Monday, September 14, 2015

I've Got Gas

Ignore the ugly counter top and backspash for the time being. Eventually I want to update those but for now, the existing ones are priced right.

A few weeks ago, I had just finished cooking some pancakes for breakfast and was over by the sink rinsing some dishes when out of the corner of my eye I saw a flash of light and a loud pop. I knew something electrical had happened but wasn't sure what. The GFI outlet in the background has occasionally tripped over the years and I thought perhaps it had given up the ghost but looking around, I noticed that the microwave and ovens didn't have electricity anymore. I went down to our breaker box which is actually divided into two and noticed that our main breaker in one of those boxes had tripped. I figured perhaps we had gotten a huge line surge that had caused it and flipped it back. Everything seemed to be working again so I forgot about it and moved on with life.

Two days later I went to cook something on our electric cooktop and realized that after ten minutes of heating a pan and it was still cold that something was wrong. Back downstairs I reset the breaker for the cooktop only to trip the main breaker again. Oops. Now I knew what had gone wrong. I reset the main, turned the cooktop breaker off and went upstairs to check the situation out. I soon found that I got power up to the cooktop itself and didn't trip the breaker so somewhere in the cooktop, a short had occurred. In other words, it was time for a new cooktop.

I like electric cooktops because they are super easy to keep clean and don't heat up the house much. However, my wife has always wanted a gas cooktop. She always used the argument that it cooks so much "better" without really saying what better means. A previous occupant of the house had a gas cooktop there because there was a gas line already plumbed up in the cabinet below so putting in a gas cooktop wouldn't be a hard or expensive feat to do. But I hate throwing away working appliances and so have resisted her desires for a gas cooktop for the last three years we have lived in this house. Perhaps she finally rebelled to me frugal ways and sabotaged the electric one or her prayers were just conveniently answered. I'm a firm believer in the saying, "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy," so we went out shopping for a gas cooktop.

We went to several places and between then they had maybe four gas cooktops to choose from. They simply don't stock anything anymore because appliances manufacturers make them in so many styles and options that dealers can't afford to stock them all so they just don't. You have to order them through their catalog, weight a week or two for delivery and then go pick it up. Or you can just order it via Amazon Prime and have it at your doorstep two days later and $50 cheaper which is the route I took.

It didn't quite fit our countertop opening so I had to fill in the gap but with the grates sticking up, nobody can see the filler unless you stick your head back there to look. When we get our new countertop someday, when my wife intentionally sabotages the one we have, I will get the hole sized properly and then nobody will know. So far, I do like cooking with gas though I don't think it cooks any better than the electric flattop we had previously. Perhaps a bit faster and a bit more even when using larger pans is all that I have noticed. It did come with a large griddle that sits over two of the burners that can be set to adjust together which is really nice at times. The drawbacks are that it takes a lot more effort to clean and it heats up the kitchen more due to the gap between the flame and the pan bottom.

The latter has got me thinking that when my wife sabotages the microwave above the cooktop, that instead of having just an internally vented hood that I need to upgrade to an externally vented hood. That however will be a much larger project since I will have to put a hole in the roof to get everything functioning. I'm hoping I have a while to think about it before my wife decides the old microwave needs to go.


sage said...

Looks good! With gas you have a lot of options with pans. Those glass electric flattops can only handle expensive flat bottom pans and things like woks and cast iron are no-nos on them. In my view, that is a negative. We have high ceilings and the flattop is vented through the stove, so any modification I would make if I got gas to the stove would require a self venting unit.

Ed said...

Sage - I'm glad we hadn't heard that because we used woks and cast iron on our electric cook top. The only drawback to them besides the slightly uneven heating, was that the larger pots tended to burn an extra ring around the burner of burnt crud that required lots of scrubbing to remove from time to time. With grates and gas, that is a thing of the past though you still spend your effort cleaning up everything that falls through the grates.

We've been using it for a couple weeks now and I do like the gas. It seems to provide much more even heat when cooking though we have to pick and choose our burners depending on BTU output and what we need to accomplish. With electric, you could boil on any burner and simmer on any burner. With gas and three burner sizes to choose from, some won't ever simmer and some... well lets just say the wait to boil is quite long.