Electric Range - Failing on High Heat

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burt
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Electric Range - Failing on High Heat

Post by burt » Sat Mar 09, 2019 8:15 am

Wondering if anyone has experienced this failure mode on an electric range.
GE electric range, coil heating elements, 3 years old.
Temperature knob is set to 2 (simmer). 30 minutes later the pot is at a high boil and the element is glowing red hot.
This has happened 3 times over the past 2 weeks. Also has happened on 2 different burners.
Needless to say I consider this a serious safety issue.
Rather than repair the unit, I will most likely replace it with a different manufacturer. I don't trust that the replacement part is any different. Also this could be a serious design flaw which a replacement part would not fix.

Thank-you for any advice or comments.

burt

Nowizard
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Re: Electric Range - Failing on High Heat

Post by Nowizard » Sat Mar 09, 2019 8:50 am

Element obviously OK. Had same issue, and it turned out to be the thermister (sp) that regulates the heat. Costs about $20. Our range is a GE Monogram, and the thermistor can be replaced easily, even if you are not much of a handyman (I'm not with that type of thing). May be worth a shot to talk to a person at a supply store. An easy fix, if there is one, would be preferable to a new range.

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sawdust60
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Re: Electric Range - Failing on High Heat

Post by sawdust60 » Sat Mar 09, 2019 5:47 pm

Not a GE, but I've had a problem with the knobs. The plastic cracks, and the knobs' position does not match to indicate the true state of off-lo-med-hi. I added reinforcement over the outside of the knob; the hardware store had some clear vinyl tubing (and very tight fitting).

Also, there are metal inserts in the knobs. Remove each knob and confirm that each knob has the insert. If the insert remains on the control, and then a different knob with an insert is pushed onto that control, the insert will be pushed further onto the shaft. It may not be a problem for that control, but then there is a knob/shaft with a missing insert, and that will have a problem.

Image

iamlucky13
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Re: Electric Range - Failing on High Heat

Post by iamlucky13 » Mon Mar 11, 2019 1:43 am

I've had a similar issue with a Samsung range, with two burners so far (both of the dual-element burners). It was the "infinity switch" that controls how much of the time the elements are supposed to be on, based on the knob position. Ours gradually increased who much they stayed on until we no longer had any doubt they were malfunctioning.

The replacement part I received is a different brand from the original. I'm hoping that is because Samsung realized they had a quality issue and changed to something better.

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lthenderson
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Re: Electric Range - Failing on High Heat

Post by lthenderson » Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:32 am

sawdust60 wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 5:47 pm
Not a GE, but I've had a problem with the knobs. The plastic cracks, and the knobs' position does not match to indicate the true state of off-lo-med-hi. I added reinforcement over the outside of the knob; the hardware store had some clear vinyl tubing (and very tight fitting).

Also, there are metal inserts in the knobs. Remove each knob and confirm that each knob has the insert. If the insert remains on the control, and then a different knob with an insert is pushed onto that control, the insert will be pushed further onto the shaft. It may not be a problem for that control, but then there is a knob/shaft with a missing insert, and that will have a problem.

Image
I have the same problems on knobs that look the same. I have always used zip ties as reinforcement but have to finagle the zip tie head through the hole in the sheet metal. I'm definitely going to have to look at clear tubing next time.

adamthesmythe
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Re: Electric Range - Failing on High Heat

Post by adamthesmythe » Mon Mar 11, 2019 10:27 am

I would try nowizard's approach first.

This sounds like the car repair discussions, that you may be making an excuse to get a new range. The difference is that the cost of an attempted repair is negligible and it's not messy to try it.

Big Dog
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Re: Electric Range - Failing on High Heat

Post by Big Dog » Mon Mar 11, 2019 10:35 am

no way I'd replace a 3-year old range. Electric burners are rather basic with simple parts to fix. Instead of purchasing new, you could have a GE authorized repairman come out for ~$95 service fee + a few bucks for parts.

OTOH, if you really want to change out the color....

