

Almost all cast aluminum cookware (Analon, Circulon etc.) will not be able to be used. However, I have seen some newer cast aluminum cookware that has a stainless steel plate in the base that makes this useful on flat surfaces and also, it is magnetic, so it is able to be used on an induction range or cooktop!

We also hear this question a lot. It makes sense and does give you a guide to how the induction cooking surface works.

Q:  How long does it take to boil a pot of water? I heard it was a minute!

A:  Well, you might not see a pot of water boiling in a minute, but it is going to be close. Now, as I am writing this, I thought, hey! There is an induction range right there next to my workspace on the showroom floor! Let’s try this out. So for my first water boiling test, I used a clad cookware (stainless steel on the outside and inside covering a layer of highly conductive aluminum) saucepan in a 1.5 quart size. I used 8 ounces cold water straight out of the tap and placed it on a Bosch induction range and hit the PowerBoost option. (Powerboost gives you an additional 50% heating power for shorter periods of time.) I hit the stopwatch when I hit the PowerBoost on my range. I hit stop when it came to a rolling boil. Guess what? One minute and nine-tenths seconds. So there you go! You can boil some water in a minute.

Let’s try a couple of more volumes. 16 ounces, so twice the amount of tap water in the same pan, after it was cool and the stove top was cool. This time, to get to a rolling boil, we were at one minute forty-five seconds. Not bad! Now, let’s try this in a real world situation. I will be using a 4 quart saucepan (same type of construction as before) with 64 ounces of water as if I was waiting for some water to boil to cook pasta or blanch some veggies. Now remember, the volume of water that you are boiling is going to be a large factor in how long it takes to boil water. Just like on any other cooktop. This time it took five minutes and twenty-two seconds with PowerBoost selected. I know I have waited much longer when I had a radiant top electric range for far less water.

Q: How do I know if the top of my induction range is hot?

A. A great question! For my specific range that I just used, I can look over and on the display panel on top, I can see an “h” on the burner that I used. This denotes that the burner is still hot to the touch and not to place anything on it.

Keep in mind your specific range will have a similar, but likely different, way to let you know which burner was recently active and remains hot.

Q:  If I leave an induction burner on, will I burn down my house?

A:  Maybe? As with any cooking surface, great care should be taken to ensure safety. No cooking surface is completely safe. However, there are many induction ranges that will either turn off after they reach a certain surface temperature, or that are wi-fi connected so that you can check in on them when you are away from home. Induction cooking is no different from any other cooking surface in the sense that it can burn your food or your cookware. Please see your owners manual to see what safety features your specific range or cooktop employs.

Q. Will I need to have a different electrical outlet installed in my kitchen?

A:  As long as you are replacing an electric range, chances are that you are going to be ok. Just know that an induction range or cooktop will need between 40-50 amps in order to work properly. Just make sure to check before you commit to a new range. That is something that can be easily changed by a certified electrician, but will end up adding more costs to your overall purchase.

Q: How do I clean an induction cooking surface? Is it like cleaning a radiant top range?

A: It is, but better! It is super easy to clean the ceramic glass surface of your induction range or cooktop. First, you wipe up whatever you can from the surface. Then you can use a damp paper towel or clean cloth to wipe up any spills. From there you can use either a cream style ceramic top cleaner and rub that it and wipe with a clean dry cloth, or you can use a spray style cleaner and wipe down until it is clean. The surface of an induction range or cooktop will not get as hot as a radiant top would, so the chances of having hard to clean, burnt on spots are very rare. We have an induction range at home and I can say that after having my range for about two years now, it is still very clean and I am a very messy cook!

Q. How much is an induction range or cooktop?

A:  This is a hard question to answer as there are a lot of options out there. I would say that induction can start as low as $800 and only go up from there depending on what features and size that you need. Which leads us into our Introduction to Induction choosing tool. We have created this tool with our customer in mind. Whether you know a little or a lot about induction cooking, this will help you choose the right option for you. You can view the tool on our website here.

You can find your perfect induction range or cooktop through our induction shopping tool or by connecting with one of our Seattle showroom based Appliance Specialists.  We want to make sure that all of your questions are answered and we are eager for you to be confidently cooking on your new induction cooking surface!

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