Thread Number: 74082  /  Tag: Ranges, Stoves, Ovens
Induction cooktop question
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Post# 978636   1/16/2018 at 21:58 (911 days old) by luxflairguy (Wilmington NC)        

I've moved to Wilmington NC and am the Facilities Manager for St. Paul's Episcopal church.  The kitchen has a GE Profile 36 inch induction cooktop.  They have for lack of a better word, a Silpat (silicone) sheet across the surface so that pots don't scratch the surface.

My question is this:  is there a loss of power with the sheet on top of the surface?  Is it hampering the cooking abilities?  Are they getting FULL power through the sheet?  I haven't been able to get an answer from anyone at the Parish as to why it's there other than to "protect the surface."



Post# 978647 , Reply# 1   1/16/2018 at 23:43 (911 days old) by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        

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I can't see how the sheet would hurt anything and if people are careless it might save scratches, but the Ceran cook-tops are not that easy to scratch.

Post# 978648 , Reply# 2   1/16/2018 at 23:57 (911 days old) by foraloysius (Leeuwarden, Friesland, the Netherlands)        

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I've spilled water a few times on my induction cooker, the pot started to slide around then. I just put a piece of kitchen paper under it, no problem at all as long as it's something thin.

Post# 978649 , Reply# 3   1/17/2018 at 00:06 (911 days old) by earthling177 (Boston, MA)        


It's probably only the result of some anal-retentive people.

Unless the silicone mat is really thick (they usually aren't), you won't lose any significant power. Here's the thing though: is the mat transparent enough that you can see where the burners are, so you can properly position the pots and pans on? (A pot that is not centered on the burner will only receive power in the parts that are on the burner.)

Smooth top cooktops are easy to keep clean, and induction cooktops are even easier, just wiping with the proper cleaning solution does it, there is no need for "protection". In fact, if sugar, salt etc get trapped under the mat they can scratch the surface over time much more easily than if the surface gets wiped every time it's used.

Maybe someone put the mat down because the pots and pans slide really easily on smooth tops?

The other "risk" I can see when one has newspaper, parchment paper or silicone mats on induction stovetops is that if the temperature on the (particularly empty) pots exceeds the safe temperature for the paper or silicone, it can either melt or catch fire. The mess to clean will be much bigger than if you had just the pot on the glass-ceramic surface.

The thing to remember is that glass-ceramic smooth tops are not exactly "delicate". Any material in the glass, ceramic or glass-ceramic space exists in a weird balance and you can have either something that is extremely mechanically resistant (gorilla glass), or resistant to extreme thermal shock (ceran smooth tops) or resistant to chemical attacks. No material is perfect.

Ceran (and other smooth tops made of similar materials) are extremely resistant to thermal shocks, relatively resistant to mechanical shocks but their resistance to some chemical attacks (in this case sugars and starches) is on the low side and if the temperature is high enough, any spills (tomato sauce, caramel etc) can either pit and/or fuse to the surface. Another source of problems is grains of salt, sugar, sand etc on the surface might scratch the surface, particularly if people have a habit of sliding the pan back-and-forth on the smooth top instead of stirring the contents.

But my question is that it's weird for people, particularly in churches, to be worried about the appearance of their cooktop to that point. Did they have a standard smooth top (radiant heat) that somehow had a short life due to careless users and that's what made them decide on induction?

Please keep us posted -- from my perspective it's not worth having the fight to force them to remove the mat, but it's not worth the expense of buying a mat to use for that either. I'm just curious what is the history of the previous cooktop if any and the stories they'll tell. Given that induction cooktops operate at a *much* lower temperature than radiant cooktops, I would expect a much simpler cleanup and much improved service life.

†††-- Paulo.

Post# 978650 , Reply# 4   1/17/2018 at 00:08 (911 days old) by iej (Ireland)        

You shouldn't be able to search the surface that early. I've had induction hobs since the 1990s without any such issue.

Also make sure that surface can take high temperatures. A frying pan is still seriously and certainly will get up more than enough temperature to melt most plastics. Just because they're not producing direct heat doesn't mean that the pots and pans aren't extremely hot.

A tiny gap shouldn't make any difference to power output though. If the job was too far away, it would start giving you error messages.

Post# 978669 , Reply# 5   1/17/2018 at 08:14 (910 days old) by joeekaitis (Rialto, California, USA)        

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Don't they know it's cooler if you boil a pot of water sitting on a $5.00 bill, just to demonstrate how it won't burn?

Post# 979111 , Reply# 6   1/20/2018 at 07:21 (908 days old) by iej (Ireland)        

Induction can (very rapidly) heat a frying pan to smoking oil temperatures. They're a LOT safer than radiant electric elements or gas but NEVER put your hand on the surface of the induction hob after its had a frying pan or hot pot on it.

