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Going Induction: Please Help!

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    Going Induction: Please Help!

    Okay, gang, my wife put her foot down, hard, this week on the idea of replacing our ancient Jenn-Aire electric cooktop with a gas cooktop. The current one is a 30 inch with downdraft, and there's a largish (4 inches maybe?) duct going down through the slab for the fan to vent on an outside wall about 15 feet away. My plan was to bury a propane tank (I'm getting one anyway when the dream outdoor kitchen happens) just outside the spot where the vent is since we don't have access to natural gas. I wanted to fish a propane line through the vent duct and then put a smaller duct inside for venting the new cooktop. She has spent the last 28 years doing chemistry here at UF in very old buildings and just has too many horror stories on utility retrofits. This only got worse when she did a stint as associate dean with responsibility over several rehab building projects and now as chair of the department.

    The good news, though, is that she's all in on replacing the old cooktop with a new induction cooktop. I have to admit that I wasn't very familiar with induction cooking until starting to read up the last couple of days. Honestly, it's a better choice than propane. It's more energy efficient and it is just as fast, or even faster, in response times going both up or down on temperature.

    I've tentatively settled on the Frigidaire Professional Series 30 inch cooktop. I love that it has the feature of being able to combine two burners to control a griddle or very large pan. I also love that it has actual knobs you can turn to adjust heat (yeah, I'm old). I am open to suggestions, though, if anyone thinks this choice is a mistake or if there is a better choice with similar features also in this price range. I see that AJMadison says they have this in stock at just under $1800. Lowe's has stopped selling it online (haven't called the local store yet to see if they can order it, though) and I'm not crazy about making a purchase that large on Amazon.

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    So that's where I am on the cooktop and hope to put in an order within the next week or so. But where I need help, and the reason I put this post where I did, is that I need guidance on a new set of cookware. My Lodge skillet (I only have the 10 inch right now) and 14 inch pizza pan (to use as a griddle) will survive, of course, as will my new steel wok. But my old Anolon Authority pans are not magnetic, and they are starting to look pretty worn anyway with some damage to the nonstick surfaces.

    So, what cookware should I get? I would prefer a larger matched set. I tend to be lazy, hence my usual reliance on nonstick. But I also prefer putting the pans that fit into the dishwasher and even though this Analon set claimed to be dishwasher safe, I suspect they would have lasted longer with handwashing only.

    I'm wondering if with the precise control and quick response of induction cooking will allow me to get by with stainless cookware that is dishwasher safe. Even without nonstick treatment, it seems like badly scorched-on messes shouldn't happen all that often.

    I'm not afraid to spend a fair amount on the new set, but do want something that will be durable and will continue to look really nice for a long time with regular cleaning in the dishwasher.

    Oh, and one last further improvement on going to induction: downdraft models aren't made and I rarely use the vent anyway, so I'm going ventless. This will create a LOT more storage space in the cabinet under the cooktop with the vent duct and fan motor no longer around.

    I'd look at All Clad or Made In if you want stainless. But honestly, if you're up for seasoning it and keeping it seasoned/not abusing it, I'd get a set of carbon steel pans. Made In has some but the Matfer are well thought of (https://matferbourgeatusa.com/produc...ack-steel-pan/) as are the (Debuyer https://debuyer-usa.com/collections/carbon-steel)

    BTW, the Matfer has a stainless line as well


    • Jim White
      Jim White commented
      Editing a comment
      Yeah, I wondered about carbon steel but didn't start looking yet. Thanks.

    • rickgregory
      rickgregory commented
      Editing a comment
      Pretty much anything strongly magnetic will work. I love carbon steel and to me it's the best of both worlds (stainless for cooking at any temp including high sears, nonstick for things like eggs).

    • texastweeter
      texastweeter commented
      Editing a comment
      All clad or emrilware (like all clad except the layers don't go all the way to the top)

    Just make sure that whatever you buy has a base that will stick to a magnet. No stick - no work...


