Others with KA induction issues? Aside from noise

mmhmmgoodSeptember 13, 2013

I purchased a KA 36" induction cooktop back in early 2012 to put into my kitchen reno, model number KICU569XBL.

I'm curious if others have experienced issues with their induction cooktops in general, this model in particular or if perhaps I just had a freakishly bad experience that isn't likely to repeat? I have to decide now if I want the same cooktop replaced or if I want to go back to (gasp of horror) smooth top electric cooktop.

First, let me say I loved my cooktop during the 12 months it functioned. LOVED. As in I really hate to switch back to anything else. It was click-y and made noises or whatever but I am not sensitive enough to that, my house is never ever quiet enough for it to bother me and all the other awesomeness was so worth it.

I've just spent 5.5 months with no functional cooktop while my whirlpool repair person attempted several times to fix what clearly isn't fixable. It started off with 2/5 elements flashing an error code F47. After the first attempted repair I had no elements functional at all, 3/5 were flashing F47 and the other 2 flashed some other code if you attempted to turn the unit on. After several more fixes during which pretty much everything has been replaced a couple of times and reconfigured it is still non functional and now flashes the error code F47 mostly, sometimes F37, sometimes F21 and these seem to come and go through the 5 elements. None of the elements function. I found one online reviewer that seemed to have a similar problem that was never fixed.

I had purchased extended warranty (YAY) and am finally getting to where I have been offered a replacement (double YAY).

My repair person commented that in his opinion induction just draws way too much voltage to be practical for home use. That it should never be used in "BOOST" mode and should always be powered up from low to high rather than just turned on to high. I'm not sure if any of this is correct so feel free to comment on that as well. I could learn new habits if this were true.

So. After all that, my question is this: am I Einstein's definition of "insane" if I replace this cooktop with the same model and expect something different to occur? Or is the induction technology really pretty good and I just got a lemon? (And perhaps a terrible repair person).

I really want induction again and with my extended warranty I won't be able to switch brands unless I want to be out of pocket for the cost of a new one. I don't want to be out of pocket for the cost of a new one. I'm also terrified of living for another 6 months without a cooktop. I'm a busy mom with little kids, work part time to full time outside the home and I really like to cook. It has not been easy, and it has not always been BBQ weather (where I live) during this half a year. HALF A YEAR! I'm terrified of a repeat of this mess.

Any thoughts are appreciated. Thanks for reading all the way through to the end ...

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No one wants the upcharge on a replacement, for sure.

My assessment (others may have a different view) is that there's a gamble either way. If they replace and something goes wrong again, then you're on your own for a full replacement. And you'd have the same tech who isn't an induction specialist.

Seems to me that a different brand (I'd research to be sure it's not the same unit in another badge) and one with high marks might be worth a but more.

I had an oven buy back and paid more for a new brand. It's been a different world -- 0 issues. I didn't do it for a washer that never worked right from the start, was replaced and the replacement wasn't different. The life of that was very short and I had to replace both w&d within 5 years.

But if you decide to stick with KA it could be fine. Fingers crossed for you.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 8:09AM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

I'm new to induction, and so far I love my KA! It's 36" also, but I don't get any noise and so far all is well. I found the tip of working up to boost interesting. Might try it!

Good luck with your decision!


    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 9:15AM
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Going immediately to induction boost at turn on is stupid at least for some other reasons as well. If a cast iron frypan or dutch oven receives a massive burst of instant uneven heat, the internal stresses caused by that activity can break it. Rare, but it does happen. Don't think such abuse does multilayer stainless pots much good either.
"Draws too much voltage"? That's like saying a car full of inferior parts that tends to self destruct at high speed "draws too much gasoline".

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 11:19AM
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laat2, why is going to boost at turn on a stupid thing to do? Do you have an induction cooktop? And which brand?

Don't you think the manuals for the many American cooktops would warn the user if this were true?

Also, if stainless cookware is advertised as induction capable, would there be a warning about immediate boost use? That's one of the beauties of induction! Quick boil! For weight and response issues, I don't use cast iron on my induction cooktop.

Sounds like nonsense to me, laat2.

The repair person is not well versed in induction.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 9:00PM
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Thanks for your thoughts everyone. Think I'll give it another go mostly because I really want the induction to work. But if sheer force of will can't keep the replacement going I'll move on. I'm taking a chance I suppose but all that I will have lost is my last 5.5 months. That's the same no matter what I do and I'm at least not out the cost of something else now. Here's hoping I get 10-15 years out of the next one! Unless there are any more convincing arguments to the contrary? Any more thoughts would still be helpful!


