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Opinions? Pressured to buy Gas Stovetop but...

Posted by JuniperSt (My Page) on
Tue, Aug 19, 14 at 1:58

"Pressured" might be the wrong word. But my builder, designer,father and appliance salesman all say "Buy gas" for all sorts of reasons but mostly for resale value/popularity. I have to admit I think the gas looks the classiest. The hood, the knobs, the grills etc. But I get it. It's about function. Neither my husband nor I cook much and frankly, gas makes me uncomfortable. Truly. I avoid using my gas fireplace in current home because it's gas. And I've got lots of animals. Large dogs. Cats who climb. And a 5 year old...

So I've been looking at inductions. What are the cons? They seem so unusual as far as "look" goes. Not sure about it fitting in my traditional kitchen. I know most will say "buy what you want, it's your home." But I'd love to read about the pros and cons. Or a debate on why one is better than the other. I know more people prefer gas. Period. I nearly had one purchased. Beautiful hood too. But I'm hesitant for a reason. So... what do I pick? I need to make the decision soon. Choose for me!! ;) Thanks for your thoughts!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Opinions? Pressured to buy Gas Stovetop but...

"So I've been looking at inductions. What are the cons?"

Price. That's the big one. Maybe also the fact that they have electronics which gas doesn't, which are something to fail, can be expensive to replace and result in product orphaning. But that shouldn't discourage you, it works so well. Induction is also the best for safety which you seem to be concerned about. Gas is nothing to be afraid of but then again I grew up with almost all gas appliances... furnace, water heater, dryer, range, etc so I'm very comfortable around it. I could see someone who was unfamiliar with it not liking it.

Unless you know you will be selling shortly, screw resale. It's your kitchen and you should put what you want in, not what someone else wants.

If you really cook rarely and you can't justify the cost of induction, maybe conventional electric would be a better choice.


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RE: Opinions? Pressured to buy Gas Stovetop but...

Check out the Kitchens forum. There are loads of kitchens that have been done here, going back at least seven years that are very traditional and have induction cooktops. The most traditional kitchen I remember seeing has induction. Cotehele's is designed as a keeping room. It's all about making the style work. It's easier to get that traditional look with separate cooktops and oven. The induction ranges have a more modern style. It can be done with a range as well, however, though a 30" wide range isn't as impressive as a 36" gas range.

One thing you can do if you want your cooking zone to be that kind of impressive focal point is to build it out. You can bump out the front edge a couple of inches and make the cabinetry under the cooktop contrast with the surrounding cabinets. You can wrap it in stainless, if you like that look, and even add feet. Some just paint it a focal color. Or you can give it a facade that looks like an old cast iron stove. I saw a picture once of an old stove that they'd retrofitted with an induction cooktop, with a utensil holder in one of the remaining holes, and some other useful innovations. If you're getting an induction range, you can flank it with spice pullouts in the bumped out section, and decorate them to match the range, giving it more oomph and importance. The only limit is your creativity.

The biggest con I can think of, given your lifestyle description, is that cooking with induction is so clean and easy--if you spill you can wipe it up while you're cooking--that you may find yourself cooking a lot more and eating into your playtime. :) You may be getting some of that pressure from the builder because he gets a sweetener on certain sets of appliances, or because it costs him less in customizations if it's in a tract. Or perhaps he's worried that you'll walk away and stick him with selling the house after it's built. You should get what you want however.

The next biggest con is that you might need to buy some new cookware. There is inexpensive cookware that works fine with induction, but you must have iron or steel. If a magnet won't stick securely, it won't work well, and if it won't stick at all it won't work period.

Con #3 is that you will have a little learning curve to figure out what settings work for the tasks you do. Since you don't cook much, it might take you longer to become accustomed. It's not hard, and probably not different from learning any new stove. Going from standard electric to induction is easier than going from gas, because you're used to choosing numbers rather than looking at the flame height. Corollary is that some of your guests might be confused about how to use it.

