Exploring gas to induction conversion

We’ve had a gas burning cooktop for as long as I’ve lived in my current home (which is many years). For several reasons I’ve recently been thinking of having the gas cooktop removed and switching to an electrical induction cooktop.

  • Gas is a fossil fuel, and I don’t really want to be burning it.
  • Burning gas produces waste products known to exacerbate asthma and other respiratory conditions. Although I don’t suffer from these, it’s clearly got to be healthier not to be burning this stuff in my home.
  • Burning gas also produces water vapour, contributing to internal humidity. This became a major concern over the past couple of years of unusually wet and damp weather we’ve been having here, where keeping mould at bay has become harder and harder. Anything to reduce humidity in the home has to be welcome.
  • Natural gas prices are predicted to outpace the rise in electricity prices, so in the long run this is going to save money.
  • The gas cooktop is a bit old now and has accumulated wear and grime that is difficult to clean because of the shapes.
  • An induction cooktop should be safer, in terms of potential gas leakage, and also burn hazard.
  • As a bonus, if we ditch gas we can cap the gas line at the wall behind the oven, which will free up some depth behind the oven – so that we can push the oven all the way into the cabinet space. We replaced our oven a few years back when the original one kicked the bucket, and it turned out that a standard depth oven wouldn’t fit into the gap in the cabinet work, because the gas line for the cooktop protrudes from the wall too far, blocking it from being pushed in. There were no similar ovens of lesser depth, so ever since then we’ve been living with our oven protruding from the cabinetry by about 4 centimetres. being able to push it all the way in flush with the cabinetry would be awesome.

So anyway, I’ve had the thought to get onto this for some time now. Today I decided to start seriously looking at options. I checked a couple of models of induction cooktop from retailer websites and found some that have good reviews. And then I checked the installation dimensions. One model I liked the look of says it fits in a 560 mm wide cut-out hole in the bench top. The existing gas cooktop is about the same size…

I pulled the oven out a bit so I could poke around under the gas cooktop. I found I could push it up a centimetre or so and, with a bit of awkward difficulty, see the cut-out hole it sits in. I wedged some post-it notes under the lip of the cooktop, lined up with the edges of the hole as best I could manage, and then measured the distance between those with a tape measure. 555 mm. Great.

I did a search for induction cooktops with a smaller cut-out width, and found one that was listed at 555 mm. It cost $800 more than the first one I found. So… if I assume the measurements are all correct, I can either pay $800 extra for a very slightly narrower cooktop, or I can find a stonecutter to cut the solid granite bench top to widen the hole by 5 mm. So I need to get a quote to find out how much that will cost.

Although… it’s highly possible that one or more of these measurements are sightly off. In particular, I’m not sure of the accuracy of my own measurement. To see how big the cut-out is, I really need to remove the gas cooktop first, so I have full access to it. But to do this I need to get a gasfitter in to disconnect the cooktop and cap the gas outlet. And once I commit to doing that – we can’t cook until a new cooktop is actually installed.

Anyway, if I do that, then I can confirm the cut-out size and either order an appropriately sized induction cooktop, or get a stonecutter in to widen the hole. And then! We need an electrician to install the induction cooktop. The gas cooktop is plugged into a standard 10 ampere power point to supply power for the spark ignition system. But an induction cooktop (the one I looked at) draws 27 A. So it needs a custom cable wired from the fusebox and an extra circuit breaker installed. The wall behind the oven and cooktop is solid brick, but there’s a power cable to the oven, so presumably there is a conduit that an extra cable could be threaded through for the new cooktop – though I don’t know how an electrician would do that.

I mentioned this to a friend, and he said there may also be a safety issue having two high amp cables running through the same channel because of potential induction effects between the cables. So… this means before I even think about having the gas cooktop disconnected and taken out so I can have a look at what size the cut-out hole is, I need to get an electrician in to look at the wiring and confirm that it can be done, staying within safety regulations (and presumably give me a quote for the work).

To summarise:

  1. Get electrician in to confirm if installation is possible and supply quote for cost.
  2. Get gasfitter in to remove gas cooktop and cap gas pipe.
  3. Measure cut-out hole accurately.
  4. (optional) Get stonecutter in to enlarge hole in granite bench top to fit preferred induction cooktop.
  5. Order induction cooktop to fit cut-out hole.
  6. When it’s delivered, have electrician back to install it with new cabling.

This is sounding like a significantly bigger project than when I first began thinking about it. I need to mull it over a bit more before deciding to either go ahead, or just live with our existing gas cooktop for a few more years. So a lot of thought and effort went into doing pretty much nothing today. I suppose I have a better idea that I don’t know if we should do this or not!

In other activities, I spent some time preparing a science lesson on the topic of weather for my occasional online science student. I have more to do on this, which I’ll do in the next few days, as the lesson is on Sunday afternoon.

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4 thoughts on “Exploring gas to induction conversion”

  1. Have you considered doing a science lesson on how complicated projects like this one are?

    Not a joke, I personally (ex-science teacher) would make the point that any real world experiment is way more complicated than any pre-grad-school science experiment, because there are so many things you have to take into account. Then you could extrapolate to, say, the James Webb telescope, which is even more complex, by orders of magnitude.

    FWIW, in the USA (or at least in my company’s service territory) any licensed plumber could do that gas work. I have no idea what the law is at the antipodeal point there. In general, there will be an appliance valve, so all she’d have to do is close the valve, disconnect the stovetop, and test for a leak, then reconnect the stovetop and open the valve, purge air from the appliance, and if necessary relight the pilot.

    1. Hmmm, interesting idea. I’ll put that one in the bank.

      Yeah, most plumbers here are licensed to do gas work. I believe you need a separate licence, but most plumbers will have it.

  2. You’re highly qualified. As an astrophysicist who knows lenses and image sensors backward and forward, the Webb telescope might even be a good example for you.

  3. Gas vs. Electric – consider the price of power from both sources – what do the power stations in your area is running on?
    Also – consider how many times a year you have power outage – where I live, winter brings at least 2 or 3 of those that can last several hours, and you can’t use electric appliances during one of those.

    I’d check combined devices – I habe seen some that can use both gas and induction in the same plate. 800$ is a lot of money.

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