Induction or not??

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Re: Induction or not??

Postby Smurf1976 » Sun May 23, 2010 12:52 am

Like anything, it depends on what you want to achieve.

If your aim is cooking performance, using electricity efficiently and the like then induction is a winner.

But if your aim is to minimise impact on the environment or minimise costs then it becomes highly questionable. Yes it is efficient in use, but being electronic and needing specific (to that make and model) parts, it is unlikely to be serviceable over the long term.

A 40 year old Australian-built electric stove can still be easily repaired by any electrician and parts aren't hard to get. Much the same with gas too. Both appliances thus have a long service life if used with care, thus reducing their environmental impact through materials used in manufacture etc.

But good luck keeping an induction cooktop running for anywhere near that length of time. 10 years after it's out of production, odds are it will be unrepairable due to parts not being available.

It's like what happens with fancy cars with all sorts of electronic "features". It's great in the showroom and on the test drive. But buy one second hand 15 years later, within the normal life expectancy of a car, and you'll find that much of this fancy electronics has been removed or by-passed once it stopped working. A point comes where repair is either impossible or exceeds the value of the car - it's actually not that uncommon now for otherwise perfectly good cars to end up at the wreckers simply because a motherboard etc failed and it wasn't economic (or even possible) to get a new one even though there's nothing wrong with the rest of the car.

Using the car example, today we can still keep a 100 year old car running without too much hassle because it isn't overly complicated. But does anyone think that a 2010 GTR or even a Commodore will be able to last that long? No - too much fancy electronics with non-standard parts that won't be available 15 years from now. As they fail, either the cars are scrapped, the systems are by-passed etc.
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Re: Induction or not??

Postby karlajensen » Sun Jun 20, 2010 11:08 am

RE instant Gas water heaters.....
the amount of boosting as you suggest will be minimal if you choose say a 30 evacuated tube collector.

I suggest an Instant electric heater, can literally be in a cupboard right next to the shower, are more instant than instant gas and although they eat KW's obviously being right next to the point of use and no need to buy gas bottles, they become very viable indeed.

Oh and did i mention they are dirt cheap say $400 each. House pretty much needs to include them in the design as it does mean running big cable to them and obviously plumbing them in, temp selectable deg by degree too (and works unlike the gas ones)
8E + 8W + 8Nth Garage CMS2000-1 with ~4500W in 3 strings of 8.
Fronius Galvo 3.0 inverter with ~6.6kW panels
12x ZNShine + 12x 180W Solarfuns both NW + ZNShine 12x190 facing SE.
Edwards Solar Hot water


Luck Favours the well prepared.
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Re: Induction or not??

Postby greg c » Tue Aug 03, 2010 10:23 pm

We have had an induction stove for about 6 months. It is absolutely brilliant, the control you get with gas without the waste of heat running up beside the pots. Ours came with a set of pots and a frypan in the deal. We replaced the oven at the same time and it is far more efficient than the 20 year old Chef, we miss the warmth the old Chef gave to the kitchen on cold winter days. The new one heats the oven cavity and very little else. The reason we replaced the old stuff was two fold. Firstly to increase the efficiency of our cooking and parts were getting hard to come by, and I had replaced several components on the oven already.

If you go induction, and there is no reason not to, why are you contemplating gas. If you do a tank on ground solar hot water system, use a bog standard off peak tank and only supply the top element with continuous tariff you will have the most efficient system, and if you run the house on 100% green power your greenhouse gas emissions for hot water will be zero. I have that system at home and it works brilliantly even with old flat plate collectors. The problem with bottled gas is the expense, the GHGs in transporting the gas to you. Then you have the expense of buying a modulated burner instantaneous gas heater to top off the solar when necessary. Think about the electric system and it does exactly the same thing but the boost heat is totally contained in the tank, the gas option is inefficient in the same way a gas stove is.

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Re: Induction or not??