The last major con is that there can be noises that you can't hear but children and animals can. Some units are noisier than others. There is fan noise, which isn't different from a computer fan and any appliance with a computer board in it will have one, including the ovens on many gas ranges. But there are also ticks, clicks, thunks and similar sounds from the inductors, which you can hear more on some settings than others, and not so much with the hood on. The sound the kids hear, which is a very high pitched whine, is usually ascribed to ply and compound pans. Ply cook very well, but it might bug your child. I haven't heard of dogs running away, but I'd guess they can hear it too. Cast iron and solid steel don't seem to have that problem, at least not as much.

The minor con: cooking fuel really isn't a big decider on resale. Unless you're selling a top top dollar, turnkey house with designer decor in the latest and most popular style, and buffed and all, people expect to do some customizations. OTOH, some people are so repulsed by smoothtop electric, it could give them a bad feeling, which isn't good for the emotional impact of the house. There's where it's good to make sure the selling agent understands the induction and can do a short demo of the boil water in an instant, through paper, and wipe the stove while the pot is hot. A fancy French range could, perhaps, sell a house to the right buyer, the way a beautiful tree can, but induction shouldn't prevent a buyer who likes your house from buying it.

As to people preferring gas, if you're talking about which do they sell more of, perhaps that's true, but if you look here at past threads, almost none who have changed from gas to induction would go back. I have both, and there are very few things I prefer gas for. Besides the obvious charring of veg--which I don't do as freely on the stainless as I did on the old enamel because cleanup is a bother--I do use the gas for grilling tortillas and sausages. I think I like the way the heated air around them works. It's great during a blackout. I can use my aluminum stock pot on it on the few days I have the induction full and need to.

The people who would go back to gas after using induction miss the flames. They like the look, the feel, the heat, the primal nature of cooking on fire. Induction has no flames. The stove only even gets hot from the heat of the pot. Cooking hot lunches during the Summer seems normal because the whole kitchen doesn't get hot. But people miss the flames. You, however, had said that you want to miss the flames!


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RE: Opinions? Pressured to buy Gas Stovetop but...

Besides the advice given above, if you haven't already seen them, there are at least two very long threads here on the subject of whether induction purchasers have regretted their choices or wished that they had chosen a gas appliance or wanted to go back to gas appliances.

Almost nobody did have regrets.

Here are the links if you haven't seen them:

http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/appl/msg1116333928191.html

http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/appl/msg0119362827237.html

And there is also this one from chowhound, too, which is in much the same vein:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/963166

Have the husband, designer and father ever used induction? If not, get them to a demo. High-end vendors may have a unit hooked up for demo purposes (you might or might not want to buy there, but it will be a good place to get first hand experience.) Then, maybe they can read the above threads.

This post was edited by JWVideo on Tue, Aug 19, 14 at 18:45


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RE: Opinions? Pressured to buy Gas Stovetop but...

"gas makes me uncomfortable"

Why? What's your fear? Gas furnaces, water heaters, stoves, etc. are proven technology that has been around a very long time. In many places it is also significantly cheaper.

When the lights go out, what do you do with an all electric house? When I was without power for 10 solid days, I had no water due to an electric well pump, no lights, no reasonable way to cook, etc.

I still don't understand why so many people are afraid of natural gas usage. With reasonable maintenance it is safe. Even electric appliances can fail and shock or electrocute you.


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RE: Opinions? Pressured to buy Gas Stovetop but...

Yeah, but it would take a total system failure to light the curtains on fire with induction.


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RE: Opinions? Pressured to buy Gas Stovetop but...

Thank you for the insight gang! And the links. I'll be reading...

Sidpost~ When I was 14 and babysitting I was asked to prepare the kiddos dinner on gas stove. Parent gave clear instructions and I am a rule follower. However, the next morning I received a phone call saying I didn't get it turned off all the way. House filled with gas. Fire departement called. Kids scared. Parent just wanted me "to know for future safety" I was devestated. Certain I'd done it all correctly. My mother said "Those things are tricky. You may not use one while babysitting again." And I didn't. Ever. I remember my great grandmother struggling to re-light her pilot light. I was so worried she'd burn herself. I have never felt comfortable around fire I'm in charge of.