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burt
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Re: Electric Range - Failing on High Heat

Post by burt » Tue Mar 12, 2019 7:43 am

OP here.
Thanks for your replies and suggestions.
It's not the plastic knob.
I set heat to simmer (#2) and 15 minutes later the coil is glowing red hot as if the heat is set to HI (#10) and the pot is boiling over. This has happened 3 times on 2 different burners.
What really bugs me is that the design is not fail safe. I would expect that a component failure would result in heat being turned off. Back in my working days, fail safe was mandatory for design.
After using ovens for 50+ years, this is the first one that failed on high heat. I really don't want to replace a 3 year old oven, but I also don't want to burn the house down.

burt

captpete
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Re: Electric Range - Failing on High Heat

Post by captpete » Tue Mar 12, 2019 7:49 am

We had a similar issue with our 1980 model JennAir range top. I researched and found that it was the "Infinity Switch" as mentioned in an earlier reply.

I found one on GenuineReplacementParts.com for $60.

Good luck

jstat
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Re: Electric Range - Failing on High Heat

Post by jstat » Tue Mar 12, 2019 8:21 am

The Infinite Switch https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infinite_switch . So that's how the stove works. Also a good name for a band or album.

drawpoker
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Re: Electric Range - Failing on High Heat

Post by drawpoker » Tue Mar 12, 2019 8:12 pm

This is scary. Similar thing happened on my 25Year+ Whirlpool model some time ago.

Set a big pot of water with potpourri on one of the smaller burners on the low setting to simmer, thinking to give the house a nice scent for hours. Actually, it did simmer for a few hours just as expected. But, good thing I did not go to bed for the night. Somehow, hours later, the burner jumped from low to "high". Steam coming out of the kitchen - went to investigate, the pot of potpourri was at a heavy boil, almost getting dry. Thank God the knob managed to function when I turned it to "off' position, crisis was soon over.

To this day I am convinced I would have had a kitchen fire if I had gone to bed. Never called in repairman, just assumed that dirt/grime/grease over the years had accumulated inside the knob to such an extent that turning the knob could no longer be relied upon. Even a slight vibration (maybe next-door townhouse neighbor driving a nail to hang a picture?)
caused the slippage. Still hard to understand how it could slip all the way from "low" to "high" though. :?

OP, if you are experiencing this on more than one burner, and your unit is only 3 years old, the problem is clearly quite more serious than mine.

quantAndHold
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Re: Electric Range - Failing on High Heat

Post by quantAndHold » Tue Mar 12, 2019 9:54 pm

How long is the warranty on your 3 year old range?

Regardless, repair is probably cheap, and stoves tend to last forever.

iamlucky13
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Re: Electric Range - Failing on High Heat

Post by iamlucky13 » Wed Mar 13, 2019 9:34 pm

burt wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 7:43 am
OP here.
Thanks for your replies and suggestions.
It's not the plastic knob.
I set heat to simmer (#2) and 15 minutes later the coil is glowing red hot as if the heat is set to HI (#10) and the pot is boiling over. This has happened 3 times on 2 different burners.
What really bugs me is that the design is not fail safe. I would expect that a component failure would result in heat being turned off. Back in my working days, fail safe was mandatory for design.
After using ovens for 50+ years, this is the first one that failed on high heat. I really don't want to replace a 3 year old oven, but I also don't want to burn the house down.

burt
It's always been a possibility for a range to fail on, but it sounds like this time you got a defective part such that it actually happened to you.

Fail safe generally means a failure is not worse than normal operation. The range itself should be able to remain at maximum heat indefinitely. It's whatever you are cooking that could be a concern.

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burt
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Re: Electric Range - Failing on High Heat

Post by burt » Sun Sep 15, 2019 3:52 pm

This is an update:

3 weeks ago I was warming food on the electric range (setting 50%) and walked away for approximately 5 minutes. Came back in the house and discovered smoke and a glowing red range burner. This has happened before but now I had enough with this 3 year old GE electric oven/range.

I searched the internet for hazardous failures (not fail safe) of GE oven switches with little results. I searched Amazon for GE infinity switches and discovered they can spec the switches for the model number you provide. The switches are about $20 with next day delivery. Does somebody have a warehouse filled with these switches? The switch arrived and I started replacement. First thing I noticed when removing plastic knobs was a black powder under the 8" burner knobs. This is carbon from electric arcing. I stopped the replacement and ordered another switch. Finished replacement of two 8" burner switches today. After testing the replacement switches, burners seem to be working.... for now.
I will absolutely not trust these replacement switches.

Take aways:

1) Over the past 50+ years and 9 electric ranges I have never experienced an electric range failing on high heat.
2) Never leave the house with an oven/range turned on.
3) Back in the day crock pots were advertised as cooking food for 8 hours while you were at work. Not today! Don't do it! It's a different world from 50 years ago.
4) Quality and safety is at a lower level than 50 years ago.

