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What’s Different in Canada
Posted: 07 June 2013 06:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 46 ]
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In Canada, you’d live in a “bachelor.” Although I’m in Vancouver at the moment and am reliably informed they have “studio” apartments here on the west coast.

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Posted: 07 June 2013 08:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 47 ]
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In London, I lived in a “bedsit” for a while. Same difference. (bed-sitting room)

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Posted: 07 June 2013 09:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 48 ]
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we do have electric kettles in the States, although I’ve never used one because lack of kitchen space makes a separate appliance for boiling water unwieldy

I suppose it shouldn’t amaze one to discover for the thousandth time what different priorities other people have, but somehow it always does. In Britain (I can’t answer for Ireland) an electric kettle is seen as such a basic necessity that - unless they have one of the relatively new boiling-water dispensers - virtually everyone has one, no matter how miniature their kitchen space; not to have one is downright eccentric. And although microwaves are now almost as widespread (according to the Office for National Statistics, in 2010 92% of British households had one) it doesn’t occur to anyone to ditch the kettle to save space and boil water in the microwave instead. This is no doubt partly because of fears of accidents with super-heated water, but also because we just ‘know’ that the kettle is what you use to boil water, and that’s it and all about it.

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Posted: 08 June 2013 03:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 49 ]
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ElizaD - 04 June 2013 10:57 PM

What you lot (UK/US) understand by a ‘sliver’, we, in southern Scotland, call a ‘spail’.

The dialect word for a splinter in my part of the north east of England is “speld”.  And the Afrikaans word for splinter is also “speld”.  OED on speld:

Etymology:  Old English speld neuter, = Old Norse speld , spjald (Norwegian spjeld , Swedish spjell ), related to Gothic spilda (feminine), Middle High German and German dialect spelte tablet, splinter, chip, etc.: see spald v. ...

.

SteveG, if you’re around - do you also recognize speld?

Not Speld, but Spelk (that is the bits that stick in your finger).
Note this would be Sunderland dialect, may have been different out into Co. Durham

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Posted: 08 June 2013 04:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 50 ]
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Syntinen Laulu - 07 June 2013 09:12 AM

we do have electric kettles in the States, although I’ve never used one because lack of kitchen space makes a separate appliance for boiling water unwieldy

I suppose it shouldn’t amaze one to discover for the thousandth time what different priorities other people have, but somehow it always does. In Britain (I can’t answer for Ireland) an electric kettle is seen as such a basic necessity that - unless they have one of the relatively new boiling-water dispensers - virtually everyone has one, no matter how miniature their kitchen space; not to have one is downright eccentric. And although microwaves are now almost as widespread (according to the Office for National Statistics, in 2010 92% of British households had one) it doesn’t occur to anyone to ditch the kettle to save space and boil water in the microwave instead. This is no doubt partly because of fears of accidents with super-heated water, but also because we just ‘know’ that the kettle is what you use to boil water, and that’s it and all about it.

I’m not an electrician in any way.

European homes have 220/240 volt current at the wall socket while all standard electrical sockets or outlets in US homes are 110/120.  In a rough way of speaking, this means that European circuits can deliver twice the electricity. In my own experience in England, electric water kettles boil the water in half the time compared to electric kettles in the US.

Electricity is provided at the source (from the power pole at the street) in all modern US houses as 220/240 but is divided into two circuits or legs of 110/120 each. Power at the wall socket is 110/120v, so a toaster, vacuum cleaner, lamp, computer, hair dryer, TV, phone charger, etc. run on 110/120v. Big appliances such as stoves, hot water heaters, room heaters, and clothes dryers are wired for 220/240 here in the US. In my experience, the only appliance with a plug removable from a wall socket (where you can unplug it from the wall) is a clothes dryer. It is a LARGE plug. Except for things like table saws or other large implements that may be wired for 220/240, all other appliances that you plug in to the wall are 110/120v.

In the US, 110/120v circuits have one hot lead or wire and one neutral lead. With 220/240v, there are two hot leads that carry what I understand to be the opposite sides of the sine curve, i.e. the crest and trough of the wave alternatingly. One lead carries the crest while the other carries the trough.

In any case, electric water kettles work twice as well in Europe.

edited for incorrect number

[ Edited: 08 June 2013 07:41 AM by Iron Pyrite ]
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Posted: 08 June 2013 05:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 51 ]
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But that doesn’t explain the (alleged) difference in electric kettle use between the US and Canada, which share the same electrical systems. (Although here in Canada it would be the “hydro” system.)

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Posted: 08 June 2013 08:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 52 ]
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In any case, electric water kettles work twice as well in Europe.

No, they don’t and you’ve actually said exactly why… the keyword is “work.”