Can't imagine I'm alone. I could probably learn to love the gas stove. But inductions actually seem cheaper. Am I wrong? Why the need for the hood. Anyway, I'll read and find out. Thanks again!


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RE: Opinions? Pressured to buy Gas Stovetop but...

remember my great grandmother struggling to re-light her pilot light. I was so worried she'd burn herself.

My father was actually badly burned when the gas stove blew up while he was lighting the pilot (had to be nearly 60 years ago - I don't remember the details). But seriously, safety has come a long way since then. I've never been scared of a modern gas appliance. That said, I have induction now (no gas available in my building) and I love it!


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RE: Opinions? Pressured to buy Gas Stovetop but...

You can have the same beautiful hood with induction.

Compromise. Have a gas line run in case you need it for resale (you won't, but it'll make everyone happy).


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RE: Opinions? Pressured to buy Gas Stovetop but...

Hey JuniperSt, you're not alone. I grew up using conventional electric, and when I rented an apartment in my early 20s that had gas, I didn't like it one bit. It scared me somewhat, and I also found it difficult to adjust my cooking style. For example, I could never get the type of low simmer that I wanted--either the flames would be too high or they would go out. Apparently a lot of professional chefs prefer gas over electric, but the learning curve was too high for me and I felt far more comfortable cooking on what I was used to.

I know you said you don't cook much, but even so, I would say get what you're used to, comfortable with, familiar with (unless you are never going to cook at all and are only looking at resale value, or unless you think you would like induction). But don't get gas if you don't like it. You may never feel comfortable with having a gas stove in your house, and who wants to live in a house that they aren't comfortable in?


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RE: Opinions? Pressured to buy Gas Stovetop but...

"But inductions actually seem cheaper"

That is only true if you compare apples to oranges. An basic freestanding induction range will be more expensive than a basic freestanding gas range. A slide in induction will be more expensive than a slide in gas. The 30" prostyle Viking induction range goes for around $6000 which is much more than most 30" prostyle gas ranges. But yes, if you are comparing a basic slide in induction to a high end prostyle gas range, induction will come out as less expensive.

"Why the need for the hood"

If possible you should always have good ventilation no matter what type of stove you have. Styling of hoods varies based on personal preference. Whether you have gas or induction has no bearing on what look you go for on the hood, though a prostyle gas range will require more ventilation than an induction range.

I think induction or smoothtop electric would be the best choice for the OP, but to the people afraid of gas: I will echo what others have said, modern gas appliances are nothing like the ones of many years ago you have bad memories of. They are very similar in operation to electric ranges, no pilot lights to worry about or anything. The only difference between starting a gas burner and starting an electric is that for gas, you don't turn past the light position until the burner has actually lit. Then, just turn to the setting you want like you would on electric and enjoy the increased power and responsiveness. And the ovens are identical in operation to electric ovens. Just twist the knob to the temperature you want or punch it into the keypad and the stove will take care of the rest. Properly adjusted burners should not emit excessive carbon monoxide or go out at low settings, and many ranges made now will automatically relight burners if they go out. Turning the knob to OFF will result in the gas being shut off (though that was true on the older ones too so I'm not sure what happened there).


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RE: Opinions? Pressured to buy Gas Stovetop but...

In terms of health and safety, Induction cooktops do emit radiation and I have seen that in Europe, doctors recommend that pregnant woman limit induction cooking. Similar to microwave rays.


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RE: Opinions? Pressured to buy Gas Stovetop but...

You are far more apt to get a stronger dose of "radiation" from your cell fone,
than from an induction cooktop.

The radiation quicky "dies away" on an induction cooktop after about a foot away,
from the hob~~~but don't take my word for it, read the info yourself
on the "Helpful link", that I supplied at the end of my post.

