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Choosing the right stove for your house
It’s common knowledge that kitchen renovations add serious value to your home, about 65 to 80 percent of your kitchen investment, but choosing the right appliances can at times seem daunting, especially if you’re on a budget.
“Kitchens are becoming a status symbol, the jewelry of the house,” says architect Louis Cherry. Beautifully designed products often integrate high-tech features, attracting buyers who enjoy cooking. But are they worth the price?
“Most buyers do prefer gas to electric and few cook with convection or induction,” says Tonya Wicker Hunt and Kim Thompson of Coldwell Banker HPW. “Unless the home is located in an upscale community and is geared to serve the needs of the gourmet home chef, a good quality gas range is what most are looking for in their home.”
“The choice between a gas or electric range is oftentimes dictated by the home’s access to gas,” adds Alexis Warren, showroom consultant at Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery in Raleigh. However, if your neighborhood has gas but you don’t, the gas company will generally run a gas line to your house at minimal cost. The question becomes what’s your style of cooking and which kind of range—gas, electric or induction—fits your needs best.
Many homeowners think of gas as the chef’s choice but you don’t have to be a top cook to appreciate the conveniences of gas. “Gas provides fast, efficient cooking, and precise control,” says Warren. Once you turn down the flame, the temperature reduces quickly, unlike electric stoves. “Likewise, when a long, low simmer is needed, gas can do the trick,” she adds. Previously, buyers have avoided gas stoves because of higher costs but prices have come down significantly. You can find an entry-level gas range for under $500. Of course, luxury models can take a bigger bite out of your budget.
“Induction cooking relies on magnetic technology to heat the cookware and uses far less electricity than standard cooktops and ranges,” says Warren. Plus, it’s fast. “You can boil water in a fraction of time,” says Cherry; it takes about three minutes. And, unlike electric cooktops that stay hot for a significant amount of time after cooking, induction stoves cool down immediately. The heat generated is only between the pan and the area directly under it so the surrounding area is safe to touch during use. Lastly, the multiple induction zones allow for more flexibility accommodating a wide variety of pan sizes. The only downside is cost. The technology is expensive so it’s difficult to find a great model at a competitive price point.
If you don’t have access to gas, electric might be your only option. Many homeowners choose electric because of budgetary reasons, unwilling to spend money for a gas line or anticipating higher installation costs. Plus, you can get higher quality brands for less money. The cooktops can also be easier to clean than gas burners. However, they also take much longer to cool down, a hazard, especially if you have kids. They also generally cost more to operate, and can be difficult to use when precise temperatures are required.
When it comes to ovens, your choices are often gas or electric with both offering convection cooking as a feature. Most bakers agree that electric options offer far more accuracy than gas models, where heat can be distributed unevenly. For this reason, most gas ranges offer an electric oven option. Convection cooking circulates hot air using a fan, cutting baking times significantly. However, the new feature homeowners need to take note of is wireless technology, like Jenn-Air’s Connected wall oven. The WiFi-ready oven can be accessed through an app on your phone. Set the doneness level, and the oven does the rest for you. You can also set cooking times remotely from your phone, and turn it off if you accidentally left it on.
All available at Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery.
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