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Electric Range

  • Category :
  • wine and food
  • August 28th, 2008

    I had to shop for an electric range for my mom’s place over the weekend.  We went to Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Best Buy; and I asked the sale the same question: “Which one of these is more powerful?”  Asian cooking requires a higher temperature so the ingredients can be cook in a shorter amount of time before the cellulose structure breaks down making the vegetable soggy.  It also help to seal the juice inside those bite size slices of meat using only one round of cooking.

    I would think that’s a pretty common question.  After all, gas range do tell you that information in the form of BTU.  BTU stands for British thermal unit, and it represent the amount of energy need to raise the temperature of 1 lb of water by 1 degree.  Simply put, heating or cooling power.  As it turns out, measuring power is pretty simple for gas range.  Gas range produce heat by burning natural gas.   A working range will burn the fuel completely, meaning there will be no wasted unburned part that stick to the bottom of your pan or dissolve into the air.  Assuming we don’t do any mixing or pressurizing of the fuel, how much power the range can produce is directly related to the flow of gas regulated by the range head.  The bigger the head, the more powerful the range.  Heat is then transfer to the pot to cook our food.
    Electric range generate heat by passing electric current through the coil element.  The resistant property in the coil element will heat up and glow red.  Heat is then transfer from the coil to smooth surface, then to the pot to cook our food.  The higher the resistant, the greater the heat being generated, the higher the current draw.  In theory we can measure the current draw in watts and assess the power output of the range.  So I am surprise that makers of electric ranges don’t make that information.

    The reality is these numbers are a little bit more complicated.  The efficiency in which the coil covert electricity into heat is different in different brands and model.  The heat tranfer ability of the glass or ceremic cover is also different.  There is no standard of measuring how much of that wattage is being transferred to the pot, and how much is being used to heat the coil, the air around it and the smooth top.  That makes comparing gas vs electric range virtually impossible.

    What consumer advocate group should do is to test the different makes and model of ranges in the market for efficiency and speed of heating 1 gallon of water at a controlled environment.  All I want to know is which model within my budget can boil a pot of water at the shortest amount of time and what my energy cost is going to be !!  

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