      Oh... forget carbon steel if you insist on washing pans in the dishwasher ("I'm not afraid to spend a fair amount on the new set, but do want something that will be durable and will continue to look really nice for a long time with regular cleaning in the dishwasher."). Can't do that with CS.


      • Jim White
        Jim White commented
        Editing a comment
        Yeah, that's my hesitation there. And the fact that there aren't larger sets of CS pans.

        I'm getting interested in KitchenAid's 5 ply stainless that they say is dishwasher safe.

      We really like the GreenPan Valencia Pro for non-stick (can use with induction) and we use Heritage Steel for some very nice 5-ply ss cookware. I also have a few of their knives which are good quality too. Personally we don't put any pots/pans through the dishwasher.....probably just old school.


      • Jim White
        Jim White commented
        Editing a comment
        Dangit! This morning I had just about convinced myself to go with the Misen 5 ply set and then I clicked on the Heritage. Much more expensive but they go a great job explaining why it's worth it. How long have you had yours? How nice is it to cook with and how is it holding up?


      We have the exact same Frigidaire induction cooktop and love it. The only negative, and it annoys my wife more than myself, is some very small scratches have appeared on the panel where the control knobs are. I can barely see them, and both of us have been extremely diligent when cleaning the top. I have no idea how they came about. Operation wise it performs wonderfully.


      • Jim White
        Jim White commented
        Editing a comment
        Great to hear! Have you used the bridge function to cook with the two left burners combined for a larger pot or griddle? Do you know how closely you have to match size of the pan or griddle for this to work?

      • rodkeary
        rodkeary commented
        Editing a comment
        I did try the bridge function just to see if it works and it does. I "tested" it with a rectangular cast iron baking dish (8x12) and some water. We don't have or need a griddle.

      Okay. Orders are placed.

      Wound up going with Amazon anyway on the cooktop order. Hope it works out. The seller (Cyber Savings) doesn't have the best recent positive review rate (73%) but it looks like most of their problems are shipping dates and phone access for info rather than ripping people off. And their lifetime positive rate is 92%, so I'm thinking pandemic supply chain issues more than anything. These same folks offered two different prices on this item, one at $1588 and another entry at $1099. Only difference was delivery Oct 28 on the higher one and Nov 4-15 on the cheaper one. I can wait at that price.

      Also bought the Misen 5 ply Stainless Steel Complete Set. This stuff looks fantastic and has just about all the pieces I want:

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      Even better, they offered 20% off for signing up for emails and texts, so this came to $390. Gotta love it.

      The main thing missing for me in that set was a dutch oven, so I went Lodge Enameled Cast Iron.

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      I would have preferred a 5 qt, but they only offer 4.5 and 6. And they are out of black in 4.5, so 6 it is. And I got another $10 off there for getting emails.

      On the cooktop, I just missed on a great opportunity. I visited my local appliance dealer whom I've dealt with off and on since we moved here in 93 to ask if he could order the cooktop. He said he couldn't order the 30, but that just yesterday he had been in his warehouse and a 36 inch version had arrived as a scratch and dent. He went over it carefully and could find no problems and it had the full warranty. His price was only $1100.

      Sounded great and my guy who does work for me has even opened out a granite cooktop hole to a bigger one before. But it turns out that the current cooktop sits in a 32 inch cabinet base even though I would have sworn it's on a 36. There's a stack of drawers on one side but the other side of the cabinet butts up against a 3-4 inch trim piece in a corner. So, in theory we could open it up, but the cooktop would no longer be centered on the center line of the two door cabinet below and my wife and I agree that would drive us nuts.


      • tbob4
        tbob4 commented
        Editing a comment
        I am envious. It was about 5 years ago that we had to replace out electric range/oven. I wanted to go your route but my wife and daughter (who was long out of the house) vetoed me.

