So why did my family do it? Partly, we’d like to wean off fossil fuels when it’s practical. Cooking with ranges, cooktops, and ovens accounts for only about 2 percent of a typical household’s energy use, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Even after accounting for the climate-warming impact of a gas range’s inevitable methane leaks, electrifying our range won’t turn out to be a major emissions-saver relative to other purchases like an electric vehicle, a heat pump, or solar panels. But we’d still love to be able to turn off our gas connection at some point, and this is one step toward that goal.
We also figured we’d like cooking on induction more. Water boils 20 to 40 percent faster than it does on the very best gas or electric burners, according to Tara Casaregola, who leads CR’s testing of cooking appliances. It’s also harder to accidentally burn yourself, there are never any smelly gas leaks, it keeps your kitchen cooler, and the smooth, flat, never-too-hot surface is easy to clean. Some of my wife’s relatives in Europe have cooked on induction for a while (it’s much more common there), and they’ve had mostly great things to say about it, too.
While we’d read about the indoor pollution and potential health problems that gas cooking can cause, that didn’t influence our decision, because we always ventilate our kitchen. In our current house, we turn on our range hood, which exhausts outdoors. In our last place, which didn’t have a proper range hood, we’d open a window and run an air purifier anytime we cooked.
On top of all that, I’ve written a handful of articles about induction ranges over the past decade, and I felt some nagging professional obligation to put my money where my mouth is.
Even as someone with a lot of book knowledge about induction, and a tiny bit of experience actually cooking with it, I realized as we started the project that I didn’t have a clear idea of how much time and money it would take to get the electrical work done (a lot of both), or what it would be like to learn to cook with a new medium (mostly very easy). So, here’s what I learned from my project that I’d like to pass on, in the hopes that having some concrete details will help you decide whether to switch.