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Why Isn’t My Induction Cooktop Working? Issue & Solution Guide

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Whether you are new to induction cooking or have been using one for a while, at some point, you might wonder why your induction cooktop isn't working. This article describes the issues and solution for some of the more commonplace problems.

Cooktop Shuts Off While Cooking

One of the reason your induction cooktop isn't working is because of the automatic shutdown feature. Under certain circumstances, the induction cooktop shuts down immediately or within 30 seconds or one minute. We’ll go through some of the more common situations that trigger the unit to shut down automatically.

The internal temperature of the cooktop is too high. The thermocouple under the glass-ceramic plate detects if the internal temperature is too high. The most common cause for this is blocked vents. Perhaps you accidentally blocked the vent holes with an object. Portable induction cooktops should have a 4-inch space around the cooktop for proper ventilation.

The cooking surface temperature is too high. If the temperature of the cookware base exceeds 460°F, most portable cooktops shut down. This usually happens when the Power Mode is in use. The solution is to switch to the Temperature Mode.

If the voltage input is too high or too low, the unit shuts down after one minute. The immediate solution is to plug the unit into a different electrical outlet. If your unit works, then check the voltage of the outlet that didn’t work. The electrical requirement for the voltage for most portable induction cooktops is 110/120V. Some portable commercial models require 220/240V.

Most induction cooktops have a maximum cooking time limit, and when that time is exceeded, the unit shuts off.    

The cookware may also be the reason the unit stops operating.  Most models have an automatic pan-detection sensor that recognizes if cookware is on the cooktop. If you are cooking and lift the pan off the cooktop for more than 30 seconds or one minute, depending upon the unit, the cooktop shuts off.

Depending upon how off-center the cookware is, the unit may heat up or may shut off.  Most cooktops have placement guides, making it easy to center the pot or pan.

If you are using a small pan, the diameter may be too small for the cooking zone, and the cooktop won’t detect the pan. The pan’s minimum base diameter is usually between 4 and 5 inches, depending upon the model. The user manual usually states the minimum pan size.

The cookware is not induction compatible. The pan and its contents are only heated if the base of the pan contains ferromagnetic materials. These five materials work with induction cooktops: carbon steel, cast iron, enameled cast iron, magnetized stainless steel, and graniteware.


Heating Issues

Another reason your new induction cooktop isn't working the way you would like is due to heating issues. These problems are sometimes reported by people who are still getting used to using induction cooktops. Most commonly, the heat setting isn’t high enough to heat or cook certain dishes. Try increasing the temperature setting.

If the cookware isn’t centered on the cooking zone, your food might be unevenly heated. For example, if you have the cookware off-center, it might heat up more on one side than the other. For ideal results, you're going to want to place your cookware in the center.  

Sometimes dented cookware or warped cookware can give you problems, too. The cookware needs to lay flat on the induction cooktop. If it is warped or has a large dent, then the cooktop may not heat up, or the food will not be evenly cooked.    

Fan Noise

When you first turn the cooktop on, the fan starts running. It continues to run even after the unit is switched off. Depending upon the unit, it could take a minute or so for the induction cooktop to cool down and the fan ceases operating.  

Error Codes

One of the ways you know your induction cooktop isn't functioning properly is an error message appears in the readout display. Most induction cooktops have an error message system whereby a letter, generally “E,” and a number flash on the LED/LCD readout display. If you are cooking and an error message is displayed, check the user manual as most have a table with the error code, the problem, and a remedy.

Checklist to Get Induction Cooktop Working

Although the checklist below contains much of the same information as above, we thought it would be helpful to have a concise format so you can quickly determine why your induction cooktop is not working.

If the unit won’t turn on

Check the circuit breaker box. Is the breaker tripped? Is the fuse blown? Is the plug firmly in the outlet?

If the unit shuts down after 30 seconds or one minute  

  • Is there a pan on the cooktop?  
  • Is the pan centered in the placement guide?
  • Is the pan too small for the cooking zone? Check the user manual for minimum pan size.
  • Is the base of the pan flat?
  • Is the cooking vessel induction compatible? If you aren’t sure, place a magnet on the base; if it does not stick securely, it won’t work on the induction cooktop.

If the unit shuts down while you are cooking

  • Did the plug come out of the electrical outlet?
  • Is the vent blocked? Are there 4 inches of space around the cooktop?
  • The temperature of the cooktop surface may be too high. Try switching to the Temperature Mode.
  • Has the cooktop exceeded the maximum time limit? This is usually two to three hours. Most user manuals specify the time limit.
  • Check the circuit breaker box. Is the breaker tripped? Is the fuse blown?
  • If you have gone through this checklist and your induction cooktop still doesn’t work, have a look at the troubleshooting guide in the user manual. If you still can’t get the cooktop to work, contact the manufacturer’s customer service.

Final Thoughts

This article outlines some of the reasons why your induction cooktop isn't working and provides solutions to issues. The user manual for most of the induction cooktops we reviewed is on our website. The manuals usually have a troubleshooting guide to refer to if you need it.

We have reviews of the best portable induction cooktops which we update regularly.

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