You will get as nasty a burn as if you touched the pan as it has been sitting in contact with the glass. The heat is generated by the pan but it is still hot enough to burn. Also if there's an empty pot or pan in use you still can generate temperatures high enough to start a fire. So I wouldn't suggest placing anything between the surface and the cookware. You could easily get temperatures of several hundred degrees.

Post# 979115 , Reply# 7   1/20/2018 at 08:00 (907 days old) by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
My 30 YO Kenmore Induction CK

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Quickly shuts down if a pan heats up to around 500F, As a result we have never come to having a fire even though I covered the CT with newspaper for years to speed cleanup or when I have set a skillet on it with a small amount of oil in a pan and left the kitchen with the pan on high heat, it just gets nice and brown smokes a little and shuts down.


And yes the CK glass gets pretty hot from a pan sitting on it it, but it is most unlikely you would get a serious burn if you touched it after a pot was removed, now the skillet is another matter, that could burn you.


After 30 years of using this CT without a single second of problems I am constantly amazed with how well induction cooking works, and we have used it, there have been many dinner parties for as many as 85 people prepared in this kitchen, diners and events that took days to prepare.


John L.

Post# 979123 , Reply# 8   1/20/2018 at 09:40 (907 days old) by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
If it's thin enough and if it's

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Truly rated to take the heat, I guess it's nothing more than hysterical anal-retentiveness.

If, however, it's too thick or preventing cooks from using the full area of induction or, worst of all - emitting dangerous gases or flammable at frying temperatures - it's foolish.

You can't win those things, though.

One never can. 

Post# 979139 , Reply# 9   1/20/2018 at 11:25 (907 days old) by Rolls_rapide (0)        

Comparing Induction hobs (a portable) to standard Ceramic hobs, the induction is far, far superior for control and cleaning.

Spillages tend to 'dry on' rather than 'burn/bake on' as with a standard ceramic hob. They're easily cleaned off - even with a damp cloth alone. Ceramic hobs on the other hand, usually need a cleaning agent to remove the cremated deposits.

I like the regularly pulsed accurate simmering, rather than having to gauge the simmerstat of a conventional cooker hob.

Post# 979159 , Reply# 10   1/20/2018 at 13:43 (907 days old) by iej (Ireland)        

The first induction hob (cook top) in my household was installed in 1996 - a fairly standard french De Dietrich 4 zone hob. It was swapped out for a Miele in 2017 when the kitchen was rebuilt. The De Dietrich still looks new and was passed onto a friend of mine who will hopefully get a few years out of it yet! It hardly has any scratches, despite pretty heavy use for 21 years!!

Unless you're absolutely brutalising the hob with very poor quality pots and dragging them around and bashing them into it, it really shouldn't scratch.

My main advice is always clean the hob with actual ceramic hob (cook top) cleaner and not just any old product.

Cleaning induction surfaces is incredibly easy. You just wipe with a damp cloth. A microfibre cloth will usually remove anything as nothing really can burn onto the surface.

My only advice is always use good quality stainless steel or cast iron pots. Unless they've got some kind of very rough edges on the base, there's really no reason why you should ever see scratches.

Post# 979381 , Reply# 11   1/21/2018 at 21:57 (906 days old) by henene4 (Germany)        
Really don't see the need to either

Having basicly learned to cook on induction, I don't see the need for the matt. It would rather irritate me tbh as my mind would not want to mix silicone and a frying pans bottom at any point.

We as a family used to slide pots around on the surfaces a lot and our unit is installed so that the outside lights shining in from the windows make any scatch visible.
And over the 3 years we have our current unit, there are several clearly visible scratches and and overall pattern of verry fine kind of micros scratches.
It's not bad, if you just walk past it, you won't recognize it. If you look at it, you will see them, but it's pretty much like a Gorilla Glass phone screen after some time: There are scratches, but really, they shouldn't bother anyone.

After some years, you will get some slight discoloration of the surfaces anyway. At least I notice that the areas frequently subjected to heat, are most often covered by pan/pot bottons and contain the most frequent spills always have some slight residue like look to them. On our unit, I see that most when its perfectly clean and the sun shines onto it at a verry flat angle. Otherwise, barely noticeable.
The only times I have not seen this is if every pan and pot had literally 0 marks on their bottoms and cooking was done on an OCD level of care.

We used just normal dish washing liquid and vinegar to clean it.
It is basicly like any glass surface and can be treated like it.
As ceran kind of glass is designed to be verry insensitive to changes in temperature, there also should be no harm in wipeing over a hot surface with a damp cloth, though of course you should prevent it. Doing that however can help if something has stuck to the surface unit.

At some point I'll try to snap a pic of the cooktop (normal radiant unit though) in our flat here. It's ages old and had been used by careless students for years. One unit dosen't work, one unit is verry wonky and the entire set will be replaced soon, but the surface still looks decent for its age IMO.

