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- 1 Heat Transfer in Induction Cooktops
- 2 Types of Induction Cooktop Sounds
- 3 How to Reduce Induction Cooktop Noise Levels
- 4 Final Thoughts
Most electrical devices generate noise; it's simply the nature of these machines. The induction cooktop carries the same burden of producing noise as do microwaves, dishwashers, and vacuum cleaners. Manufacturers are constantly trying to build noise-free machines but haven't gotten there yet.
You may wonder why an induction cooktop makes noise. The sound can be attributed to the fan and sometimes to the cookware.
All induction cooktops have a fan to prevent excessive heat from damaging the internal components. This cooling fan typically continues to run for a short time after the cooktop has been switched off.
Some fans in induction cooktops are loud, while the noise in others is controlled to the point of being almost inaudible. It’s worth noting that while the sound of the fan might annoy one person, another might find it soothing. For example, I don't find the sound from the fan of the Duxtop 9600LS irritating. The noise is a lot less than that of a kitchen exhaust fan.
Noises such as humming, buzzing, clicking, or a low whistle are usually attributed to the cookware. This could result from pan placement, condition of the base of the pan, material composition, and weight of the cooking vessel.
Heat Transfer in Induction Cooktops
Induction cooking uses electromagnetism to turn the cooking vessel into a cooker. Heat is generated inside the cookware as opposed to heating it from the outside.
An electromagnetic copper coil is underneath the glass-ceramic plate. The coil is situated under the cooking zone. When an induction cooktop is switched on, an alternating electric current runs through this coil.
This current in the coil creates a changing magnetic field in the space around and above the coil. However, there is no heat yet. It is only when a pan with ferromagnetic properties is introduced there is heat.
When a pan with iron or magnetized stainless steel is placed on the cooking surface (in the center of the cooking zone), the fluctuating magnetic field induces an electrical current called an eddy current in the pan. The eddy current flows through the electrical resistance (the pan's metal resists the flow) and generates heat. The pan becomes hot, and its contents are heated by conduction.
Types of Induction Cooktop Sounds
Some of the more common sounds induction hobs make are humming, buzzing, and clicking. While reading product reviews and comments on forums, the range of descriptions of the sounds was surprising.
In terms of humming – some folks didn’t hear any, while others said it was low-pitch. Clicking and ticking sounds were described as faint or none. The buzzing sound was reported to be nonexistent, slight, horrible, loud grating, or high-pitched.
There are a few reasons for the humming sound sometimes emitted from induction burners. One reason is due to the embedded fan. Most induction cooktop fans are quieter than an exhaust hood.
Another reason has to do with the cookware. JennAir attributes the humming sound heard during cooking to the energy transmitted from the appliance to the cookware. They also state the sound will quiet or go away when the power level is reduced.
The hum is also attributed to cooking temperatures. Induction cooktop owners have remarked that it is more pronounced when boiling the contents of the pot. This is in line with some consumer reviewers who note a humming sound is more noticeable when cooking at higher temperatures or using high power levels.
Induction cooktop owners also report a buzzing sound when heat is set at both lower and higher power levels. The sound appears to decrease as the food in the pan heats up.
It can also be heard if the pan's bottom is crooked and vibrates or if the pan has an encapsulated disc bottom. Fully-clad induction cookware with thick cladding doesn't make as much noise as those with disc bottoms.
Two accepted explanations for a "low whistle" sound emitted from an induction stove or cooktop.
First, this sound is sometimes heard if the pan does not cover the element ring entirely. Most cooktops have placement guides for centering pots and pans.
Second, if more than one pan or pot is being used on a double induction cooktop, a built-in unit, or an induction range, then you might hear a low whistle sound. This is due to the proximity of the cookware to one other. A solution is to lower or raise the power level settings.
A clicking noise can have three causes. First, the control cycle switches the power on and off. This sound doesn’t usually last for long stretches.
Second, this noise sometimes occurs when a low-power setting is used. Third, the type of cookware may play a part in these noises. When cast iron is used, a clicking noise is barely audible.
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How to Reduce Induction Cooktop Noise Levels
Lower the Temperature
The higher the temperature while cooking, the more prone the induction cooktop will be to make a noise. Lower the temperatures, if possible, to create a more steady supply of heat.
The Base of Cookware Should be Flat
Wobbly pans and pots are one reason for excessive noises. Select only cookware that sits flat on the induction surface.
Heavier Pots Works Better
Cast iron cookware is ideal for induction cooktops for two reasons.
First, heavier cookware produces much less noise than lighter weight multi-ply stainless steel since it sits firmly on the surface without wobbling or moving involuntarily.
Second, a large cast iron skillet fits well on the glass surface and completely cover the element. When a cooking vessel covers the entire element, vibrations are eliminated or lessened. A "whistling" sound is less likely to be heard.
Use One-piece Cookware
Noise emission on induction stoves can be lessened by using one-piece cooking, e.g., cast iron skillets, carbon steel pans, or enameled steel pans.
Use Large Cookware that Covers the Element
When you cook something on the induction cooktop, ensure the cookware covers the cover element. Under the surface is a copper coil that distributes electromagnetic currents to the cookware. If the pot or pan is too small to cover the element, it causes a vibration which results in a whistling sound.
Avoid Loose-Fitting Handles
If your pan’s handle isn’t securely fitted to the base, it will cause a vibration when you’re cooking. The same is true for lids that don't fit tightly on the cookware.
Select Your Power Levels Wisely
Using high temperatures to cook with while using lightweight cookware can cause a buzzing noise. The energy flow generated by the higher setting creates a vibration in the system, leading to some noise.
Most people don’t enjoy a noisy kitchen, especially if you’re juggling doing other tasks while cooking. Noise from cookware can be reduced or eliminated.
Placing the pan in the center of the cooking zone and ensuring the entire element is cover are good practices. Using a heavier pan such as cast iron or carbon steel produce less than disc bottom stainless steel pans.
If you are using a two burner induction cooktop, try altering the power level settings on one or both of the burners.
Let us know if you have other noise reduction tips to share with our readers.