      We went induction when we re-did our kitchen and you won’t look back. Cleaning up the cooktop is a breeze since it doesn’t get hot enough to burn stuff onto it and the adjustability is extremely responsive. I agree with you on the knobs. We got the LG oven/range since it had knobs.


        All of the Tramontina multi-ply stainless cookware is induction capable. It is very reasonably priced, especially compared to All-Clad


          Looking at the kitchen aid induction range and steam injection oven myself.


            Wow. Okay everything has arrived very quickly. Those Misen pans are really substantial. I can't wait to cook with them!

            As mentioned above, I had taken a bit more risk than I'm usually comfortable with on ordering the cooktop. I went with the really low-cost entry for the same item from the same seller. I figured out later that the expensive one is fulfilled by Amazon and the cheap one by the seller, who has been getting dinged in reviews for late delivery (and worse) lately although they have a better long term history. Amazon had given a delivery day of today, but the order I put in said Nov 4-15. It came today anyway at the cheaper price.

            I was very worried waiting for the delivery. Signature was going to be required, and the last time we had a FedEx package that had to be signed for, the driver never actually entered the property--two days in a row!--upon seeing our dogs. Wife finally went to FedEx to retrieve (it was her very expensive silver flute she sent in to New York for servicing). So I secured the dogs away from the driveway.

            FedEx actually came a lot earlier than I expected. The outside box was very wet on one corner (it's storming today), so I made them get it inside the door for me to open it up. The inside box was dry, so I released the driver and assistant back to the truck. And then I nearly had a heart attack. As I started to lift the inside box, I could hear rattling! This inside box was loose inside a larger one. I had visions of the glass cooktop being shattered. I yelled for them to stop and wait while I opened the inside box. Fortunately, all is fine and it was merely the instruction manuals, small bottles of cleaning fluid and screws rattling around. It is definitely the right cooktop, too.

            Now for another wait. My guy who will install it took off today for New Orleans to accompany a friend commemorate the passing of his mother, so it it likely to be mid or late next week before we're up and running. I'll put up pictures then of the installed unit and the pans in action.


              Update: installation is somewhat stalled. We have worked out a trim piece to make up for the hole in the granite being too deep front to back (width is perfect), but there is an electrical issue. The cooktop has four wires: red, black, green and white. The supply line is only three: black, black and bare ground. House was built in 1987.

              Soo, it would appear that we need a new supply line that has a dedicated white (neutral) line. My guy has reached out to his electrician buddies for help, and with any luck we can have them here by sometime tomorrow.

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                Induction question: I installed an induction range at my cabin the last day I was there last summer and have not had a chance to use it. I have some pans here I'm going to bring down there. But some of the pans are magnetic on the bottom but not the sides. What are the chances they will still work well?


                • DogFaced PonySoldier
                  DogFaced PonySoldier commented
                  Editing a comment
                  That all just blows my mind... I guess if that's how it works, that's how it works. Just... wow. Ok. I can't afford induction unless I get one of the cheapo off-brand models, anyways.

                • USMCCrashCrew89
                  USMCCrashCrew89 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Should work just fine as long as the base is magnetic. We used the silicone things for a little bit and honestly just kinda fell by the way side. It is a fun parlor trick to show off though. The top of the range gets hot but not hot like you think of a typical coil range, definitely not hot enough to melt much. I’ve even set thin kitchen towels around a pot when I’ve boiled it over to seep up the water.

                • gboss
                  gboss commented
                  Editing a comment
                  The induction field is very shallow, by design. The "pancake coils" (as opposed to a more traditional solenoid coil) used in induction cook tops along with the high frequency of the electricity used keep the field very close to the cooking surface. Additionally, the sides of the pan are ~perpendicular to the bottom and would not have a large cross section exposed to the field. As others have already said, you'll be fine with non-magnetic sides.

                  (I work with induction, but not cookers)

                Test: I had a notification this morning that Bkhuna and one other had commented on this thread but now the new comments are gone. I also got a really strange error message about permissions when I tried to come here from the message center.


