A Stove is a Stove…Right? Part 2

In part 1 of the stovetop series we looked at the different heating techniques and ways to clean the electric coil stovetop, the electric smooth top, and the induction stove top. In the second part of this 2- part series we will finish by looking at gas cooktops and modular cooktops.

Gas cooktops:

Gas cooktops will have 4 or more burner with a visible flame as the heat source which brings fast, precise cooking. These types of cooktops are often preferred by cooks for their fast heat up and quick cool downs. These cooktops use a natural gas or a propane source. They need a 120 volt household circuit as well.

How they heat:

Gas stoves when run by natural gas are connected to a gas line that runs underground and is pressurized. As the stove turns on, the gas line becomes unblocked and the fuel can then flow through the stove’s pipes and then to the burner. In the pipes the gas is then mixed with air which produces a blue, easily controlled flame.

In the stove pipes, a small pipe branches off to the ignition source of the stove. In an older gas stove this would be the pilot light- a small gas fueled flame that is lit at all times. In a newer gas stove the ignition source is an electric spark igniter. This electric spark igniter makes the “clicking” sound heard when the burner is turned on.

The ignition source lights the main pipe igniting the gas there. The flame then travels to the burner where it comes through holes at the base of the burner. The height and strength of the flame is determined by the burner dial which allows the amount of gas in the main pipe to change. [1]

Cleaning:

Always make sure the stove top surface is completely cooled before cleaning. The first16065565_m step is to remove the burners and if food is stuck on, allow them to soak in either the sink or a basin full of warm, soapy water. Use a rag to wipe off the surface.  Where the actual flame is emitted it is a good idea to take something small such as a pin to remove any muck or build up from inside the holes. Rinse the burners thoroughly to ensure there is no soap or residue left on them. Leave these upside down on a clean, dry towel to air dry.

The same method can be used for the burner rings.

For the stovetop surface, start by removing any large food particles you can see and easily pick up such as burnt veggies, or grains of rice. Then using soap and water or baking soda and water mixed together, clean the surface and wipe with a cloth or sponge. Use a clean, dry cloth to wipe down the surface and ensure there is no more soap or baking soda left on the surface.

Induction Cooktops:

Induction cooktops are often cooler than other cooktops because only the cookware and the food inside it are heated. They are often more energy efficient as they don’t use traditional radiant heat and they heat food up at a more rapid pace than other cooktops. Induction cooktops are usually heated with electricity.

How it Heats:

Induction cooking is very interesting and quite different than the other ways that stove tops heat up and cook food. Induction stoves make the heating unit (the pot or pan) the generator of the cooking heat.  The element’s electronics power a coil that produces a high-frequency electromagnetic field. This electromagnetic field hits the metal of the pot or pan and starts a circulating electronic current which produces heat. The heat produced in the pot or pan is then transferred directly to the food or water inside, which means that nothing outside of the pot or pan gets affected by the heat.  The unfortunate part of induction is that it requires that all heating units be made of a “ferrous” metal.  Which means aluminum, copper, and pyrex will not be useable on this type of cooktop. However, iron and steel pots and pans should still work fine. [2]

Cleaning:

As the induction stovetop is glass you can follow the cleaning instructions of the electric smooth top stovetop. Theoretically these stovetops stay cleaner as the pot or pan is what becomes hot so caked on food is typically not a problem.

Modular Cooktops:

Modular cooktops are perfect for the person who wants flexibility in their stove top.  While they have the typical round heating element, it can be replaced with either a grill or griddle.  This makes for easy use of pots and pans, and the ability to grill a steak or use the griddle to make perfect pancakes. These are available in both gas or electric.

How it works:

The electric variety of the modular stovetops work in a similar way to the electric smooth top where only the burner puts out heat while the rest of the stovetop can stay cool. This is especially useful if you wish to use the grill and the burner to prevent heat from the burner to be transferred to the grill.

The gas variety provides heat in a way similar to the gas cooktop where it can be run on natural gas and the gas travels through the pipes to bring the flame to the base of the burner.

Cleaning:

Cleaning will depend on whether the cooktop is gas or electric. If electric follow the cleaning guide for the electric smooth top and if gas follow the cleaning guide to the gas stove top.

Electric coil, electric smooth top, induction, gas, and modular cook tops all have their individual pros and cons. Next time you need to buy a new stove or range keep these cleaning tips and a basic understanding of how they heat in mind. Are you looking for something easy to clean? Maybe something with more diversity? Maybe a mix of both! Let me know in the comments below if this basic guideline to stovetops helped you and let me know which kind you find best for cooking food and easiest to maintain.