Conclusion:
Not sure how much "shareholder value" and "limited regulation" I can take.
I don't want to burn up in my house with a fat Vanguard account.

burt

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Bogle7
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induction wins

Post by Bogle7 » Sun Sep 15, 2019 9:09 pm

Replace with induction.
Sleep at night.

123
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Re: induction wins

Post by 123 » Sun Sep 15, 2019 9:30 pm

Bogle7 wrote:
Sun Sep 15, 2019 9:09 pm
Replace with induction.
Sleep at night.
Any device that is continuously connected to electric power is a potential fire risk. In modern appliances there is often not a simple mechanical on-off switch but an electronic mechanism that controls the power, that mechanism is more subject to unexpected failure.

You can only have total comfort with electrical devices if you have severed the power connection, either by unplugging it or turning off the electric circuit the device is connected to. And that it only reliable if the device lacks an internal battery that can be another source of risk.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.

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Nate79
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Re: Electric Range - Failing on High Heat

Post by Nate79 » Sun Sep 15, 2019 9:49 pm

burt wrote:
Sun Sep 15, 2019 3:52 pm
This is an update:

3 weeks ago I was warming food on the electric range (setting 50%) and walked away for approximately 5 minutes. Came back in the house and discovered smoke and a glowing red range burner. This has happened before but now I had enough with this 3 year old GE electric oven/range.

I searched the internet for hazardous failures (not fail safe) of GE oven switches with little results. I searched Amazon for GE infinity switches and discovered they can spec the switches for the model number you provide. The switches are about $20 with next day delivery. Does somebody have a warehouse filled with these switches? The switch arrived and I started replacement. First thing I noticed when removing plastic knobs was a black powder under the 8" burner knobs. This is carbon from electric arcing. I stopped the replacement and ordered another switch. Finished replacement of two 8" burner switches today. After testing the replacement switches, burners seem to be working.... for now.
I will absolutely not trust these replacement switches.

Take aways:

1) Over the past 50+ years and 9 electric ranges I have never experienced an electric range failing on high heat.
2) Never leave the house with an oven/range turned on.
3) Back in the day crock pots were advertised as cooking food for 8 hours while you were at work. Not today! Don't do it! It's a different world from 50 years ago.
4) Quality and safety is at a lower level than 50 years ago.

Conclusion:
Not sure how much "shareholder value" and "limited regulation" I can take.
I don't want to burn up in my house with a fat Vanguard account.

burt
This is very confusing. Are you saying your range has failed again after you had it fixed the first time? Or did you not fix it and then came back to complain because it did the same problem that it was already known to do?

RetiredAL
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Re: induction wins

Post by RetiredAL » Sun Sep 15, 2019 10:10 pm

123 wrote:
Sun Sep 15, 2019 9:30 pm

Any device that is continuously connected to electric power is a potential fire risk. In modern appliances there is often not a simple mechanical on-off switch but an electronic mechanism that controls the power, that mechanism is more subject to unexpected failure.

You can only have total comfort with electrical devices if you have severed the power connection, either by unplugging it or turning off the electric circuit the device is connected to. And that it only reliable if the device lacks an internal battery that can be another source of risk.
Careful there -- Plugs and outlets are not designed for continual plugging and unplugging. Most circuit breakers are not designed to be used in lieu of a switch/disconnect.

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burt
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Re: Electric Range - Failing on High Heat

Post by burt » Mon Sep 16, 2019 5:45 am

Nate79 wrote:
Sun Sep 15, 2019 9:49 pm
burt wrote:
Sun Sep 15, 2019 3:52 pm
This is an update:

3 weeks ago I was warming food on the electric range (setting 50%) and walked away for approximately 5 minutes. Came back in the house and discovered smoke and a glowing red range burner. This has happened before but now I had enough with this 3 year old GE electric oven/range.

I searched the internet for hazardous failures (not fail safe) of GE oven switches with little results. I searched Amazon for GE infinity switches and discovered they can spec the switches for the model number you provide. The switches are about $20 with next day delivery. Does somebody have a warehouse filled with these switches? The switch arrived and I started replacement. First thing I noticed when removing plastic knobs was a black powder under the 8" burner knobs. This is carbon from electric arcing. I stopped the replacement and ordered another switch. Finished replacement of two 8" burner switches today. After testing the replacement switches, burners seem to be working.... for now.
I will absolutely not trust these replacement switches.

