Guide to choosing a cooker

What would a kitchen be without a cooktop! The offer in shops is so extensive that the question comes up – how to choose the one that suits you best?

There are many questions to be answered before you buy a cooktop. Should it be a gas or electric cooker? Which is better suited for cooking in a comfortable and enjoyable way in your kitchen? Specialists of Elektrum Energy Efficiency Centre would like to offer you a guide to choosing the right cooktop.

What kind of a cooktop should I choose? How to use it efficiently?

Gas cooker

The food is cooked on an open flame provided by the gas. The energy efficiency of a gas cooker is low at only 30 to 40%. This means that 60 to 70% of the energy dissipates in the air, causing heat loss. Compared to an electric cooktop, the cost of the purchase is lower, but the gas cooker has a number of disadvantages:

  • gas soot and deposits are formed during the cooking process, therefore a powerful cooker hood and an increased ventilation are required,
  • using a gas cooker, the amount of oxygen in the room decreases due to the gas combustion process,
  • cookware gets deformed and its base becomes covered with soot after prolonged use on the gas cooktop,
  • the gas cooktop is flammable if left unattended
  • there is a risk of poisoning and explosion
  • the food cooked in a gas oven may absorb small particles of gas combustion by-products.

Specification. A natural gas supply or gas cylinder is required.

Impact on indoor air quality. Under the influence of the gas combustion process, the amount of oxygen decreases in the room and gas soot and deposits are formed.

Required cookware. No special cookware is required. Cookware with a deformed or a much curved base, such as a wok, can be used.

Cooking speed. A relatively long time is required until the water reaches the boiling point.

Safety. The cooker does not turn off automatically.

Fire safety. The cooker is flammable if left unattended and can cause burns due to an open flame.

Care. Cleaning the burner grates and burnt food is not easy.

Electric cooker with metal hot plates

Generation of thermal energy is provided by a heating element placed in the base of the surface and covered with a metal sheath. The energy efficiency ratio of the electric cooker is slightly higher than that of the gas cooker, amounting to 40 – 45%. Cookers of this type are disappearing from store shelves due to their low energy efficiency.

Specification. When installing a cooktop with 4 hot plates, we recommend that you check whether the electricity connection is suitable and whether it is not necessary to increase the permitted load.

Energy efficiency. Relatively high electricity consumption.

Impact on indoor air quality. Soot and deposits are not formed.

Required cookware. It is recommended to use cookware with a thick base that serves as a heat accumulator.

Cooking speed. A relatively long time is required until the water reaches the boiling point.

Safety. The cooker does not turn off automatically.

Fire safety. There is a risk of getting burnt; hot plates cool down much slower than they heat up.

Care. Cleaning burnt food is not easy.

Electric cooker with a glass ceramic cooktop

Below the cooktop, there are metal coils or a special ribbon that heats up and transfers the heat – infrared radiation – to the cooktop. Its energy efficiency ratio is 60 to 70%.

Specification. When installing a cooktop with 4 hot plates, we recommend that you check whether the electricity connection is suitable and whether it is not necessary to increase the permitted load.

Energy efficiency. 30% less power consumption than that of an electric cooker with metal hot plates.

Impact on indoor air quality. Soot and deposits are not formed.

Required cookware. It is recommended to use cookware with a thick base that serves as a heat accumulator and with a smooth bottom to avoid damage to the cooktop.

Cooking speed. A relatively long time is required until the water reaches the boiling point.

Safety. The cooker does not turn off automatically.

Fire safety. There is a risk of getting burnt; hot plates cool down much slower than they heat up.

Care. Cleaning the burnt food is not easy; it should be done carefully so as not to scratch the surface.

Induction cooker

Its operation is based on the electromagnetic energy transformed into thermal energy by the magnetic field. The efficiency ratio of the induction cooktop is 80 to 90%. In terms of cost, cooking on an induction cooker is equivalent to, or even more advantageous than, cooking on a gas cooker. Moreover, the consumption of electricity can be reduced by improving the habits of using the cooker.

Specification. When installing a cooktop with 4 hot plates, we recommend that you check whether the electricity connection is suitable and whether it is not necessary to increase the permitted load.

Energy efficiency. 50% less power consumption than that of an electric cooker with metal hot plates.

Impact on indoor air quality. Soot and deposits are not formed.

Required cookware. Cookware with a special base for induction cookers is required. The suitability of the cookware can be checked by attaching a magnet to its base: if the magnet sticks, the cookware will be appropriate for the cooker.

Cooking speed. Compared to other cooktops, the water reaches the boiling point about 2 times faster.

Safety. When cookware is removed, the cooktop immediately turns off and cools down rapidly.

Fire safety. The cooktop itself does not emit heat and heats up only from the hot cookware, not exceeding the surface temperature of 70 °C.

Care. Easy to clean; food does not burn and stick.

When choosing between gas and electric for a stove, many opt for the former because people have a lot of prejudice over old-generation electric stoves.

Statistics for the year 2015 show that 47% of residents in Latvia used stoves with a gas mains connection, another 33% used portable gas tanks, and just 20% were using electric stoves. But, as time goes on and technology develops, an electric stove is becoming much more convenient, effective and affordable. In light of new amendments to the laws, we are inviting you to consider switching from gas to electric.

Switching from gas to an electric stove

How can an electric stove be better than gas?

  • Comfort: cooking with an electric stove does not produce burning by-products like a gas stove, so you won’t need a powerful steam hood, and your kitchen furniture won’t get covered in a layer of grime. Induction stoves are the most convenient ones – spilled food does not burn on the stove surface, and the heating intensity can be adjusted just as precisely as that of a gas flame.
  • Health and safety: gas stoves operate with an open flame, which poses the risk of burns and even household fires. If a gas tank is left unsealed, it could leak and cause serious health issues, and might even explode. The latest electric stoves do not heat up excessively, they have automatic shutoffs for when liquids are spilled or nothing is cooking, and their control panels can be disabled – making a stove much safer to use for families with children.
  • Efficiency: although gas can be cheaper to use, it is not nearly as environmentally friendly or efficient. Induction heating is much better in this regard, with about 80–90% of all energy consumed actually heating your food. For gas stoves, efficiency is just 35–40%. Furthermore, all electric stovetops can be considered more environmentally friendly because they cause no direct CO2 emissions, while burning natural gas or a mixture of propane and butane leads to direct emissions into a residential area while also consuming indoor oxygen. Meanwhile, new electric stoves are becoming more and more efficient: an induction stove consumes 50% less electricity than an older stove with metal heating elements.

Planned amendments to legislation:

  • as of 31 December 2017, the sale and refilling of “red” 50 L gas tanks will be prohibited. This means that the gas tanks we are currently using will have to be recycled and new-generation tanks will need to be purchased instead;
  • as of 1 January 2019, residents will not be able to connect a mechanical ventilation device, or steam hood, to an apartment building’s natural ventilation system if the apartment has a gas stove and no additional ventilation that guides the exhaust gases outside the building. To comply with these fire safety requirements, many apartment owners will have to choose between modifying their ventilation or purchasing electric stoves.

Here are the steps for switching from gas to electric:

Switching from gas to an electric stove

Useful links for switching from gas to electric:

Have any additional questions? Ask here!

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