Voltage is only half the story, the other half is current, or amps and they’re tied together by the laws of physics in an inverse proportion. When you double the voltage, you halve the amps, so you still do the same amount of work either way. What you really need to look at are watts. Watts measure the amount of work you’re doing. Watts = Volts X Amps.  An electric kettle that consumes 3kW will draw more amps in the US than it does in Europe, but the result is the same either way… which is why in both countries you pay by the kilowatt and not by the amp.

Another consideration is that the heating elements in electric kettles use resistive heating which is dependent on current flow. If you only look at half the equation, electric kettles in the US should work twice as fast with our higher currents. The reality is that it’s the amount of work you do that matters and volts or amps by themselves are only half the story.

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Posted: 09 June 2013 05:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 53 ]
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Dave Wilton - 07 June 2013 05:21 AM

we do have electric kettles in the States, although I’ve never used one because lack of kitchen space makes a separate appliance for boiling water unwieldy.

Jeez, I though my apartment in HK was small, but even there I’ve got room for an electric kettle ...

I’m sure Dr T will explain all, but I believe the problem with trying to boil plain water in a microwave is the absence of nucleation sites, resulting in superheating.

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Posted: 09 June 2013 06:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 54 ]
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Continuing the trend off-topic:  I think both Happydog and Iron Pyrite are correct.
For the same power, the US device will need double the current, but as a result will need a much thicker conductor wire.
Not sure what amperage US household circuits are rated at, but a quick look at US shopping sites shows that kettles are rated at 1-1.5KW, whereas European models are typically 2.6-3.0KW.

But I think the real reason for the difference is tea drinking.  Coffee (except instant versions!) is made in jugs or specialized coffee makers.  Tea requires boiling (or near to) water.  It may be an historical chestnut, but I think that the USA has been heavily biased towards coffee rather than tea (except the fish in Boston harbor...)

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Posted: 10 June 2013 09:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 55 ]
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Tea requires boiling (or near to) water.

and coffee doesn’t?

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Posted: 10 June 2013 10:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 56 ]
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Multiple sources describe the ideal temperature for brewing coffee as 195 - 205 °F (90.5 - 96 °C).  Of course, tea connoissuers will specify various sub-boiling temperatures for tea, depending on the kind).  I think the bigger difference is that few American coffee drinkers heat water separately for coffee.  Just as a Briton would not be without an electric kettle, an American coffee drinker will almost always have an electric coffee maker, which heats the water internally and then dispenses it onto the ground coffee.  Those who pour water heated in something else into a device for extracting the grounds are mostly either poor (e.g., myself in grad school) or devotees (either sincerely or affectedly) of the French press (or, possibly, one-cup-at-a-time makers who haven’t bought into the current Keurig-and-imitators fad).

In addition to the nucleation issue, it is difficult to get water to a uniform boiling temperature in a microwave because the omnidirectionality of the heating prevents effective convective mixing, such as occurs when a liquid is heated from the bottom.  It seems paradoxical that heating from the bottom produces more consistent temperatures than heating from the bottom, top, and all sides, but there it is.

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Posted: 10 June 2013 03:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 57 ]
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It seems paradoxical that heating from the bottom produces more consistent temperatures than heating from the bottom, top, and all sides, but there it is.

Well, not to me: heating the bottom will cause good mixing, because the hot water will rise.

An electric kettle is roughly twice as energy efficient at heating water as a microwave oven is: which should not be surprising, since it has been designed specifically to be optimal for that purpose…

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Posted: 10 June 2013 05:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 58 ]
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But how is it compared to an old-fashioned metal kettle on the stove (which is what I use)? I imagine it would be more efficient (less wasted heat radiating away), but I don’t have a guess as to how much more efficient.

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Posted: 10 June 2013 08:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 59 ]
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From HomeEnergy.org (in the wayback machine)

Microwaves can also be used in place of an electric or gas cooktop. Instead of frying an egg or boiling water on a burner, many people turn to the microwave. An electric stove, however, is much more efficient than a microwave--70% compared to 55%--because the heat is applied directly to the container that is being used for cooking (see Figure 2). For example, when boiling water for a large mug of hot chocolate, an electric stove uses about 25% less electricity than a microwave oven. A gas stove is less efficient (40%) and requires more energy than a microwave; however, gas ranges usually cost less to use, due to the lower price of natural gas (see Figure 2).

As of yesterday, I have a new induction “hot-plate” and it’s the new star of my little cooking area. Two cups of water in a 2qt saucepan boils in about 90 seconds… at something like 85% energy efficiency. The electric skillet is going to storage! The difference, of course, is that heat doesn’t have to transfer from a flame or heating element to the pan, the heat is created in the metal of the pan itself! Gotta love this technology!

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