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I'm in a new house, and the cook is getting frustrated with our new cooktop. Water takes a long time to boil and when it finally does, there is no way to simmer as it is now too hot. Is this normal behavior? How can I test the stove for normal operation?

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You might get some better answers at cooking.stackexchange.com –  ChrisP Dec 5 '10 at 19:53
    
Being a "new" house that I've found slightly faulty but repairable appliances (fridge, water heater, A/C), I wasn't sure if the problem was the stove or the user, so I asked here. Judging from the answers and comments, it seems the stove is fine electrically and that we need to be figure out how to use it correctly. –  Joseph Dec 5 '10 at 22:57
    
Is it an induction cooktop? If so, are your pots/pans compatible with an induction cooktop? –  msemack Dec 6 '10 at 16:07
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2 Answers 2

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I had the exact same experience after my wife bought a glass top stove for our kitchen. I had many pots boil over and burn the first year and I hated the beast. It took some experience and practice to get a feel for how the glass stove performs. I eventually learned how to anticipate something coming to a boil and turning down the heat early enough to avoid a problem, though it still happens at times. Simmering a covered pot takes a far lower setting than you would naturally think if you have are used to a gas stove.

It is not like a gas stove where you can turn down the heat and immediately see a change. The glass stove tops take a little longer to get up to temperature and then retains heat for some time after you turn down the setting. I think this is normal behavior.

I agree with woodchips' advice about checking the bottom of your cookware for flatness. The more surface area in direct contact with the glass the better it will work.

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A reason for this may be your pots and pans. A glass cooktop works best with flat bottomed pans. This gives better heat transfer into the pan from the cooktop.

Take a straightedge, and place it against the bottom of your pans. If they are deeply dished or they are warped, then you may need a new set of pans.

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All electric stoves have control issues - they just don't change as fast as gas stoves. However, the trade off (at least in my experience of coil-type electric stoves) is that they are usually fast heating. If your glass is that slow, I'm betting you aren't getting good contact, and thus even worse control. Also, don't hesitate to keep extra burners set to lower temps and move puts between burners as needed. –  Michael Kohne Dec 5 '10 at 20:17
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I have installed many glass top ranges in the past few years. None of them have the instant control of an open element electric or gas range, even the very expensive ones.(Jenn Air is not bad, not great, but best I've seen so far) Even though I tell my customers about this, they love the glass tops. I really feel the trade off is looks for performance. –  shirlock homes Dec 5 '10 at 21:21
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We do enjoy ours, for the ease of cleaning, no messy burners that are less than fun to maintain. Concerning the speed of heating, perhaps in this world we have become too impatient. A few seconds or minutes more is not that bad a thing. –  user558 Dec 6 '10 at 11:21
    
Yup. Basically the warped pan and pot bottoms will "Trick" the stove in to thininkg contact is not being made and the stove scales back the heat as a safety measure. –  mohlsen Dec 6 '10 at 14:56
    
@mohlsen - thanks for that. I was just getting ready to post a comment asking why contact mattered so much if the heat is radiant. –  Mike Powell Dec 6 '10 at 15:15
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