Maintain Your Ovens & Stovetops
Wipe down the range top. A clean surface prevents scratches and stops acidic food from eating away at the appliance finish. Run the self-cleaning cycle after removing racks (they discolor at high temperatures). Clean around the door and its gasket first—these areas often don’t receive enough heat to thoroughly burn off grease and splatters. To cut down on smoke during cleaning, sweep out crumbs. The minimum duration of the cycle should be two and a half hours; some manufacturers recommend three or more. The self-cleaning cycle, which costs around $1 to run, burns off residue with an automatic 850°F setting. After the cycle has completed and the oven has cooled, wipe out ashes with a clean wet rag. Run the self-cleaning cycle at night, when kids won’t get near the hot stove and you won’t notice the odor as much. Once a year: Inspect the oven-door gasket. It should be soft and pliable. If it is hard, it may leak heat, which taxes the element in electric ovens and affects the performance of the oven. What’s more, it will cost you energy dollars. If yours is held on with screws and clips, replace it. Most, however, require disassembling the oven door to replace the gasket—you might want to call a technician for this.
Most gas stove problems are simple mechanical adjustments or maintenance tasks that have been overlooked over time. The procedures to rectify the problems can be performed in your home. If at any time you smell gas or have to replace any part and feel uncomfortable doing so, call your local gas company first for repairs before trying to repair the gas stove yourself. Failure to do so can have grave consequences. Cleaning clogged burners- If the pilot light is lit but the burner does not light; chances are your portholes are clogged from grease or food. To gain access to the portholes, lift the range top and lift up the burner assembly and pull it out. This is the round part that has the little holes all around it with the pipe that runs to the control knobs in the front of your range. Use a small thin piece of wire or a sewing needle and insert the wire or sewing needle into the holes, taking care not to deform or enlarge the holes. Now wash the burner heads in hot soapy water and replace them making sure the port holes line up with the flash tube leading to the pilot. Adjusting the pilot for non-automatic pilots- The flame requires a mixture of both gas and air in order to burn efficiently. When the burner is set to run on high, the flame should be bright blue and steady. If the burner is not getting enough air, the flame will be blue, yellow and white and leave soot on your pans. Now is the time to adjust the pilot. With the top of the stove raised, look behind the control knobs until you see a filter valve that has a screw. Locate this screw and turn it with a screwdriver until it is a blue flame with little or no yellow or white flame. Adjusting the pilot for automatic pilots- An automatic pilot is one that has a spark ignition rather than a pilot flame. The system is activated when the control knob on your gas stove is turned to “Light”. If there is no spark when you turn the control knob, the electrode is dirty and will need to be cleaned. You can find the electrode halfway between each pilot on the left and right hand side of the inside top of your stove. Check for loose or burned wire from the igniter to the module and from the module to the control switch. If the wires seem fine and are not damaged, use a volt tester and check the module. The module is usually marked with an “N” and an “L”. Putting one end of the voltage tester on each end will determine if the module has power. If you get a reading of no power, you will have to change the module. You can remove this piece and order the part from your local appliance repair store or call your gas company and have one of their service repair technicians repair it for you.