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Monday, 14 July 2008

Electric Hobs Buying Advice

Electric hobs are more popular then ever before, partly due to the shift in living trends and cooking styles. With more of us living in apartments it seems that electric hobs are the safest option for housing developers. The regulations and responsibilites involved with fitting gas hobs is no longer practical.
Hobs are becoming a style point in modern kitchens, and are accordingly available in all colours, materials such as stainless steel and interesting designs. The traditional shape of the kitchen hob is changing. Usually they are 60cm wide and have 4 cooking zones, but now the extra wide models are offering cooks the chance to have more flexibility. The extended cooking zones give a cooling off segment, helping to time the preperation of food to perfection. The touch controls give fine temperature control, and the timer allows you to concentrate on other things and leave the hob to control the cooking time.
A halogen hob cooking zone is located beneath a ceramic glass hob. Heat comes from a halogen element, which has a fast response time.
A ceramic hob is newer technology, and the most popular electric variant. This is mainly as it offers the best value for money (induction is still relatively exspensive). Choose from touch controls or dial, and trim or no trim (reffered to as bevelled edge or frameless).
With induction, the metal pan completes the circuit, giving fast heat and prompt switch off when removed. Boiling point for a pan of water comes quicker than with most kettles - around 90 seconds for a pint of water. Because the heat is only supplied where the pan sits, the spillage doesn't burn onto the cooking surface, meaning easier cleaning after finishing using the hob.
Wide hobs with five or six zones offer flexibility but consider your usage before choosing – if your kitchen accommodates more than one cook at once, position the hob away from the oven. If you cook for a large family, more than four zones may be useful, and if you have young children it may be worth considering paying a little extra for a hob child lock.
Remember these basics about electric hobs:
Ceramic hobs are not supplied with a cable and require installation by a qualified electricianCeramic hobs are very tough, but it is still possible to scratch them in normal useMake sure you have the correct power feed for the hob
Energy efficiency should always be remembered when using your hob. There are a few easy ways to save energy when cooking which can also speed up the amount of time you spend over a hot stove. Always use the correct size pan, and when heating water only use the amount you need so the electricity is not burning unnecessarily to heat the excess. If only using a small pan, then use a smaller zone.
For new developments, the organisation NicEic helps regulate and control the trade industry on installation of electric hobs. NICEIC is the electrical contracting industry’s independent voluntary body for electrical installation matters throughout the UK. They offer industry-leading certification services, Building Regulations Schemes, products and support to electrical contractors and many other trades within the construction industry.

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