Take aways:

1) Over the past 50+ years and 9 electric ranges I have never experienced an electric range failing on high heat.
2) Never leave the house with an oven/range turned on.
3) Back in the day crock pots were advertised as cooking food for 8 hours while you were at work. Not today! Don't do it! It's a different world from 50 years ago.
4) Quality and safety is at a lower level than 50 years ago.

Conclusion:
Not sure how much "shareholder value" and "limited regulation" I can take.
I don't want to burn up in my house with a fat Vanguard account.

burt
This is very confusing. Are you saying your range has failed again after you had it fixed the first time? Or did you not fix it and then came back to complain because it did the same problem that it was already known to do?
I did not fix it the first time and am coming back to complain.
While replacing the first defective switch I noticed black carbon residue (evidence of electrical arcing) near the second switch.
I ended up replacing two defective switches.
Now I have a 3 year old oven with range switches which are known to fail on high heat.

cherijoh
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Re: Electric Range - Failing on High Heat

Post by cherijoh » Mon Sep 16, 2019 6:20 am

burt wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 5:45 am
Nate79 wrote:
Sun Sep 15, 2019 9:49 pm
This is very confusing. Are you saying your range has failed again after you had it fixed the first time? Or did you not fix it and then came back to complain because it did the same problem that it was already known to do?
I did not fix it the first time and am coming back to complain.
While replacing the first defective switch I noticed black carbon residue (evidence of electrical arcing) near the second switch.
I ended up replacing two defective switches.
Now I have a 3 year old oven with range switches which are known to fail on high heat.
So you continued to use the range for 6+ months after noticing what you considered at the time a serious safety issue? Really?

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burt
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Re: Electric Range - Failing on High Heat

Post by burt » Mon Sep 16, 2019 7:09 am

cherijoh wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 6:20 am
burt wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 5:45 am
Nate79 wrote:
Sun Sep 15, 2019 9:49 pm
This is very confusing. Are you saying your range has failed again after you had it fixed the first time? Or did you not fix it and then came back to complain because it did the same problem that it was already known to do?
I did not fix it the first time and am coming back to complain.
While replacing the first defective switch I noticed black carbon residue (evidence of electrical arcing) near the second switch.
I ended up replacing two defective switches.
Now I have a 3 year old oven with range switches which are known to fail on high heat.
So you continued to use the range for 6+ months after noticing what you considered at the time a serious safety issue? Really?
Yes, really. I thought I could mitigate the risk with close attention when in use. It worked, the house didn't burn down.

Kind of like learning about a air bag recall on your car. Most people continued to drive the car until they could schedule a repair.
Both situations are serious safety issues which need to be corrected.
Unlike an air bag replacement, I have little confidence that the new replacement switches won't fail in the same manner, so I will continue to closely monitor the range when in use.

cherijoh
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Re: Electric Range - Failing on High Heat

Post by cherijoh » Mon Sep 16, 2019 7:29 am

burt wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 7:09 am
cherijoh wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 6:20 am
burt wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 5:45 am
Nate79 wrote:
Sun Sep 15, 2019 9:49 pm
This is very confusing. Are you saying your range has failed again after you had it fixed the first time? Or did you not fix it and then came back to complain because it did the same problem that it was already known to do?
I did not fix it the first time and am coming back to complain.
While replacing the first defective switch I noticed black carbon residue (evidence of electrical arcing) near the second switch.
I ended up replacing two defective switches.
Now I have a 3 year old oven with range switches which are known to fail on high heat.
So you continued to use the range for 6+ months after noticing what you considered at the time a serious safety issue? Really?
Yes, really. I thought I could mitigate the risk with close attention when in use. It worked, the house didn't burn down.

Kind of like learning about a air bag recall on your car. Most people continued to drive the car until they could schedule a repair.
Both situations are serious safety issues which need to be corrected.
Unlike an air bag replacement, I have little confidence that the new replacement switches won't fail in the same manner, so I will continue to closely monitor the range when in use.
Sorry Burt, but most people had no choice but to wait on the replacement airbags, so IMO your analogy just doesn't fly.