 

Gords ApplianceGord Haines is a journeyman appliance technician with over 25 years of experience. Contact Gord’s Appliance for repair and servicing of all your residential appliances.

 

 

 

 

[1] http://www.ehow.com/how-does_4927054_gas-stoves-work.html

[2] http://theinductionsite.com/how-induction-works.shtml

 

 

 

 

 

A Stove is a Stove…Right?

The current wave of new technology has brought on a corresponding new era in stove top cooking. There are many different stove top cooking options that produce the same end result. In part 1 of this 2- part stove top series, we are going to look at some of the different types of stove tops, how they work, and the best practices to clean them.

Electric Coil:

Electric coil cooktops are the type many of us still envision when we think of a stove top. These have the red hot coils we always fear kids burning their hands on. For some reason these fiery red coils are very tempting for tots. The average electric coil cooktop will have 4 to 5 burners with a drip bowl underneath each one to grab the spills and crumbs from the food. Electric coil cooktops provide a nice, even heat and are compatible with many forms of cookware. Compared to other types of stove tops electric coil cooktops are relatively inexpensive.

How it Heats:

Electric coil cooktops work by converting electricity into heat. The burners are connected to the main part of the stove where the electricity is controlled by the burner dials. The burner dial controls how much electricity runs through the coils and thus how hot the stove top becomes. The higher8235053_m the setting on the dial, the hotter the coils become.  [1]

Cleaning:

Start your cleaning by removing the coils. If you have recently used your stove top, make sure the coils have completely cooled. Most burners simply unplug from the stove, but if your coils are giving you trouble coming off, refer to your manufacturer’s instructions to ensure best removal practices.

Next, use a clean cloth and a mild soap to lightly wash off the top. As most food is burnt off of the burners when in use, the burners themselves shouldn’t be too dirty. Never fully submerge coils in water and keep special care to keep the electrical portion away from water.  If there is hard-to-remove, stuck-on food, try using a scrub of baking soda and water mixed together and scrubbing at the problem area. If scrubbing is still not cutting it, try wrapping the problem area in a damp rag for a while and then try wiping or scrubbing.  Again, be sure to keep the electrical component clear of the damp cloth.

Next, clean the drip pans. Sometimes this will be as easy as dumping any leftover charred bits into the garbage, but it is a good idea to give drip pans a rinse with water and soap as well.

Electric Smooth top:

The electric smooth top stove has a solid ceramic glass cooking surface with typically 4 or 5 heating elements built underneath. This stovetop is particularly popular as the glass top makes cleaning up a mess a breeze. It is also very quick to heat up and quick to cool down. One of the disadvantages however is the lack of drip bowls.  If you are someone who tends to let things boil over on the stove, you won’t have any kind of “containment system” to prevent spills from going down the side and onto the floor.

How it Heats:

The glass stovetops only put out heat directly on the burner allowing surrounding areas of the stovetop stay cool to the touch. Glass stovetops use 1 of 3 heating methods:  radiant ribbon, quartz halogen, or magnetic induction. The radiant ribbon resembles the heating techniques provided by the electric coil tops. It can be used on its own or combined to heat using the quartz halogen or the magnetic induction method.  Quartz halogen is the quickest way to heat up food and the quickest to cool down. Magnetic Induction is highly energy efficient as it uses high frequency technology to heat up the cookware and not necessarily the glass top. [2]

Cleaning:

While some spills are very easy to clean off of a glass top stove, some can be hard and take some elbow grease. Always wait till the stove top is completely cooled before proceeding to clean. Once the top is cooled down, start by using a rag and water to remove any surface grim. There are specialty glass top cleaners you can purchase to help clean your stove. Simply spread some the cleaner on the top and either use a specialty glass top sponge or a cloth to wipe down the top. With particular messes some scrubbing may be required. If you don’t have the made-for-glass-top cleaner some household products might work just as well.  You could try using baking soda or lemon juice as cleaners. The baking soda can be spread directly over the stovetop and then wiped down with a cloth. With the lemon juice, add some into a spray bottle with warm water and spray onto the surface and wipe with a cloth. With all methods wipe down with a clean cloth afterwards to ensure no cleaning products are left on the stovetop.

