induction cooking boiling water

The pros and cons of cooking with induction come up quite a lot at AlbionBKE. (You could say customer requests have reached boiling point). So, we’ve put together this handy induction hob buying guide and answered your hot topics.

 

Q. Are there different types of induction hob?

Yes! And the differences aren’t talked about enough. There are three kinds of induction hob you need to be aware of when deciding on what’s right for your cooking needs.

  1. Plug-in: The less disruptive option, ideal for replacing a gas hob as there’s no extra electrical expense. It does the job and is ideal for everyday standard cooking.
  2. 20-amp induction: you’ll need a 30 amp supply of electricity for this (6mm cable). You’ll find your rings reach temperature a little bit faster with the extra bit of juice.
  3. 32-amp induction: the most expensive but most versatile option. Some come with flexi-zones, which allow you to join two or more heating elements together — ideal for heating larger pans or griddles. This powerful induction hob uses a standard cooker cable (6/10mm cable). This means you’ll get the greatest power – and fastest cooking – out of your induction hob.

Q. How does an induction hob work?

An induction hob has a surface made from ceramic glass. Underneath the hob are induction coils made from copper wire. The coils create a magnetic field as soon as you supply a cooking zone  with electricity.

Q. Will I need new pans for cooking with induction?

Cooking with induction may require new pans. Your pans must have a ferrous metal base to use induction (some aluminium pans have a metal encased base). To check, see if a magnet (grab one off the fridge) will stick to the bottom of the pan. Place a pan without a metal base on the induction hob and it won’t detect it so will remain cold.

Stainless steel, aluminium, copper, glass or hard anodised will not work unless they have an induction plate built into the base.

Cast iron cookware and any pan made from some form of ferrous material will work.

The pan must have a flat base, to ensure good conductivity. It must also be close in size to the induction ring.

You can also look for an “induction compatible” symbol which looks like this: 

Q. How easy are they to use?

All induction hobs are touch sensitive with the power controlled by either pressing an up or down arrow or sliding your finger along a power bar. The heat selected is usually output on the hob as a number making it easy to select where you need to be to cook the perfect dish. Once you get the hang of it you’ll be able to set the correct number depending on what you’re cooking.

Q. Is it safe to use?

Yes. Electrical and magnetic fields are found on all devices driven by electricity. Such as washing machines, vacuum cleaners and hair dryers. There are internationally recognised limits and standards that all manufacturers adhere to.

If you remove the pan the hob stops cooking and will switch itself off automatically after a short period of time. Additionally there will be an indicator showing which ‘ring’ has recently been on and that it may still have some residual heat. If you worry about those little fingers touching the buttons you can activate the child lock feature.  

Q. Is cooking with induction something I can afford?

Let’s not beat around the bush here. Induction hobs will cost you more to buy than traditional electric or gas. It’s like buying a smartphone over a basic mobile phone — the technology is more advanced. But the price of induction is inching downward. You have to think about how induction enables you to cook any type of dish faster. Add that to the potential savings you can make on your energy bills and you’ll start to see your return on investment.

Cooking with induction Mereway Kitchens

Image credit: Mereway Kitchens

Mereway Kitchens Segreto range

It’s about time someone unravelled the myths surrounding cooking with induction. How does an induction hob work? Is it really cheaper than gas or electric? Can I use it with my existing pans?

Here’s everything you need to know about your new kitchen investment before you make the switch.

1. Top-notch fast food

carrots and peas boiling in a pan

Speed is one of the greatest selling points for induction cooking. Thanks to some pretty cool technology, your pans will heat up quicker which means it takes less time to cook the foods you eat every day — 25 to 50 percent less time, in fact.

Induction removes the middleman – flames and electric – to transfer heat to the pan. It uses electromagnetic activity to generate heat directly in the pan instead.

That means it takes less time to sear your steak to medium, bring your soup to serving temperature and brown your onions.

2. Stay in the heat of the moment

Generating heat directly in the pan means more heat gets to the food and less of it warms up your kitchen. As you’d expect, this comes with increased energy efficiency with an added bonus of increased personal comfort when you cook (i.e you’re less likely to work up a sweat while cooking). So you can cook a romantic dinner for two in more than just your apron — some may call this a downside, others call it a blessing in disguise.

Steak with gravy and vegetables

No energy was wasted in the cooking of this steak

At the time of writing, that means lower electricity bills compared to an electric hob and a healthier environment.

Notice how I didn’t mention gas cooking? Let’s bust that myth….

Right now, gas is still cheaper than induction. To put this into numbers, the average annual running cost of a gas hob is £16, electric a staggering £50 and induction is a middling £34.

3. Safety first

Hand touching induction hobThere are no open flames and cooking surfaces cool quickly. So you can wave goodbye to one of the most dangerous places in the kitchen. Hot surfaces no longer pose threat to little hands or pesky paws. Plus, no flames mean no chance of grease fires. Or, the occasional mishap with tinfoil when you pull your tray of chips from the oven.

The heat is instantly under control. Since the heat is created in the pan itself, induction hobs don’t get all that hot. The pan’s response to turning off the ring is almost instant. As soon as you turn off the heat the pan cools down.

