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Stove Tops & Cooktops
Cooktops are an appliance that is built into your countertop. Usually gives you more counter space around your cooking areas, with cabinet space underneath. Jenn Air is a popular make of cooktops. Cooktops are also preferred by many cooks and moms.
Cooktops come in both electric and gas. The electric versions are the old style coil elements, glass top ceramic elements, and the new induction elements. Gas versions are either sealed burners or non-sealed burners and can either have a traditional metal top or a glasstop. They are usually powered by natural gas or propane.
All cooktops will have some sort of “tech sheet” or wiring diagram attached to it, these will help you in any cooktop repair. Most of the time, they are on the bottom side of the unit. Most cooktops do not have error codes because their is no electronic controls, so usually all you will see is a wiring diagram someplace on the bottom of the unit. The fancier electric “touchpad” type glasstop and the induction type cooktop should have a tech sheet tucked somewhere, usually in a small envelope on the bottom of the unit. You will need this sheet to aid in your cooktop repair.
Note: Jenn-Air models, both electric and gas, also come in a slide-in cartridge model. These models, both stove and cooktop, offer a center downdraft vent, which is ideal for most island mounted stoves or cooktops. These cartridges have many options in either the electric or gas modes.
Each removable cartridge has either your electric elements or your gas burners inside. These cartridges can usually be taken apart to perform any repairs. Repairing these cartridges are relatively easy, or full replacement cartridges can be purchased.
Electric Stove tops & cooktops come in either the traditional pull-out coil elements, ceramic glasstop elements, and induction cooking elements.
Pretty much everyone knows about the conventional pull-out coil top elements. They have been around forever and are usually standard on entry level or lower priced stoves. The biggest drawbacks on these is that they never seem to stay level, and if you spill or boil over, they can be a nightmare to clean up.
The ceramic glasstop elements solve the drawbacks of the coil elements. As long as the whole stove is level, they stay level. Clean-up on these glasstops are also easier for spills or boil overs. Some say, and we agree that they take longer to heat up and longer to cool down, but once at it’s temperature, stays very constant.
An induction cooking element works differently then any other type of electric cooking. The technology has been around for awhile, but has been expensive. In the last few years, technology has finally started bring the price down and more units are being sold commercially and for the home.
Instead of an element heating up, then heating a pot or pan, which then heats your food, an induction element heats the pan or pot directly. It uses sophisticated electronics to generate electromagnetism directly to your pan or pot. This energy is instantaneous and the heat is changed by changing the strength of the electromagnetic field.
The key to it’s cooking ability is to have the right kind of cookware. It does not have to be fancy, it just has to be magnetic material. The material has to be a “ferrous” material. A good iron or steel pot will work perfectly.
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Aluminum, copper, and pyrex will not work on a induction cooker. Also, as soon as you turn the element off or remove the pot/pan from the element, heat generation stops, and your element is basically cold. You can even put a twenty dollor bill between the element and your pan and it won’t burn.
It is a neat, efficient, and very fast way to heat/cook. As technology improves even more and prices drop more, you will start seeing more and more of these units. Both in cooktops and stoves.
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Gas stove tops and cooktops have not really changed all that much over the years. Sure, they have gotten fancier looking and they have been able to develop hotter, more accurate, and efficient burners, but gas technology is pretty good to begin with. Praised by almost everyone, gas stove tops & cooktops are hands down the favorite way to cook.
Basically, there are 2 types of burners, sealed burners and non-sealed burners. Non sealed burners can be taken apart and cleaned, while sealed burners on a whole can not. Tops for gas stove tops and cooktops have not really changed much either. They now offer glasstops for gas stoves and cooktops, but still have the heavy cast iron grates that you put your pot on.
Manufacturers have also gotten away from a standing pilot light to light your burners. We believe that all use some kind of electric ignitor now. One nice thing about gas stove tops and cooktops over electric is that you can still use them if the electric goes out. These are still able to be lit with a match.