Induction: A safer and more environmentally friendly kitchen upgrade
Not only can induction cooktops and ranges save energy, but they offer serious safety benefits and a cleaner carbon footprint. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized Residential Induction Cooking Tops as the ENERGY STAR Emerging Technology Award for 2021-2022. According to ENERGY STAR, “The per-unit efficiency of induction Cooking Tops is about 5-10% more efficient than conventional electric resistance units and about 3 times more efficient than gas.”
There are three major types of residential kitchen ranges and cooktops available.
- conventional electric resistance (coil or ceramic-glass)
- gas (natural gas or propane)
Induction technology uses electromagnets to transfer energy (aka heat) to your pots and pans. A few benefits of induction cooking:
- they provide precise temperature control
- the cooktop can hold ideal temperatures for simmering, melting, or boiling
- they are easy to clean
- they are more energy efficient than electric resistance and gas
- they are fast (put on a pot of water, and you will be impressed with how fast it comes to a boil)
- many models are smart home compatible
You may have heard that you will need all new pots and pans. Most cookware is compatible. Some pans—including aluminum and anodized aluminum—do not work on induction. Others, including stainless steel and cast-iron, work great on induction cooktops. Pro tip: If a magnet sticks to the bottom of a pot, the pot will work on an induction cooktop.
Induction cooktops are new to the market and do have a higher price than conventional electric and gas models. As this new and innovative technology becomes more popular, the price should come down. Incentives are available from select utilities.
One of the biggest benefits of switching from gas to induction cooking right now is that it can improve indoor air quality in your home.
There are two major health benefits of induction cooking:
- Improved indoor air quality
- Reduced risk of burns
Gas cooktops are combustion appliances, and they can be a source of indoor air pollution. Research shows that pollutants released by gas stoves can have negative health effects.
Gas Stoves: Health and Air Quality Impacts and Solutions, a report from the Rocky Mountain Institute states, “Homes with gas stoves can have nitrogen dioxide concentrations that are 50–400 percent higher than homes with electric stoves.” Nitrous Dioxide (NO2) is one of the most common pollutants from gas stoves. NO2 in low concentrations can trigger respiratory illnesses like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
NOTE: If you currently have gas cooking at home you can reduce NO2 emissions by using an exhaust fan above your gas stove vented to the outside.
Gas stoves with open flames have an obvious fire and burn risk. Electric coil cooktops can pose safety issues because their heating coils can stay hot after they are shut off. Induction cooking systems cool quickly after the cookware is removed, which reduces the risk of burns.
Energy efficiency. Rather than heating the surface of your cooktop, induction cooktops use induction heating to warm your pots and pans. They are more energy-efficient because they transfer heat directly to your cookware. Your pot or pan is heated quickly and evenly, and you waste less energy during cooking.
Greenhouse gas reduction. According to a recent study from Stanford University, some natural gas cooking stoves may leak methane even when turned off. Methane is a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. Climate scientists believe that cutting methane emissions is important to slow the rate of global warming.
Beneficial electrification. To meet climate goals, the state of Vermont has a plan for beneficial electrification. This is a way of reducing emissions and energy costs by replacing direct fossil fuel use with electricity. Vermont will increase the use of low- or zero-carbon sources like wind, solar, and hydropower. Choosing appliances like efficient induction stoves helps shift away from fossil fuel use.
Switching to induction cooking can lower levels of pollutants in your home, reduce energy use, and lower your carbon footprint. Give your kitchen a safer and more environmentally friendly upgrade with induction cooking.
Switching to electric induction cooking is a win for your health and the climate.