Pre-heating ovens

I am thinking about a recent conversation stating that pre-heating being the limiting time factor in making dinner. I am getting ready to replace the GE electric oven that was not new when I bought this house 15 years ago. After reading the hotline discussion I timed mine and it goes from cold to 350 degrees in about 5 minutes. Is that unusual? Should I be ask about that before I buy a new GE electric range?

C Sangueza


702551 February 29, 2016
Even more interesting is the performance of induction cooktops which have been actively deployed in Europe for about twenty years but are just starting to grab hold here in the USA.

Most sites agree that induction cooktops are particularly fast at heating up and cooling down. At least one site claims the following times to boil two quarts of water: induction 2 minutes, gas 5 minutes, conventional electric 10 minutes.

I've lived in places with gas burners, old-school electric coils, and ceramic-top electric; the fact that gas is about twice as fast as electric (in bringing water to a boil) appears to be within the ballpark of my experience.

Heck, for my customary breakfast egg, I usually turn the stove on to preheat the pan, jump in the shower, and ten minutes later, I'm ready to fry an egg. I would love to be able to just turn on an induction range and have the pan ready to go in a couple of minutes.

The implication that if induction stove elements are more energy efficient is that more power might be available to the conventional oven elements in a combo cooktop-oven unit. I could boil water faster *and* I could preheat my oven faster.

This makes me more interested in replacing my current range, even though it's functioning as well as the way as the day I moved in.
C S. March 1, 2016
Mine is also a standard model range with four burners and an oven. I will look into convection for the newer model. My kitchen is not configured to support a gas range. CV I wonder if California environmental standards have anything to do with either the amount of electricity delivered or the way the range is put together. Here in NC our standards are much looser. We found out when our daughter expected to take a care from here to the Bay Area - it wouldn't pass inspection there. Thanks to everyone for the advice.
702551 March 1, 2016
I've never heard anything about separate California standards for ordinary kitchen appliances. There's no inspection unlike automobiles and the power is basically the same (a 50 amp circuit in North Carolina is pretty much the same as California). For sure people move cross-country with refrigerators, microwave ovens, etc. as well as electronics, vacuum cleaners and other things.

The car thing is well known. California auto emissions standards are very strict; it has been this way for decades to combat smog.
Susan W. February 29, 2016
Is yours just an oven with no stovetop?
702551 February 29, 2016
You bring up an interesting point.

Since I have a combination 4-burner cooktop + oven, all the heating elements are being supplied from one electrical circuit (50 amps, probably 3-wire 240V). The design of the appliance is such that even if I turn everything all, it won't exceed the 10.5 KW rating (about 44 amps) for safety reasons. That means the oven elements must give up some of its power capacity to the burners.

A standalone electric oven would have its own dedicated circuit and thus be able to have elements that can use up all of the circuit's (safe) capacity, since there are no elements with which it needs to share. All 44 amps are at the oven elements' disposal.
Susan W. March 1, 2016
Of course now I am going to turn on two burners to med high and time how long it takes my oven to reach 350. I love experiments.
Susan W. February 29, 2016
It sounds like my old GE is a little newer than yours, but fairly close. I think that would be a great question to ask. Mine takes about 10 minutes. I think the insulation is poor on mine which makes a difference. Be sure to take the time to read reviews about the oven you are going to purchase.
702551 February 29, 2016
I have a basic Whirlpool electric range & oven; it was new when I moved in about 8 years ago. While I've never precisely timed it, pre-heating takes about 10 minutes for each 100 degree increment (e.g., 30 minutes to reach 300 degrees).

In other houses that I've lived in with electric ovens, those also had about the same pre-heating speed, so 350 degrees in five minutes is unusual in my experience.
702551 February 29, 2016
Okay, I looked at the clock today when I preheated my oven from room temperature to 400 degrees. It took about 25 minutes to heat up the 330 degrees, so it's heating up about 13 degrees per minute.

The caveat is that I was using one of the large stove elements which of course adds heat to the appliance. My guess is that a cold oven with cold stove elements will take about 35 minutes to reach 400 degrees.

I did use the self-cleaning cycle recently and it took almost an hour to get to that temperature (550 degrees I believe).
Susan W. February 29, 2016
Mine is a GE. Old and most probably bottom of the line. It takes mine 10 minutes to reach 350. 12 to reach 400. I wasn't using the stove elements.
702551 February 29, 2016
Hmph, okay, so it looks like I won't be buying a Whirlpool when I replace my appliances. I have no attachment to them; the appliances were installed right before I moved in and brand new, the owner's manual was still in the oven. My guess is that they are entry-level models.

It sure would be nice to have an oven that preheated faster.

Voted the Best Reply!

Smaug February 29, 2016
Sounds about right. The thing to remember, when preheating an oven, is that heating the air inside is only a small part of the job- the walls, racks etc. hold much more heat, and must be heated for the oven to bake properly. The thermal mass on old stoves (particularly the cheaper ones)tends to be much higher than on modern ones, which is why they will take longer to preheat, but will bake faster and more evenly (assuming good door seals and functional insulation).
SMSF February 29, 2016
Wow, lucky you!
Just curious - do you use a separate oven thermometer to verify when the oven has reached temperature? At first I thought my oven was reaching temperature when the gas initially cycled off, but I was wrong. My oven takes about 25 minutes to go from cold to 350F!
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