                • Bkhuna
                  Bkhuna commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Jim White - I posted a comment about cookware and then noticed that you had already made your purchase. I then deleted it as it was no longer relevant. Sorry for the inconvenience.

                  I hope you are enjoying your new gear.

                I like the gray look of that cooktop with the stainless trim. I am pretty attached to gas, and find cleaning our black (enamel) gas cooktop to be a pain. Every spatter shows on the glossy black, and cleaning it turns it into a streaky mess, and you have to go over it several times with paper towels and cleaner to get it looking decent after cooking. Often I find myself covering unused areas of the cook top with foil while cooking, if doing something that will spatter.

                We need to replace the cooktop and wall oven mounted in the base cabinet below it eventually. They are 20 years old, and all other appliances have gone from black to stainless as we've replaced them. I'll have to ponder the work to run a 50A circuit for induction, versus just finding an easier to clean natural gas cooktop.


                I will follow up for others with what I told Jim in a private discussion. Most 240V (220V if you want to call it that) circuits in houses built before the 90's will only have 3 wires in the box. Think of electric dryers - some hookups are 3 prong outlets, and others are 4. The newer dryers added a ground hookup that older dryers did not have, and you can buy either the 3 or 4 wire cord when buying a new dryer, in which case they just leave the ground disconnected, or connect both to the neutral wire when you open up the panel on the back of the dryer to hook up that cord.

                Anyway, back to the electrical box for the cooktop.

                Newer installs will have 4 wires, usually black and red for the two "hot" lines (120V with respect to ground or neutral, but 240V with respect to each other), then they will have a white neutral and a bare ground. The circuit will be run using 10 gauge or larger 3 + ground (4 conductor) cable.

                Older installs will have just 3 wires in the box, with the two colored wires, either black and black, or black and white, being hot, and the bare wire actually being used as neutral. By CODE the electrician is supposed to wrap a piece of black tape around the end of a white wire that is being used for hot. The house builder used a 2 + ground (3 conductor) cable for these older hookups, as the older appliances just didn't use ground.

                In almost all cases, you will hook the new 4 wire cooktop up such that you tie both the white and green wires from the cooktop to the bare neutral wire or neutral prong if using a 3 prong 240V plug, the same as in the case of the dryer I used as an example.

                My house is 50+ years old, and none of the original 240V circuits had a separate neutral and ground, and just ran the neutral using the bare wire. It all works out, since in your main electrical load center where the service comes into the house, the neutral and ground get tied together. Note that this is NOT the case for distribution sub-panels, and won't be the case if you look inside a main panel that does not have a shutoff (main breaker) at the top. In those particular cases, ground and neutral will be on separate unbonded bus bars. In my 1970 house, the neutral and ground wires all go to one huge bus bar in the main panel.
                Last edited by jfmorris; November 4, 2021, 10:37 AM.


                • Bkhuna
                  Bkhuna commented
                  Editing a comment
                  gboss - Our house in Miura City, Kanagawa was 100V, 50 Hz. We had to get transformers to run most US appliances we took over. Played heck with FM tuning (pre steaming) and amplifier outputs.

                • gboss
                  gboss commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Bkhuna We were in Kobe, Hyogo so we had 100V 60hz at our home. Most things worked just fine (everything is a switching power supply these days) as long as it didn't have a motor or a heater. Our clothes washer/dryer took FOREVER (3.5h I think?) to dry a load only using 100V...
                  When were you in Kanagawa? I spent a little time in Yamanashi nearby.

                • Bkhuna
                  Bkhuna commented
                  Editing a comment
                  gboss - I lived just north of Jogashima from 81-86 and Zushi from 91-96. The difference between the two was significant. Those tiny 80's Japanese washers were horrible and we couldn't run our US washer and dryer. Our first house was a very old, but well maintained traditional farmhouse complete with tile roof, mud filled walls, no insulation and no central air or heat. Hot and muggy in the summer and freezing in the winter.


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