4. Be the head chef every night

vegetables on induction hob

There’s a reason you’ll hear the likes of Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver say they prefer gas to electric. It’s because gas burners are more responsive. But what they don’t mention is that induction hobs are just as responsive as gas to a turn of the dial. Gas has less choice. You’re stuck with the lowest heat you can get out, which, even on the smallest ring, often isn’t low enough to create the perfect slow-cooked bolognese.

With more settings, induction makes cooking delicate sauces or just keeping food from burning much easier. You can use a built-in electronic timer to make overcooking your food a thing of the past. The rings switch off automatically when the timer goes off. Now that’s smart cooking!

5. Bang! And the dirt is gone

Woman's hand cleaning induction hob with cloth

Get your dinner to the table faster, with less wasted heat, less forehead sweat, less risk of burning yourself and a less intensive cleanup exercise after. A spitting pan, a pasta sauce splatter or a boiled over mess will not burn on. All you need to do is give it a quick swipe of the sponge — it can be as easy as an ad for Cillit Bang.

You can avoid the cleanup altogether by placing a tea towel or kitchen roll under your pan. Yes, I said it and no it won’t burn. If your pan boils over, then the mess is absorbed. It’s amazing what technology can do these days…

6. A hob for the design-conscious

Mereway Futura Tobacco Oak kitchen

Image credit: Mereway Kitchens

Looks are important when planning your new kitchen. You spend a lot of time in there — a lot of life’s important conversations are started in the kitchen.

With induction, you no longer are bound by the same dated design. An induction hob is designed to blend into the decor of your kitchen seamlessly and look like it’s part of the worktop. There’s a degree of flexibility and a contemporary feel.

Induction won’t burn a hole in your pocket

Let’s not beat around the bush here. Induction hobs will cost you more to buy than traditional electric or gas. It’s like buying a smartphone over a basic mobile phone — the technology is more advanced. However, the price of induction is inching downward. You have to think about how induction enables you to cook any type of dish faster. Add that to the potential savings you can make on your energy bills and you’ll start to see your return on investment.

Simmer down and talk to our team about making the switch today.

AlbionBKE Showroom Burton on Trent

This month, B&Q announced the permanent closure of its Homefit service by December 2018. Meanwhile, our complete kitchen and bathroom services remain as simple as ever. Here’s our view on why choosing local means better customer service.

Your local fitters will thank you

While it may seem like I am paid to say this, the fact remains that your local fitters are probably chuffed with the news. It is their full time job, their living, the thing that gets them up in the morning — and they’re no longer competing with one of many multi-billion pound companies taking a slice of the proverbial local-fitting pie.  

When a friend shares a picture of their newly fitted kitchen or bathroom on social media, you pause to study the pictures as if it’s a new Picasso painting. We all do it — either out of intrigue or sheer jealousy at their creation. You take a moment to appreciate the quality of the work.

But how many times do you see a company like B&Q post a picture of Joe Bloggs’ new kitchen down the road?

Local fitters use social media in this way to build trust with their customers. It’s why we proudly share our fitter’s handiwork on our Facebook page at all given opportunities. Here’s a bathroom we completed for one happy customer earlier this year:

Bathroom fitted by AlbionBKE

Speaking from experience (more than 12 years of it, in fact)

Our Managing Director, Dave Jarvis, experienced the B&Q Homefit service firsthand a good decade ago (before AlbionBKE’s inception) but ask him about it again today and the stories will keep on coming. He had a poor customer experience that left him out of pocket wondering what possessed him to upgrade the kitchen in the first place.

Disgruntled ex-customer feelings aside, Dave developed a sixth sense. He knew a good fitter from a bad one from the beginning. It’s one of the many reasons why AlbionBKE leaves its customers with a feeling of balance between affordability and great customer service.

Delivering the moon on a stick

B&Q have a select number of kitchen and bathroom suppliers. What you see in store, give or take a few online exclusives, is what you get. We’ve done some counting and AlbionBKE has access to 2 million kitchen and bathroom products. Yes, you heard right. 2 million. We’re Burton’s largest independent bathroom and kitchen provider.

You’ve heard of the phrase “promising the moon on a stick”? Well AlbionBKE can deliver that moon and it won’t cost you the earth (delivery is even free if you’re in the local area).

You could walk out of our showroom with every brochure we have, but we would recommend that you back your car up to our front door. You can come into the showroom when you want, we’ll design your dream kitchen or bathroom, give you some personal advice and guidance to go away and think about – along with a handful of brochures – while we get to work on your quotation.

Kitchen worktop samples stand

Just look at all these kitchen worktop choices. Photo credit: Chris Upton Photography

You’ll deal with one of our seasoned sales team and we’ll recommend one of our experienced fitters. Have your own fitter you would like to use? We’ll treat your installer like he is one of our own. Your delivery will arrive at an agreed time and with a friendly face at the wheel — who you may have already met during your visit to our showroom. None of this third-party delivery nonsense directing the driver to your door. We’re local and we don’t do vague four hour delivery slots.

