Range / cooktop repair
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HOW YOUR STOVE WORKS
The basic range is a heating device, designed to convert electrical energy into heat energy. There are stove-top elements, and one or more heating elements inside an insulated cabinet (the oven) for baking, toasting, etc. Temperature control is handled in several ways. The simplest is the use of a rheostat. The more the knob is twisted, the more current will flow through the element and the more heat it will generate.
More popular now is a switch with multiple discrete positions on it, five positions (warm, low, medium, medium high and high) being the most common. Most often this arrangement will use a double heater element. The switch allows either 120- or 240-volt current to flow to one or both of the elements. For example, on high, 240 volts is flowing through both elements; on medium high the 240 volts will flow only to the outer element and the inner element will be cut off. On medium both elements are provided with power, but only 120 volts each. For low, the inner element is cut off, and 120 volts flows only through the outer element.
On arm both elements are fed from the same 120 volt leg, thus dividing the total voltage between them and supplying each with about 60 volts. Other arrangements can be used, depending on the number of settings desired. For example, you can easily provide an additional setting by sending 120 volts to one element and 240 to the other. Another and newer type of temperature control has a bimetallic switch incorporated into the circuit. It is called an infinite heat switch. Depending on the temperature at which• you set the knob, a bimetallic switch breaks the circuit more or less often. If the control is set for high, power is flowing constantly.
In the medium position, it is flowing at full force half the time, and is completely shut off the other half. On low, power is flowing for only brief periods of time. The owner's manual that came with the oven should tell you which system your particular range uses. Knowing exactly which will help in troubleshooting. In the oven section, one or two heater elements are thermostatically controlled. A dial is used to set the temperature to a certain point, and the bimetallic thermostatic switch turns current on and off in order to maintain the inner oven heat at this level. This thermostat can often be adjusted. Normally this isn't necessary, however, and most manufacturers recommend that you leave the thermostat alone if the cooking temperature is within 25 degrees accuracy.
The modern stove/range is pretty much self maintaining. Even if it is not of the self-cleaning variety, there's not much to be done to keep the unit operating perfectly. The drip bowl under each surface burner is to catch spills and to reflect heat back tip into pots for faster and more economical cooking. Washing the drip bowls frequently will keep them more efficient, and will also keep the range looking bright and new. These drip bowls can be removed and cleaned right along with the pots and pans used for cooking. Note that if a drip bowl begins to turn blue or gold in color, the pots you are using may not be flat enough to be making solid contact with the heating element, or are too large for the burner size. The heat is going more down into the drip bowl, instead of being reflected back up into the pan. Most ovens are self cleaning. They will basically clean themselves during normal operation. All but large spills will burn away.
To keep the smoke in your kitchen at a minimum, wait until the burner is cool and wipe away the spill, if it is large.
Do not immerse heating elements in water. In case of stubborn stains, use a scouring pad and scrub. Then allow the heat from your next cooking to burn the stain out. Inside or out, don't let the stove get too dirty before cleaning it. This is especially important inside.
Regularly wipe cool range surface.
Quickly wipe up spilled foods containing acids (citrus, vinegar, milk, etc.). They will mar finish.
Never use abrasive or harsh cleansers or metal wire scouring pads.
Spills, stains will burn off. Do not wash in water.
Never place in oven during self-cleaning cycle.
Cool before cleaning. Squeeze dab of cleaner/conditioner directly onto stains. Wipe with damp paper towel; remove excess cleanser with a fresh paper towel.
Wash, rinse, and thoroughly dry. Do not soak in water.
Wash with cooking utensils. Do not place in self-cleaning oven.
Wipe off spills. Wash with other cooking utensils. Or place
upside down on racks during self-cleaning oven cycle.
Frequently scrub Teflon finish with plastic scouring pad. Clean with mixture of 2 Tbs baking soda, 1/2 cup bleach with one cup water. Wash finish with solution.
Wipe surface with salad oil before using again.
All of the above tips are for informational purposes only. For your safety, we strongly encourage any gas or electric stove repairs to be performed only by a certified technician.