Post# 979388 , Reply# 12   1/22/2018 at 02:35 (906 days old) by Aquarius1984 (Planet earth)        

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Itís absolute rot that you need to use a special job cleaner on induction. A bowl of warm soapy water is all you need and a quick wipe over. Any regular kitchen spray will clean it perfectly if you feel the need. The specialist hob cleaners are a total waste of money and do very little for the extra money.

Donít waste your money on marketing hype,

Post# 979392 , Reply# 13   1/22/2018 at 04:32 (906 days old) by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

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Silpat mats are rated up to 480F.  But, the Silpat website says,


"Can I use Silpat® on the stove top?
Never use Silpat® on direct heat, stovetops or hot plates. Never use Silpat® on the bottom of an oven, on a grill or with a broiler."


But induction wouldn't really be direct heat, would it? 

Post# 979406 , Reply# 14   1/22/2018 at 08:33 (905 days old) by joeekaitis (Rialto, California, USA)        
"But induction wouldn't really be direct heat, . . .

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The heat from the bottom of the pan is in direct contact so it could be considered "direct heat".  Better safe than sorry.

Post# 979408 , Reply# 15   1/22/2018 at 08:48 (905 days old) by foraloysius (Leeuwarden, Friesland, the Netherlands)        

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To be precise it would be direct heat from the bottom of the pan, not from the burner.

When I used kitchen paper because something had boiled over, it wasn't on high heat and because the kitchen paper was a bit wet too, I think there was no danger.

My experience with cleaning is that the glass cleans better when it's cooled off. When the burner is still warm, it takes more of an effort to get it 100% clean.

Post# 979410 , Reply# 16   1/22/2018 at 09:30 (905 days old) by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
I think we sometimes get stuck in the past

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Early ceramic hobs were frequently destroyed, quite inadvertently, by users dropping cast iron skillets on them (my dad did that) or scratched really badly by people scuffing heaving pans back and forth across them with grit trapped underneath them whilst popping corn (my dad did that) or making candy and leaving big gouges when they removed the caramelized sugar (my dad did that, too).

It's 2018.

Time to accept that anyone who will be using one in a commercial kitchen either has a clue or is going to be so inept a $40,000 Wolf range wouldn't survive them.

As to the whole silicone mat thing, won't that end up looking awful so quickly people will throw it away? Or, it will trap grit under it and then the real fun begins.

In any event, induction hobs have limited lifespans. They don't last forever, so worrying about minor scratches is pointless. In 20 years, this one will have been replaced at least once.

Post# 979457 , Reply# 17   1/22/2018 at 16:21 (905 days old) by kb0nes (Burnsville, MN)        

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All this seems like a lot of worry over problems that really don't exist.

Glass/ceramic isn't that easy to scratch, it is a pretty hard surface. Apart from having some sand like grit under the pan I don't expect moving the cookware around to cause any real scratch hazard.

The Silicone mat won't effect the induction cooking in any negative way. The only issue is that the cooktop won't be able to sense the cookware temp as well if it does this.

The Silicone mat will safely survive the cooking temperatures experienced between the cooktop and the cookware. Silicone is easily good to 500F and that is a temperature you are unlikely to reach for any significant period of time. You are well into the smoke point of any oil at that temp. The concern of using the Silpad on a "direct heat" cooktop doesn't apply to induction. A traditional smooth cooktop will operate at temperatures of up to 1000F, this is their concern.

I have done the newspaper under the frying pan trick on my induction cooktop many times while frying food. The paper has never done more then discolor a little and I have had the pan blazing hot. The Silicone would be just fine, but I still can't really see a reason to use it in the first place.

Post# 979465 , Reply# 18   1/22/2018 at 18:14 (905 days old) by iej (Ireland)        

The main reason the custom hob cleaners are useful is they usually contain a protective coating thatís useful if you are extremely precious about micro scratches.

Some harsher kitchen cleaning creams are actually quite abrasive to glass and highly polished surfaces.

Post# 979510 , Reply# 19   1/22/2018 at 20:59 (905 days old) by earthling177 (Boston, MA)        

Not only do I agree with James above, but I think that's *exactly* why so many people have difficulties with induction cooktops or, worse, radiant smooth tops.

There was a big red label on my range glass-ceramic cooktop (in my case, I think it's made by Eurokera, instead of Ceran) telling the user to clean the top with Cerama-Bryte (it included a small bottle) *first* thing, before even turning on/using the stovetop.

I think that people get excited to try the new toy, and use it first before cleaning.

When you clean first, you remove all the residues from manufacturing and you allow the compounds in the cleaner to leave a silicone (or similar) layer that protects the surface from stuff that will then cook and stick to the glass surface, making it harder to clean.

You don't have to use cleaners like Cerama Bryte all the time, but using it regularly has made our stovetop very easy to clean and keep clean.

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