I'm tempted to "Post a strong Rebuttal" to the previous post, (but I will be nice),
so only thing I will say is, "enjoy cooking a little chicken on your induction cooktop and "Don't swap the order of the words, "Little Chicken"!
nuff said!

Gary

Here is a link that might be useful: Induction Radiation.


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RE: Opinions? Pressured to buy Gas Stovetop but...

Induction newbies with no idea of how many times this topic has been discussed here over the years, along with the source studies, might see Gary's response as an unnecessarily rude and cavalier dismissal.

Don't take it that way. Follow the link to the page on the induction site. Gary knows whereof he speaks.

Frankly, I'm pretty sure that anybody with health concerns can find an equal amount of interesting, well-founded information as well as alarmist and wackadoodle internet material about the health hazards of cooking with gas.

There are plenty of reasons for some people to avoid gas appliances and one of them is a discomfort with the risks of the fuel. As has been noted here several times, the famous James Beard hated having gas gas appliances in his home and had a very strong personal preference for electrical ones. Apparently, with his very sensitive nose, he hated the smell and didn't like the open flames in his own kitchen.

There is a distinct element of personal preference in all this, and that has to be accepted.

But for the OP, the existence of internet fears and paranoia, and ignorance of how induction works, could be considered a downside to getting induction.

The problem is with a potential buyer maybe having heard from "somebody" or read "somewhere" that "doctors in Europe" warn against pregnant women using induction. If it on the interenet, then it must be true, and then, OMG, induction is like cooking with an uncontained microwave radiation! And, you know, I've read on the internet from reputable sites who "really ought to know," that you can electrocute yourself by using metal spoons to stir a pot on an induction burner! (That whopper, IIRC, was from a site called Living Large.)

You get the idea. Without investment of time, it gets very hard to sort out the science from the fears, the fears from paranoia, and the paranoia from utter wackadoodle. On the internet, everything is plausible, and everything is true.

You can conclude, as some do, that if any scientist anywhere ever raises a question for research, then the worst case scenario has to be assumed to be true and we should ban every suspect device until we can be convinced that it is 100% safe.

In some ways, this is like the fear that aluminum pans caused Alzheimer's or that low-frequency ELF from high-voltage power transmission lines caused leukemic cancers in children. The reality is that there are a ton of variables that affect cancer rates and some scientists apparently hoped that they could prove a link to living near the high-tension power lines and thereby protect health. The problem with the early research on this was that it simply associated home location to power lines as though no other variables need to be explored. As some subsequent studies showed, people living in close proximity to high-tension lines tend to be poorer that the most of the population, poorer people in industrialized societies tend to have higher cancer rates, and when you control for income levels, it seems that there were not statistically significant differences between the cancer rates for the lower income who lived near power lines and those who did not. The subject continues to be studied but the numbers of variables are so large that study results continue to be inconclusive as to measurable effects.

When you need absolute reassurance and cannot find it, then you are relying on your personal risk assessment. Take the 1500 or 1600 dishwashers that catch fire in American ktichens every year. Some people see that statistic and think that is outrageously high and nobody should put a dishwasher in residences. Others look at the same statistic and think: there must be 75 million homes with dishwashers in this country and the risk of a fire is so tiny and trivial that I don't care about it.

Back to the "doctors in Europe" question, many internet posters assume (incorrectly) that the newer "pregnant women" studies from "Europe" come from the European Commission Directorate-General of Health and Consumer Protection's Scientific Committee on Toxicity, Ecotoxicity and the Environment.

That is not the case. As far as I could tell from the last time I tried to check out this "European doctors say . . . " report was that the concerns actually come from a non-profit organization calling itself the "International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection" and some studies funded by them (from Slovenia, I think.) This group starts with the premise that we are all exposed to too many electromagnetic fields (EMF). Induction ranges produce EMF --- but, then, so do a ton of other devices from cell phones, iPods, and televisions to everything with electric motors, such as blenders, and on out to microwave ovens. The self-named Commission has established standards and believe that they have found some evidence that some induction cookers produce EMF levels at 30 cm (1 foot) that exceed what they say the strength should be at that distance for what they regard as safe for an in utero fetus.