Postby Benny » Wed Aug 04, 2010 12:21 pm

Have you considered using an electric booster for the SHWS ? I appreciate that gas is more efficient but you are talking of installing a 5kW solar system which should be giving you 20-25kWh per day even in winter. If you are careful with your power use (as everyone on this forum obviously is (-; ) then this will be in excess of how much power you are using. If you are just interested in using power wisely and not looking for max rebates from exported power, then why not use the excess to boost your water ?
I suppose a big issue will be that when the solar HWS needs boosting its because there's little sunlight so there'll be no solar power either )-; Also you can't decide to boost at the end of the day after getting maximum from the SWH. But what about considering the grid as your battery ? All those days of exporting excess electricity and nows the time to get some of it back. From what I hear the ET SHWS are very good and rarely need boosting and some users regret spending $1000 on a gas booster that is never turned on. An in-tank electric booster would be much cheaper. I think instant electric boosters are being made illegal now - is that right ?
I have no experience with induction cooking but I'd be wary of repair costs if tracker says he has had to repair many. The advantage comes from not having to heat the heating element and only heat the pot instead. The electric element wouldn't have much thermal mass and so wouldn't be using much extra energy. I guess there's a speed advantage but is it really vital to get things cooking in 30 secs instead of a minute ? I wonder if the induction heaters work faster because they can pump out more power ?
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Re: Induction or not??

Postby John46 » Sat Aug 21, 2010 6:25 pm

I am thinking of trying an induction cooker.
I do a lot of cooking on simmer, for long time periods (the lowest gas setting possible).
Just wondering, if anyone knows how many watts is used on the lowest heat setting, of an induction cooker ?
I was hoping it could be turned down to use only 50-100 watts (something like an incandescent light bulb).
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Re: Induction or not??

Postby Benny » Sun Aug 22, 2010 12:00 pm

For long simmer type cooking there's nothing as good as the old "straw box". i.e. a really well insulated container. Uses no power at all (-; but I suppose you could even drop a 50W globe in there if you wanted.
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Re: Induction or not??

Postby John46 » Sun Aug 22, 2010 12:23 pm

Benny wrote:For long simmer type cooking there's nothing as good as the old "straw box". i.e. a really well insulated container. Uses no power at all (-; but I suppose you could even drop a 50W globe in there if you wanted.


Excellent idea - I was starting to think along those lines.
What about a 50W globe inside a vacuum insulated container (like a thermos), with a pot sitting snugly on top ?
Then almost all the heat would have to go into the pot - almost 100% efficient cooking.
And no complex, expensive technology, like induction cookers.
You could even insulate the sides of the pot.
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Re: Induction or not??

Postby Benny » Sun Aug 22, 2010 12:39 pm

From my experience you don't even need the globe for something like a long slow stew. As long as the container is well insulated it can keep the contents warm for ages and finish off the slow cooking. Sitting it in the sun can make up for small losses too. Just google straw box cookers for some ideas.
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Re: Induction or not??

Postby Sou » Tue Sep 21, 2010 9:17 pm

|'ve had a two burner induction stove top for about seven years. Once an insect got in and shorted the board, but it was repaired under warranty. If I'd had to pay, it would have cost around $250 as I recall. I also have a couple of gas burners in case of blackouts, but they almost never get used.

Things I like about induction = speed, clean pots and pans and stove top (they just don't get dirty with induction), very wide range from extremely low heat to very hot. You can melt chocolate without a double pot :) If it broke again I'd get another without a second thought.

Edit: re pots and pans - I picked some stainless from kmart or target plus use some I already had, like a couple of cast iron skillets. They all look as good as the day I bought them. Also, the induction is measurable faster than gas - I checked the time it took to boil the same amount of water, out of curiosity shortly after I bought it.

(I've also had an electric boosted solar hot water system for about ten years. It uses no grid power for about 9 months of the year, but needs a boost mid winter and after two or three cloudy days if between May and August. - Again, I'd never get anything else. One time the thermostat broke, but it was easily fixed presumably under warranty because I never got a bill. There is no piped natural gas where I live.)
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