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Induction Cooking – A Simple Fix for Safer Cooking

Induction stove cooktops are a simple fix for safer cooking - Elephant Energy

Project: Induction cooking – cooktop installation

Customer: Sam Harrington and Beverly Bendix

Home: Condo, built in 2004

The home Sam Harrington and his wife Beverly Bendix bought in November 2021 was a natural fit. 

Sam is Director of Sustainable Packaging at Danone and Bev works for the Rocky Mountain Institute doing clean energy consulting. Both spend their days thinking about climate change, so cutting their carbon footprint at home was important.

The community they found had been built with sustainability in mind and their condo had already been updated with several energy saving details like ductless mini-splits, for home heating and cooling, and rooftop solar panels. 

Soon after buying, they sought to rid the place of its last remaining natural gas appliance: the gas cooktop.

Problem

Sam had read all of the research about air quality and natural gas. Cooking with gas stoves causes repeated spikes of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in the air, which can lead to asthma and other respiratory illnesses in children.

Especially with a toddler son at home, they were ready to get rid of the old cooktop.

“We went onto Facebook Marketplace and bought a used induction cooktop for $800,” Sam said.

The trouble came after buying it. It turns out their home’s wiring didn’t have the amperage to support it along with their other electric appliances.

They hired a couple of different electricians who told them it would cost around $20,000 to increase the electricity capacity of their home and install the cooktop. 

“We definitely can’t spend $800 on an appliance and then $20,000 to install it,” Sam said. “So we weren’t accepting the answers from the electricians that we got and kept looking for solutions that might be more creative than just going from 100 amp to 200 amp service.”

Solution – Induction Cooking

Sam had done some research and found out about the Simple Switch, which allows you to expand your home power by toggling two large appliances on the same circuit. If one appliance is running when you turn on the other one, the first will shut off.

When Sam took it to the electricians who’d given him the quotes and asked about it, they said they didn’t have any experience with it or didn’t know whether they could make it work.

Luckily, his wife Bev had heard about Elephant Energy through her work.

Sam said, “When I took it to Elephant Energy, they said, ‘We’d be happy to figure that out and make it work. And if there are any alternative ways to do that, we’ll speak up on that, too.’”

The electricians had given him a list of other contractors he’d have to hire after they did the electrical install: a drywall person to fix holes in the walls and ceiling and a plumber to disconnect the old gas stove.

“Elephant Energy coordinated all of that,” he said.

“They had a plumber come out and properly disconnect the old gas cooktop and remove it for us. A couple different electricians came. It required cutting holes in the ceiling and walls to run wires and then they had a handyman come out and put it back together again.” 

“And now you can’t see where they opened it up,” he said. “Really complete work.”

The full cost of the installation including the used cooktop and the Simple Switch was $3,250, a fraction of what others quoted.

Result

Their induction cooking cooktop works perfectly. It boils water super fast and, because it’s a sheet of glass, it’s quick to clean compared to the nooks and crannies of a gas stove.

But the best benefit is the improved air quality in their home.

“Shortly before we got this installed, I got this air filter system that is probably 10 feet away in the living room,” Sam said. “Even with the vent hood on, it would come on most of the time when we were cooking with natural gas.”

“It detects the air pollution in the room, so you’d hear the fan start to speed up and go on high power mode. That rarely happens with the induction.” 

The induction cooking cooktop is a lot safer for their son. The sheet of glass doesn’t get hot and doesn’t pose the same burn risk as natural gas flame.

“The only downside to the system we put in is if we’re drying clothes and we try to cook on the cooktop, the dryer turns off,” he said. “I don’t think that’s actually happened since we installed it.”

“It’s more of a theoretical inconvenience.”To learn more about how we can improve your indoor air quality with induction cooking or help you move away from natural gas appliances, read about our solutions or get in touch.

“I think Elephant Energy is really savvy and up to date on what we need to do to improve our homes, fight climate change, and be more comfortable and safe.”