A controversial method of cleaning the glass stove tops is to use a razor or sharp object to scrape the dried food off.  Many people claim the razor is a life saver in cleaning off those hard-to-remove stains, while others claim it’s an unnecessary risk to your appliance. Just like there is a specialty cleaner for glass top stoves, there are also specialty razors made by appliance manufactures. The trick to using these blades is to keep them in an upright position and move in an up and down motion. Never use the corners as this could scratch and damage the surface.

It is always in your best interest to check with your manufacturer about recommended cleaning procedures and products.

What type of stove do you prefer to use and why? In part 2 of this series, “A Stove is a Stove… Right?”, we will look at gas, induction, and modular stove tops.

 

 

Gords Appliance
Gord Haines
 is a journeyman appliance technician with over 25 years of experience. Contact Gord’s Appliance for repair and servicing of all your residential appliances.

 

 

 

[1] http://www.ehow.com/how-does_4927 715_electric-stove-work.html

[2] http://www.ehow.com/how-does_4606017_glass-top-stove-work.html

A Clean Fridge is a Clean Kitchen!

The refrigerator is an appliance that is used very often in every home. A quality refrigerator should be able to last a lifetime, but even a good fridge needs a little tender love and care now and then.  In order to keep your fridge in good working order, a proper cleaning every once in a while is needed. In this post we are going to go through some of the easy things you can do to maintain your fridge.

Drips and Spills:

One of the biggest causes of odour is drips and spills. While to some it may seem obvious, cleaning up spills immediately without letting them dry will help immensely in keeping a clean fridge. Once spills dry they become much harder to clean and produce greater odour.  Depending on the substance that spills, the shelf of your refrigerator may also become sticky and tacky when it dries, making Tupperware, condiment containers, or fruits and vegetables stick to it. A good way to combat spills and drips is by making sure all lids are properly sealed before returning containers to the fridge, as well as choosing plastic containers with lids for leftover foods rather than plastic bags or containers without lids.

Mouldy Food:

Fruits and vegetables are delicious, healthy, and nutritious, however, once they have gone bad they become smelly, mushy, and rotten.  Rotten fruits or vegetables in the Refrigerator and Freezercrisper can become wet and mushy and seep over everything else in the crisper ruining the rest of the contents of the crisper.  This is money down the drain so to speak. Furthermore, yanking on sticky drawers that won’t open can damage crispers, possibly causing injury to you or your fridge. A good way to eat your fruits and veggies before they spoil is to make a meal plan prior to shopping and only purchase those foods that you know will be eaten in that time.  If all your fruits and veggies can’t be eaten, check on them daily so you can throw them out before you’ll need to throw away anything touching the fuzzy mould they could turn into.

Doors:

It is also recommended that doors and the exterior be cleaned down weekly with water and dish soap. While this will clean and keep the exterior polished and looking good,  it will also give you time to pay attention to squeaky hinges and any leaks or spills you missed during the week. Remember to get in the seals of the door where crumbs and dust can collect, an old toothbrush can come in handy for this.

A Full Fridge Clean:

It is recommended that you seasonally empty a refrigerator (putting the contents in a cooler). Remove the shelves and drawers, and clean the inside as well as the shelves and drawers. Use a nonabrasive cleaning solution or unscented soap for cleaning so that there is no lingering smell from the cleaner.  For anything that has been caked on or is hard to remove, soak in the nonabrasive solution or the unscented soap with water for 10-20 minutes and the stain should rub off easily.

Odour:

If there is an issue with a lingering odour in your fridge, even after you’ve cleaned it, there are many things you can use to attempt to get rid of the odour. While some of these might just cover or mask the odour they might still be useful to try. There are many products on the market you can purchase that contain baking soda, but an open container of baking soda alone is an inexpensive way to greatly diminish the odor. Position the box to minimize the possibility of a spill or try taping thin gauze or the tip of a clean old nylon stocking around the open top of the box to provide a bit of extra insurance against a mess in the event of a spill. If you are going to be away for a few days and won’t be needing to access your refrigerator, spread coffee grounds on parchment paper atop a cookie sheet and place it on a shelf in your fridge.  Eventually the coffee smell will absorb the odour and the coffee smell itself will disperse.

By keeping up these best practices you can keep your fridge in good working order. How often do you clean your fridge? What’s the grossest thing you have found? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Gords ApplianceGord Haines is a journeyman appliance technician with over 25 years of experience. Contact Gord’s Appliance for repair and servicing of all your residential appliances.