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I'm in the US. I have an electric stove with three 6" burners, and one 8". The 8" burner doesn't perform like I think it used to, so I'm considering replacing it, to see if it improves. (It's slow to heat up, and intermittently adjusts unevenly throughout the temperature range. I think it's intermittently turning off more than it's supposed to, at least when it's not on high.)

I was browsing for replacement burners, and saw that the coils come with different numbers of turns, at different prices.

  1. Could I replace the burner with one that has a different number of coils? (The current 8" burner has 4 coils. I saw replacements with 4 and 6.)

  2. If so, what is the difference in performance between more / fewer coils? i.e. Why would I consider spending more for the 6-turn element?

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  • In terms of cooking, it's mostly just surface area. The more surface area, the more even the heating of the pan. Before buying a new one, though, did you first remove the existing one and clean the contact points well? – DA01 May 4 '15 at 14:19
  • @DA01, haven't tried that yet - I will. Surface area makes sense. I take it you're implying compatibility. What about energy use? Any other differences? – cp.engr May 9 '15 at 16:01
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IMHO:

The number of coils does make a minor difference in the time it takes to heat the burner; on the one with the extra coils, the coil's elements are usually smaller and therefor heat faster and cool faster. The extra turns make up for the smaller coils.

You have to look at the ratings of the different coils. Are they the same wattage? Are the connections the same? (will the new one plug into the existing stove?

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  • Re "IMHO", why is it just your opinion, and not a demonstrable fact? Are you unsure? – cp.engr May 2 '15 at 21:22
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    Because I don't presume to know everything. – Ernest Filomarino May 4 '15 at 1:45
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Poor performance like this could be either the burner coil or the burner controller or in the wiring that connects them which includes the socket the coil plugs into.

The burner coil is very easy to replace and relatively cheap, but before I did that I would measure its resistance and see if that fits with specs. I just measured the resistance of one of our 8 inch 6 coil burner and got 22.6 ohm. Right now I can't say for sure what is the specified wattage, but I guess 2500 W.

EDIT

The expected resistance R of one of these coil burners is given by R = V²/P, where V in the US is 240 V, and P is the power rating of the burner coil in Watts. If the power rating of my larger burners is 2500 W, then the expected resistance of the burner would be 240²/2500 = 23.0 ohm. Thus the expected and measured resistance (22.6 ohm) are in close agreement.

I measured the resistance of one of my smaller burners and got 38.6 ohm. The expected resistance of a 1500 W burner R = 240²/1500 = 38.4 ohm, perfect agreement.

However, the burners on our range (GE about 28 years in service) are not working as they should because the controllers are not working properly. On all four they do not heat at all on the lower settings. We have to turn the knobs well past the lowest settings to get any heat. We are just accepting this, but I may decide to install new burner controllers.

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