Appliance Spotlight: Ranges

hand cleaning enamel stove top

All homes have a range. A range is a combination oven and stove; the oven being the place where you cook lasagna and the stove being the place where you scramble eggs. Some use gas to heat, others use electricity.

MONTHLY MAINTENANCE

Clean the Drip Pans

Drip pans, despite popular belief, should not be permanently caked in overflowing souffle or butter sauce. If you clean them regularly, they’ll look pretty! While nostalgia is fun and “every stain is a story”, you won’t have to relive all of your kitchen fumbles every time you look at the stove.

Clean the Burners

Electric Stoves: Do not submerge in water (they’re electric) or place in the dishwasher. Use a damp cloth to wipe down instead.

Gas Stoves: If the burners and caps are gray enamel, you can actually cook off all of the goop by placing the caps and burners in the oven on self clean. Sadly, black burners and caps can only be wiped down. When reattaching to the stove, make sure the burners and caps are dry and placed on properly.

Clean the Wall

The wall area between the range and the range hood can get grimy. Wiping down this area regularly will keep grease and food splatters from building up. In addition, please be sure to clean the underside of cabinets that may have been subjected to some splatter.

Don’t Forget Your Range Hood

Sometimes things splatter, and sometimes that’s okay. What’s not okay is a neglected range hood. Grease is a pain to remove, especially all at once (like at move out). Like most cleaning tasks, if you get in the habit of cleaning your range hood after each use (or weekly), you’ll never have to invest a substantial amount of time in cleaning.

The light cover can be soaked in water or CLR, and the filter can be swapped out at the Self Help Center as it starts to get covered up.

BIYEARLY MAINTENANCE

Self Clean is Okay

The self clean on your oven is an awesome feature, but be cautious. Do not place oven cleaner inside prior to use, as it will start a fire. Make sure everything is removed before starting. It will get hot and the area around your oven will also get hot, so be sure to remove things that can melt.

Clean Underneath 

We know it’s a pain, but so are shrews and cockroaches. Food often falls when cooking, sometimes ending up under the oven or in the notorious gap between the oven and the counter top. At the very least, a quick vacuum with an attachment is warranted.

GENERAL ADVICE

Clean, Clean, Clean

Ranges use heat to make food more delicious; heat is a great tool, but it is also dangerous. Cleaning the surface helps remove flammable residue, like grease.

Supervision Required

Bacon can go from crunchy or lightly charred to grease fire in a matter of seconds. Never leave the stove or the oven unattended and never leave your home with the stove or oven on. Always keep a metal lid and salt handy when cooking on the stove. These can help quickly smother fires. Grease fires should never be extinguished with fire extinguishers, so get out and call 911 if you encounter one.

Know Your Elements

There are a number of dangerous reactions that can occur in a kitchen, like water and hot oil. Science is miraculous, we love science, but please do not turn your kitchen into a giant experiment.

Know the Preheat Time

It usually takes about 20 minutes to preheat an electric oven. Many ovens use a timer to determine (guess) when an oven is preheated, they do not measure the actual temperature.

COMMON PROBLEMS

“My electric stove and oven won’t turn on”

It may sound dumb, but one of the most common causes of this is the range being unplugged or not fully plugged in.

Check the plug before calling maintenance!

“My gas stove igniter clicks, and I smell gas, but nothing is happening”

The gas stove works by allowing a small amount of gas to exit through a single hole in the burner. Sometimes this hole gets clogged, taking a toothpick and clearing out allows the gas to escape.

“I smell gas”

First things first, check to make sure the burners aren’t turned on. When you turn on a burner (without igniting), gas is continually released. If the gas is turned on, or you can’t discover the source of the smell; get out of the home and call 911.

“My oven is cooking things too fast, or too slow”

All ovens are different, so always monitor food as its being cooked, despite what the instructions say. Actual heating times can vary significantly between ovens set to the same temperature. Adjusting racks (when the oven is cooled down) can affect heating times. Learning the right rack placement is an integral part of forming a meaningful, lasting relationship with your oven.