Question

Are induction cooktops better for indoor air quality than gas?

Asked by Sara Edelman, Hillsboro, OR

I'm trying to do a green(er) kitchen remodel. I'm considering an induction cooktop instead of a gas range. Are induction cooktops truly safe? Are they better for indoor air quality than gas?

Answer

Ricky Cappe

Answered by Ricky Cappe

Santa Monica, CA

Green Built Consultants

July 3, 2007

While most people like to cook with natural gas, its combustion is known to be hazardous to our health as well as our indoor air quality. Natural gas in its original state contains radon and benzene, chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer. It also contains toluene, a chemical known to cause reproductive harm. Combustion byproducts can generally be removed through appliance vents and other exhaust systems, however.

Induction cooktops are a safe and reliable alternative to natural gas, and they have been used for many years throughout Europe. An induction cooktop will cost more, but is more energy efficient than a natural gas cooktop. (A typical induction cooktop is 84 percent efficient, while a gas range is only 40 percent efficient, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.)

There are safety advantages, too: The induction cooktop does not get hot. Instead, the heat is transferred from the element to the pot or pan on the cooktop. There is no open flame to worry about. One thing to keep in mind is that you may need to purchase cookware that is compatible with the induction cooking process. Induction cookware must be made of a magnetic-based material, such as iron and steel. You can test whether a pan is induction compatible by seeing whether a magnet will stick to its surface.

For more information:

The Induction Site provides a complete introduction to induction cooktops, including manufacturers of built-in and stand-alone units, pricing, and a cooking equipment store.

Tagged In: home air quality, energy efficient appliances

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