Archive Monthly Archives: February 2017

Why Induction Cooktop Makes Sense

February 13, 2017

Last month, I spoke at the KMH Women’s group event in Honolulu. Knowing that Hawaii imports fossil fuels to generate most of the electricity in the state, I wanted to share as much energy savings tips with the audience. I did a simple experiment to convey why induction cooktop made sense for the people in Hawaii to make it relatable and interesting to those who want to do the right thing for their family and home.

Armed with measuring cups, kitchen thermometer, and a stopwatch, I measured how long it took to boil two cups of water in a kettle. First, I did this in my home in Santa Cruz California on an induction cooktop. It took 2 minutes and 56 seconds. The air temperature in front of the kettle went up by 1.1 degrees, from 71.6 degrees Fahrenheit to 72.7.

Before

After

Time to boil water

Then I did the same thing at my dad’s place in Honolulu Hawaii on an electric resistance cooktop. It took 6 minutes and 23 seconds. It took more than twice as long! The air temperature in front of the kettle went up by 1.3 degrees, from 77.4 degrees Fahrenheit to 78.7. Since this was in the cooler month of January, the increase in temperature wasn’t uncomfortable. Had this been done in August, I would have broken a sweat because my dad’s place doesn't have air conditioning. In homes that do have air conditioning, cooking during the summer on an electric resistance cooktop would make the air conditioner work even harder to counteract the heat.

Before

After

Time to boil water

This experiment affirmed my conviction that an induction cooktop is better than an electric resistance cooktop, especially in Hawaii where the electricity rate is more than twice that of California. We can save time and energy. We can avoid extra heat in our kitchens. So, if your kitchen stove is at the end of its life and needs to be replaced, look into induction cooktop.

Before you run out and buy one, check to see if there is adequate capacity in the wiring and electrical service to your house to install the induction cooktop model of choice. I invite you to read this article from The Induction Site to get the details.

When you start shopping for induction cooktop, the price tag might scare you. Especially if your point of reference is electric resistance free standing stove that is about $1,500 cheaper than induction. It seems expensive, right? Before you turn away, I invite you to consider the lifecycle cost. Since the savings come from the on-going electricity savings, let’s look at how much energy savings would make this higher initial cost worthwhile.

1. Appliances last about 10 years, so when we spread out the higher cost of induction ($1,500), it comes out to be $150 per year or $12.50 per month.

2. Average price of electricity on Oahu is $.28 per kilowatt-hour (kWh). Dividing the $12.50 per month by the average price of electricity, this comes out to 45 kWh.

3. Say your average electricity usage per month is 350 kWh, the 45kWh target savings represents 13% of the monthly bill. On average, appliances use 28% of electricity in homes, so 13% seems feasible.

One thing that people fuss over when making a decision to go with induction cooktop is the cost of replacing the pots and pans. Once again, I invite you to read the cookware article from The Induction Site to get expert tips on why you may need a different cookware and how to shop for new cookware. I didn't spend a fortune on new pots and pans. In my case, I kept my cast iron skillets and only bought a couple of sauce pans.

Bottom line, switching from electric resistance cooktop to induction cooktop makes sense, especially in a climate that uses air conditioning. To move forward with confidence, be sure to research the electrical requirements of installing an induction cooktop, calculate the cost savings, and check your pots and pans.