Making home improvement accessible for everyone

AlbionBKE’s motto is not only about making things easier for our customers, but making your kitchen or bathroom a place that you love.

From bijou bathroom spaces to specialist bathrooms for disabled people and others with specialised needs, no matter the challenge, our team’s combined industry experience of over 50 years can make your dreams a reality.

Not only do we want to be the leading home improvement company locally, but we will make sure that our services remain simple, easy and affordable, like we have for the last 12 years.

You could say we do everything and the kitchen sink. Pun intended.

AlbionBKE showroom kitchens

Photo credit: Chris Upton Photography

So if you like what you’ve seen on our Facebook page, and you like our way of thinking, come and pay us a visit. We can’t promise the playful puns will stop, but we can promise you’ll walk away feeling you’ve received excellent customer service.

dining area of Summer kitchen

No, this isn’t a post about cleaning out the bins or having a fully-stocked pantry. It’s about getting your kitchen fired-up for entertaining this Summer.

It’s almost that time of year again: The house becomes more of a hotel for extended family get-togethers and spontaneous barbecues with friends and neighbours. But is your kitchen up to the task?

This isn’t about cleaning your cupboards or defrosting the freezer. It’s a practical guide on how to make your kitchen a space that works for any Summer occasion.

Here are our top 5 recommendations to ensure the compliments roll in…

1. Get the right kitchen storage solutions for socialising

Even with your best efforts, your guests will ask you for something that isn’t out on the table already. When they go on the hunt, not only do you want every cupboard they go in to show-off your practical design choices, but you should also apply some logic to their location in the kitchen. Like, for example, storing things for the oven right next to it.

utensils stored next to oven in Summer

Photo by Nathan Kirkman

As the old saying goes: “a place for everything and everything in its place”

One of our favourite suppliers, Mereway Kitchens, offers a range of storage solutions to make your kitchen top-drawer. If you’re constantly struggling to find what you need in the kitchen, this is a really good place to start.

Pans can be expensive. And yet more often than not we stash them away like they’re on a timeout for arguing with the utensils. Stacking them one inside the other is old-hat and there are plenty of more efficient ways to consider:

Pans hung by their handles in a cupboard

The same goes for knives. But you’ve also got to think about keeping them away from small hands at your parties. Here’s our favourite solution:

knives stored under kitchen wall cabinets

2. Have enough seats without bringing the office chair out of the study

Let’s try to put an end to the seating plans, the pointing at seats and the counting on the fingers to decide who will sit where. Your seating should be designed to bring people together where possible.

Do you have a breakfast bar? If so there could be additional seating space hiding right under your nose…

While breakfast bars have become very desirable, you need to ask yourself: is it a practical use of space? Weigh-up how often you use it as seating and how often it is simply used as an extra worktop and you may have your answer.  

You could build your seating space into your kitchen island. Here’s our favourite use of space to get the most from your kitchen:

Pale grey and marble effect worktop kitchen with island It’s also a good idea to have a separate table for the children outside. Chances are, they’ll be out in your garden with the old toys that grandma brought round anyway.

3. Serving spaces for Summer soirées

Out come the serving dishes that you’ve retrieved from the back of your cupboards for the occasion and rapidly dusted. But, when your guests also bring their own side dishes too, you’ll quickly find yourself scrabbling for space. While there’s some pretty nifty storage solutions on Pinterest, we’d recommend an extra table for the occasion. There’s plenty of affordable DIY ways to create a table that you can easily store away in the Winter months. Here’s our top-pick:lady folding out DIY blue picnic table and bench

There’s another option to get more from your breakfast bar. Remember: it isn’t just for breakfast. Repurpose it during the summer as your ‘hydration station’, a space to present drinks dispensers, beverages and glasses/plastic cups. You get to show off your wise choice of worktop too.drinks dispensers on a table in Summer4. Make sure you’ve got an oven that can take the heat

Barbecues are no longer just about the burger. They haven’t been for a while. Your guests expect more sides and more variety – including gluten-free dishes. Some of which you know will have to be cooked in the oven. There’s also plate warming to consider. So is your set-up suited to the task of entertaining?

Neff supply some great built-in oven options for those who need something energy efficient and practical that makes ingenious use of the space. While the price ranges from budget to luxury, our favourite model is this super-easy-to-clean double oven:

Neff double oven with grill

5. Get even more space with a bigger project

So you may not have the space your neighbour has right now, but you can change that. You need somewhere for guests to take their shoes off, children to wash their hands, and go to the toilet without traipsing upstairs.

Our recommendation? Scrap that conservatory extension idea and extend your kitchen instead, or add a utility room for your washing machine. Keep your objective in mind: creating space that not only brings your garden and kitchen together, but that works for you.

dining area of Summer kitchen

We just love this stylish kitchen extension from Kelly and Darren in West London

Looking to start your kitchen project for the Summer? Turn your aspirations into a reality by coming to visit our showroom today or book a free home consultation.

If you’re still not done searching for your Summer-ready kitchen, there’s plenty more ideas on our Pinterest page to inspire you.