Thinking of an integrated oven? Here’s what you need to know before switching off the air | Rare Techy
Emiko Davies used to cook with gas — but since the recent installation of an induction cooktop, she’s “falling in love” with it.
Before switching to the oven, the Australian food writer and photographer says she wondered if she would “lose the sight and feel of the flame while cooking.”
“But my husband, a sommelier, who was working in a Michelin-starred restaurant of the Four Seasons in Florence at that time pointed out that the kitchens there were only mixed and the most beautiful dishes were produced from there. It didn’t take long to worry after that!”
Emiko, who lives in Tuscany, is one of many Australians who are embracing cooking surfaces to help with the weather.
Here’s what to know if you’re considering switching.
It’s an eco-friendly option
Built-in cooktops look the same – flat and smooth, without a flame – but they heat food differently. Essentially, they generate an electric field that creates energy around your glass surface and heats your cooking.
Integrated ovens are also more energy efficient than electric and gas cooktops, says Daniel Daly, a research associate at the University of Wollongong’s Sustainable Buildings Research Institute.
They have clearly mentioned the environmental benefits when compared to gas cooking, he explains: Although electric cooktops are associated with lower greenhouse gas emissions over time (as the large amount of renewable energy that feeds electricity into the grid), the air heats up “and always produces. gases and other pollutants,” he says.
Switching from air to integrated cooking removes this source of indoor air pollutants and “improves indoor air quality”.
These environmental benefits prompted Ms Davies to switch to wind.
When he read that in some parts of the world – such as the Netherlands, New York State and California – natural gas will soon be banned in new homes and constructions, “I knew that the installation was the migration come,” he said.
“It’s important to me to make the changes we can do to reduce carbon emissions in our home.”
Australia currently does not ban natural gas in new homes, but Mr Daly says many jurisdictions are starting to think about how to move away from wind — for example, the ACT aims to be fully electrified by 2045, and Victoria already has a Wind Replacement Plan.
“I look forward to this [trend] to continue across the country,” he said.
Faster, easier and simpler: The user benefits
Other advantages of integrated cookers are accuracy, speed and ease of use.
“It’s not at all like cooking with an electric oven, which is slow to react to changes, which is much better than cooking with natural gas, which wastes a lot of heat and dissipates,” Ms Davies said.
Unlike gas and ceramic cooktops, there is no heat between the cooktop and the cookware with integrated cooktops – and that means less energy and heat is wasted, according to the CHOICE customer support team.
So when you change the temperature on the induction hob, the pan reacts immediately – it turns the heat down, very quickly, Ms Davies explains.
This means cooking is much easier and faster: “It takes two minutes to boil water,” says Ms Davies.
Built-in cooktops are also easy to clean: “Just wash them when you’re done,” he adds.
“I’ve never looked back; it was the best thing for our kitchen.”
How to pay?
The cost of gas and electricity will continue to rise, so it is a good idea to reduce household utility bills.
Ms Davies says choosing an integrated cooker makes a big difference to her electricity bills, especially as she cooks a lot for her job.
But the upfront costs of an integrated cooker can be prohibitive for many – between $599 and $4599, according to consumer support group CHOICE.
You may need a fork for new pots and pans if you don’t like cooking. Of course, glass, aluminum and copper won’t work for integrated ovens – although Mrs Davies says she was “surprised at how many worked well, like all my favorite cast iron pans”.
Also remember that the biggest financial benefits come when an integrated cooktop is included as part of a home’s electrical infrastructure, says Mr Daly.
“[T]The cap may include replacing air-cooled hot water and heat pump hot water systems, as well as air conditioning and efficient return vents.”
If your gas stove is the only gas appliance in your house then the cost of connecting to the gas network will be the largest part of your gas bill.
So, if you can afford the upfront costs, Mr Daly says “moving to an all-electric home can be a great financial solution”.
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