Can you find some doctors in Europe who would adopt this? Sure. Probably here as well. Is it generally accepted medical practice in Europe or here? Nope.

WIll the mere existence of questions scare some people who come in to look at the OP's house when she and her husband eventually put it up for sale? Yup. Some people will be put off and want a different stove.

But the thing is, some people will be put off by presence of gas appliances, as well.

There's what somebody here once called the the "kaboom" factor. As a practical matter, the actual risk of a gas appliance exploding and causing a house fire is small. Something like maybe 12% of kitchen fires caused by gas stoves were due to gas leaks, IIRC from the last time I checked the National Fire Protection Association statistics. Overall, the biggest reason for home-fires caused by appliances (45% of the fires) was unattended cooking and burners accidentally left on after cooking. Overall, gas cooking appliances were not as likely to cause a fire as the electric ones simply because gas stove owners were only half as likely as electric stove owners to leave an unattended pot cooking on a stove or leave a burner on after cooking.

But, in this regard, you might note that induction would be even safer than both gas or radiant electric because: (a) induction burners don't have the waste heat output that can ignite sleeves, towels, etc. that a gas or radiant electric burner can ignit; (b) if you slop or spill oil when frying, there isn't a very hot burner or flame to ignite the spilled oil; (c) most induction cooktops and ranges have safety shut-offs -- that is, if an empty pan overheats, sensors (on many induction ranges and cooktops) will shut off the burner and keep the pan from burning your house down; and (d), if you forget to turn off a burner after you finish with a pot, nothing can happen once the pot is removed from an induction burner.

For every potential health problem you can cite for induction, there seem to be more for gas ranges. There are ongoing studies on the potential adverse health effects of combustion by-products from using gas ranges and cooktops in residential and commercial kitchens. Search the internet and you can find postings with titles like "Gas cooking emissions can stifle infant development ..." A year ago, there was a US DOE and EPA study on the need for vent hoods when using gas ranges and cooktops which got some discussion here. IIRC. there are a couple of NY Times articles that sparked that discussion and you can find them here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/01/garden/01fix.html?_r=0

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/22/the-kitchen-as-a-pollution-hazard/

The link to the gardenweb discussion is here:

http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/appl/msg0715091316878.html

So, can you make the family gas proponents read that stuff?

Maybe they will all decide that you all need to eat raw food and just stay away from all cooking devices. ;>)

This post was edited by JWVideo on Wed, Aug 20, 14 at 14:51


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RE: Opinions? Pressured to buy Gas Stovetop but...

Do you like cleaning the gas grates if something splatters or go swish, swish after you spray ammonia-free window cleaner on an induction cooktop?

Gas adds heat to a kitchen and induction does not.

lots more.


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RE: Opinions? Pressured to buy Gas Stovetop but...

If it wasn't a budget issue, I would run a gas line for potential changes in the future. That will take care of the resale argument, although that's not a criteria for my decision making. My cooktop is in an island without a gas connection and on a slab, so only electric options for me. I don't have any venting, either, which I don't recommend!

I grew up with coil, used gas off and on, this house had a smooth-top radiant. I was able to prepare meals on all of them. Recently, I put in an induction cooktop. I love it the most! I use it 2-3 times a day to prepare meals. I'm looking forward to Monday when the kids go back to school and I'm free from lunch duty, though!

I live in a very hot/humid area. Anything I can do to keep the kitchen from being sweltering (even with a/c) I will do. The hobs themselves transfer all the energy to the cooking vessel, so less ambient heat. I'm still surprised by how much I notice this! It might be my favorite "pro" as I no longer need to lay down under the ceiling fan, trying to cool down enough to eat with my family.

Induction is very safe since you need a pan on the surface for the hobs to function. The hobs themselves don't heat, but the hot pan will heat the surface. Even then, I've cooked on top of newspaper or paper towels when using oil.