HomeStretch
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Re: Electric Range - Failing on High Heat

Post by HomeStretch » Mon Sep 16, 2019 7:32 am

Consider replacing the range if you are concerned about the replacement switches failing in high heat.

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Re: Electric Range - Failing on High Heat

Post by Sandtrap » Mon Sep 16, 2019 7:51 am

Our home had a fairly new double stack built in oven that was there when we bought the house. Temperatures were not dependable. Finally, the oven would turn itself on in the "off" setting, . . "all by itself at unknown times". It turned out to be an issue typical to brands and ovens that used that same type of digital control panel.
Solution:
Repairs would have been too costly. Threw the stove away and got another brand and type.
There is not price for safety.

j :happy
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Tamarind
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Re: Electric Range - Failing on High Heat

Post by Tamarind » Mon Sep 16, 2019 8:30 am

My much older range ~10 years) has developed a related issue on one burner. It appears to be temperature sensitive - ie I can simmer a small pan no problem but if I have a heavier pot that retains heat, or cook on high, or cook for a long time, then the eye will go to max heat and stay there. Once it starts only unplugging the range or opening the circuit breaker stops it. More concerning is that if the eye is not allowed to cool down significantly before electricity is returned, it goes right back to high heat.

I've repaired washers and dryers before but not stoves. Does anyone have a favorite source for parts and/or a preferred set of instructions for accessing it to replace?

adamthesmythe
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Re: Electric Range - Failing on High Heat

Post by adamthesmythe » Mon Sep 16, 2019 10:24 am

Following OP's reasoning, he should investigate the design and construction of the range before buying it. Not easy to do, and he may find out that most ranges out there are built the same way with the same parts.

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LilyFleur
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Re: induction wins

Post by LilyFleur » Mon Sep 16, 2019 7:44 pm

Bogle7 wrote:
Sun Sep 15, 2019 9:09 pm
Replace with induction.
Sleep at night.
You will spend a lot less time with your stove if you have induction. You can boil a pot of water in about 2 minutes. It cools down instantly. I love my induction stove because I do not like standing over a hot stove. I bought mine at the Sears outlet store (scratch on the back side of the stove). Much more energy efficient than regular electric or gas stoves.

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burt
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Re: Electric Range - Failing on High Heat

Post by burt » Wed Sep 18, 2019 5:06 am

adamthesmythe wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 10:24 am
Following OP's reasoning, he should investigate the design and construction of the range before buying it. Not easy to do, and he may find out that most ranges out there are built the same way with the same parts.
You are correct. I did some quick research and determined that infinite switches are common for electric ranges. I looked at a parts manual and the infinite switch physically looks the same as mine (different brand oven/range). I also discovered several articles talking about infinite switches failing on high heat and how to replace the switch.

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burt
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Re: induction wins

Post by burt » Wed Sep 18, 2019 5:08 am

LilyFleur wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 7:44 pm
Bogle7 wrote:
Sun Sep 15, 2019 9:09 pm
Replace with induction.
Sleep at night.
You will spend a lot less time with your stove if you have induction. You can boil a pot of water in about 2 minutes. It cools down instantly. I love my induction stove because I do not like standing over a hot stove. I bought mine at the Sears outlet store (scratch on the back side of the stove). Much more energy efficient than regular electric or gas stoves.
I think you are on to something with induction heat. Interesting video in link below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h45dzeugIZw

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LilyFleur
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Re: induction wins

Post by LilyFleur » Wed Sep 18, 2019 4:31 pm

burt wrote:
Wed Sep 18, 2019 5:08 am
LilyFleur wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 7:44 pm
Bogle7 wrote:
Sun Sep 15, 2019 9:09 pm
Replace with induction.
Sleep at night.
You will spend a lot less time with your stove if you have induction. You can boil a pot of water in about 2 minutes. It cools down instantly. I love my induction stove because I do not like standing over a hot stove. I bought mine at the Sears outlet store (scratch on the back side of the stove). Much more energy efficient than regular electric or gas stoves.
I think you are on to something with induction heat. Interesting video in link below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h45dzeugIZw
Yep, wow, boils water even faster than I said.
Keeps the house cooler in the summer.
I bought one of those single induction burners with a 20% Bed Bath & Beyond coupon for some reason. I ended up keeping it on top of my smooth top electric range for about a year. I only ever used the induction burner, so I convinced myself buying the induction stove was a good move. I'm all for getting cooking done fast.
:mrgreen:

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