Did you know that induction glass-top stoves are more similar to microwaves than to traditional stove tops? If you have a new induction glass-top stove, it's important that you understand how the burners work so you can avoid problems when cooking and when cleaning.
How induction glass-top stoves work
Induction glass-top stoves do not feel hot to the touch, even when they are turned on high. Because of this feature, many people are interested in this type of stove top for safety reasons. So how exactly can the pan heat up if there is no heat coming from the burner? It's all about a magnetic field.
The element that sits under the glass works like a powerful magnet and generates a magnetic field. Placing a pan in the magnetic field causes the pan's electrons to move rapidly as they try to align with the magnet underneath the glass surface. The magnet rapidly alternates its poles, based on the temperature setting of the burner, and this rapid fluctuation causes the electrons to move extremely fast, which generates heat in the pan.
What types of pots and pans to use & to avoid
Because of this heating process, you have to use metal cookware that is high in iron to cook on an induction glass-top stove. Glass, ceramic, copper, and aluminum pots and pans will not work. Stainless steel with low iron content will also not work. Also, pots and pans need to have flat bottoms so the entire bottom surface is in direct contact with the stove top. This means pots and pans with rounded bottoms and ones that are warped will not work.
If you are unsure of the metal content of your pots and pans, test them by holding a magnet to the bottom of them. If the magnet sticks, the cookware will work on an induction glass-top stove. If the magnet does not stick, you'll need to purchase replacement metal pots and pans that are high in iron. Feel free to take a magnet with you when shopping for new pots and pans so you can test them to make sure they will work for induction cooking.
How to clean a glass-top stove
Induction cooking produces a rapid and even heat throughout the pan. You may find that your foods cook faster and water boils faster than when you used a gas stove or electric burner stove. Until you get accustomed to the way induction works, you may experience quite a few trial and error situations that result in a messy stove top. Fortunately, glass-top stoves are fairly easy to clean since they have a smooth surface. However, great care needs to be taken when cleaning so the surface is not damaged.
There are special products that are formulated to remove cooking residue and grease from glass-top stoves. However, you can also use vinegar and baking soda if you prefer to use natural ingredients rather than chemical cleaning products. You will also need a non-abrasive scrubbing pad to scrub away stuck on residue. Sometimes a razor will be needed to scrape off stubborn messes.
When using a razor, be careful to not scratch the surface. If you do or there are minor scratches from wear and tear or from cookware, buff the scratches out with a paste of baking soda mixed with water. Deeper scratches will not be repairable. While deep scratches can be unsightly, they should not affect the capabilities of the cook top. However, food particles and cooking residue can accumulate in deep scratches, so try to avoid deep scratches as much as possible or you may need to replace the glass-top.
If you're concerned about the functionality of your induction glass-top stove, reach out to an appliance services contractor.