Most have a locking mechanism, in case you keep vessels on it, to prevent turning it on by accident.

Excellent response to changes, in case you get interested in cooking.

I use a wet sponge for dried drips then finish with vinegar/water spray and microfiber cloth.

The cons have been discussed up thread, so I won't reiterate them. They weren't a big deal for me and I wouldn't trade mine for any other kind of energy source.


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RE: Opinions? Pressured to buy Gas Stovetop but...

I grew up in the first total electric house built in the area. The house re- defined electric rates -LOL

We did have an electrical fire 55 years ago in the house.
That being said - I never felt comfortable cooking with gas. I almost went with gas and then learned about induction and solved my fears. I can cook with instant temp changes and can simmer, slow cook and boil water in a flash.

Safety is always an issue. I like induction as very hard to start a fire(except for a few GWebbers who flash pointed paper towels to keep splatters to a minimum)

I am not touching the surface and not putting my body on top of the cooktop while it is running.

UofM is looking at health effects of gas and I am sure other studies will be done with induction.

My favourite things about induction- I don't cook myself or the kitchen and it is so easy to clean.

As others have said- do what you want for now- if planning on selling it sooner than later- that would be the only reason to go gas.
P Old houses had wood stoves to cook - maybe that would be the answer (just kidding)

Good luck with your decision


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RE: Opinions? Pressured to buy Gas Stovetop but...

As for induction safety, I have a pacemaker and my doctor warned me never to get close to an operating induction cooker. I posted that once before and those that had one said I was wrong. I must trust my doctor when it is a matter of life and death.


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RE: Opinions? Pressured to buy Gas Stovetop but...

You're right to trust your doctor. Be safe. Be well.

The research shows that your doctor is being overcautious, unless there's something unusual about your personal situation, and that so long as you didn't lay across a flat pot on the turned on stove, you'd be safe. Induction cooking has been around for decades, and I think it would be well publicized in the days of the internet if unsuspecting consumers were having their pacemakers go awry due to an induction cooktop. Stating it as you have, tells of your experience--the doctor said not to--without spreading hysteria. You said it very well!

Since we're talking about health issues, it's important to note that quite a few forum members have reported that they absolutely can't have natural gas in their houses. It can be very bad with certain kinds of asthma and other respiratory issues. Additionally, gas burners that have not had maintenance, can create more carbon monoxide than is safe, and without good ventilation and good burners, unburnt gas can escape. New, modern cooktops with the recommended venitation (which is actually turned on) aren't a problem, and most people muddle through without noticing the issues even when they have a more serious problem. Some go gasping to the emergency room. This isn't an indictment of gas cooking. Just an acknowledgement that different people have different health issues that guide different choices.


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RE: Opinions? Pressured to buy Gas Stovetop but...

There does seem to be some valid concern about using an induction stove with a pacemaker. This is for someone actually using the stove - not just being in the same room with it. I've attached a link to some study results. Apparently if the pots are kept centered the voltage induced in a human holding the pot stays below the threshold. It was when pots were off center that the voltage gets high.

So with careful use there wouldn't be a problem but it comes to how comfortable one is that one won't make a mistake or how much safety margin you feel you need.

Edited to add: this result was for a worst case of a particular kind of pacemaker (unipolar) implanted on the left-side.

I've got a gas stove - we considered induction briefly when remodeling ~7 years ago, but there weren't very many models available in the US at the time and much of our cookware wasn't induction compatible. (Since then we phased out the anodized aluminum cookware for triple ply which DH likes because he can toss it in the dishwasher so that issue has gone away for us.)

Our son and DIL recently put in an induction cooktop and are very happy with it.

I think both do a very good job of cooking and neither would turn me off on buying a house. Now I'd find it hard to decide between the two.

Here is a link that might be useful: Induction and pacemaker study.

This post was edited by cloud_swift on Mon, Aug 25, 14 at 16:09


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