    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 11:53PM
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From reading just about any posts about induction, failures of same are pretty rare!

I don't recall even seeing a single post about a Miele, a Bosch or numerous other brands having a failure.

I believe I did see one Electrolux with touch pad problems but again, complaints are pretty rare.

I had a non induction (radiant) cook top that drove the wife nuts with error codes. It would unlock itself, generate error codes and beep, even when we were in the next room!
The "Final Straw", for that Succer was when wife and I were upstairs, "Said Succer" unlocked itself, turned on the largest burner "FULL ON", and not that far away sat a dish towel.
Fortunately, instead of going to bed, I came downstairs to get some ice cream, and saw the glowing burner~~~~~Needless to say, that "Succer" is in the junk pile now, and you could not give me "any amount of Money" to buy another Non-Induction cook top. (Induction will not turn on without a pot there)!!!


    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 7:34AM
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Be sure to determine if your present extended warranty expires when your replacement cooktop is delivered.

Cast iron precautions - Staub web page - Use and Care - additional info via bottom of page pdf link.

This post was edited by laat2 on Sat, Sep 14, 13 at 9:59

    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 9:58AM
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To second what laat said, there was a discussion of cracked cast-iron last summer with a recommendation of ramping-up induction when pre-heating cast iron grills, griddles and pans. Link is below.

Same thing might also be said, btw, for putting cold cast iron pots over gas burners and in fireplaces, too. OTOH, I've never heard or seen anything about having to ramp-up high heat with other cookware on induction stoves. I've never had any problem going to max heat with stainless stockpot full of liquid. For other kinds of cooking, I don't feel the need to run max-heat and then turn down as some people like to do. I've pretty much always picked my intended heat setting and just used that with induction. For me, it is a practical matter rather than a "thou shalt not" kind of thing. For me, the pans seem to heat up plenty fast enough on induction without my needing to mash the throttle to the floor and burn the tires in a launch from a standing start.


Your question about whether your situation was freakishly bad luck and unlikely to repeat or if getting another KA would be endlessly repeating the thing known to fail?

No, it was not freakish bad luck but odds are pretty good that you won't get another cooktop that suffers from infant mortality. You are playing the odds rather than, as Einstein put it, insanely repeating actions known to be useless failures.

I say your experiencing the defect and endlessly delayed and poor warranty service was not freakish.

First, there are frequent reports and irate complaints about outsourced warranty being absurdly slow and lacking competence. It is a pervasive problem these days for pretty much all brands of appliances. The chances of that happening again are, unfortunately, significant. I can only suggest trying to research service providers in your area and seeing if you can get a different (and better rated) company if something else happens.

Second, what happend to you was not freakish because KA has had a higher defect rate that many other brands of electrical stoves and cooktops. According to what I recall from the recent annual surveys of members of Consumer Reports, KitchenAid electric stoves running something like a 15% defect rate, That is about double the rates for GE and, strangely enough, Whirlpool branded electric stoves. (I say "strangely" because Whirlpool owns KA and a lot of the appliances come out of the same productions lines). Some of the high defect rate for KA was undoubtedly from the problems with KA's self-cleaning ovens frying over-temp breakers and circuit boards. IIRC, the KA cooktops ran a lower rate of defects, around 8%, which is only marginally higher than for other major brands (which ran about 6% or 7%).

If the rate for induction cooktops is the same as for other KA electric cooktops, then roughly 1 in 12 owners have serious problems but the other 92% do not. Chances are pretty good that a new KA cooktop will be fine for you for the next few years. Of course, statistics like this are of no comfort when you are the one who gets whacked with a double whammy. But,, what do really have to lose --- that you would not be losing anyway --- if you are unlucky enough to get a second frail unit?

Since, you were happy with the KA unit when it worked, and really want another induction unit without shelling out for an upgrade to a new unit, I say the odds are in your favor. Get the replacement and let us know things work out.

Here is a link that might be useful: crackedcast iron griddle on induction

This post was edited by JWVideo on Sat, Sep 14, 13 at 14:44

    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 2:30PM
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My 30" KA from Sept 2011 works fine. I love everything about it except the clicking magnets. I have an extended warranty, too, and if mine dies, I'll just replace it, clicking notwithstanding. Other cooktops may have different measurements, too, causing installation problems. I think (hope) you'll be OK with a replacement KA. I wouldn't ever consider going back to regular electric after induction. I don't have cast iron, but I never "step up" to boost. No problems yet. I don't think the guy was right about "too much voltage" and "don't turn it on on high." Sad when we know more than the official service people.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 6:39PM
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