9 tips to keep your stove and oven working

You want to do everything you can to keep your oven or stove in good working order. Regular cleaning and maintenance can keep you cooking up a storm for years to come.

9 tips to keep your stove and oven working

1. Anchor your oven

  • Tipping ovens can start fires and cause burns. Check for a U-shaped piece of metal screwed to the floor beneath the oven and hooked to one of the oven's rear feet. If your oven doesn't have one, the manufacturer might supply it for free.

2. Protect smooth cooktops

  • Avoid abrasive cleaners, and never use the cooktop as you would a cutting board.
  • Use only smooth-bottomed cookware, and don't store heavy items in the cabinets above the stove. If they fall, they'll damage the cooktop.

3. Look under the hood

  • A noisy exhaust fan can indicate a clogged filter. Once a month, remove it and toss it in the dishwasher.
  • While you have the filter off the hood, wipe it and fan blades with all-purpose cleaner.

4. Take care

  • Applying chemical cleaners to self-cleaning ovens can damage the appliance's interior. If you have a self-cleaning oven, let the oven clean itself.
  • While the oven is cleaning, give the oven racks a mild ammonia bath. Always let the self-cleaning cycle complete before opening the oven door.

5. Keeping the flame burning properly

  •  Orange flames rather than blue can indicate a problem with the burner. When the stove is cool, lift the cooktop, remove the burner, and clean it (and individual gas jets).
  • If the flame still burns orange, it may be a sign that your stove is using the wrong type of gas. A technician can usually fix it.

6. Recalibrating your oven

  • Use an oven thermometer to test a 232°C (449°F) oven. If the temperature is off by more than 20°C (68°F), you need to recalibrate. This can be as simple a matter of turning screws on the back of the oven-temperature knob, or using a special keypad sequence.
  • An impossible-to-calibrate oven may have a bad thermostat, which a technician can replace.

7. De-gunking the sides of your range

  • To keep the sides of the stove clean, pick up some T-shaped plastic gaskets from a home-improvement store and slip them between freestanding stove and adjacent countertops.
  • When gaskets get soiled, simply remove them, wash them, and reinstall them.

8. Adjusting warped doors

  • Simply open the door and loosen the screws on the inside panel near the corners. Push down on the door while twisting it from side to side, then carefully tighten the screws. Close the door and look for gaps; it may take a couple of tries to get it right.
  • Another possible cause of warped doors is bent hinges; these would have to be replaced by a professional.

9. Make it shine

  • Wipe up spilled food promptly. Messes are easiest to clean when they're fresh.
  • Spray a 50-50 mix of dish soap and water and let it soak into burned-on food for a few minutes. Wipe with a clean cloth.
  • If your stove doesn't have a sealed cooktop, you can do more extensive cleaning on its inside, too. If you can get under the hood, use the same 50-50 mix for cleaning.
  • If food cakes on one of your burners, clean off as much as you can, then turn the heat to high. The mess should burn right off.
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