Helpful tips for maintaining stovetops and ovens

Whatever the level of your culinary expertise, there are two vital ingredients for successful cooking: a reliable stovetop and oven. Here are some helpful tips for maintaining these appliances.

  • If the jet on a gas burner becomes clogged, clean it with a straight pin or a pipe cleaner. Don't use a toothpick – it might break and get stuck in the hole.
  • Ignition lighters must be clean to conduct a spark, but boiled-over food and other burnt-on mess can easily gum them up. Cleaning the igniter and its metal "ground" can solve most ignition problems. Use a cotton swab to remove the gunk, then clean the area around the igniter thoroughly with an old toothbrush.
  • Don't cover the floor or racks of your electric oven with aluminium foil to catch drips. Foil reflects and intensifies heat, damaging the lining and glass doors and causing elements to burn out prematurely. Heat trapped by foil in the bottom of an oven cannot reach the heat sensor near the top, altering cooking times considerably.
  • A bright spot on the side of a stove element is a tell-tale sign of impending failure. Buy a replacement element before the current one breaks down.
  • If a burner on your electric stove won't heat up, turn it off, remove it from its socket, plug it in again and wiggle it around. If it feels loose, remove it again and very gently bend the two connector prongs slightly outward. This should create a tighter connection when the element is put back into place.
  • Appliance repair technicians say they are frequently called out to fix a broken oven when the problem is simply an inadvertently set timer. If your digital display reads "hold," "delay," or "time cook," then the timer is engaged. On ovens with dials, be sure the knob is turned to "manual."
  • To get rid of stovetop grease stains, first wet them with a little water and cover them with a sprinkling of baking soda. Then rub the surface clean with a damp sponge.
  • Ovens and gas barbecues without automatic ignition sometimes have pilot lights that are hard to reach with a match. Light one end of a piece of dry spaghetti to create a long taper to solve the problem safely.
  • Only ever have a qualified technician replace Screwed-in elements, but plug-in elements are simple to replace yourself. Elements are available from the manufacturer and appliance parts specialty stores. Take the burnt-out element with you and make a note of the model number of your stovetop in case this is needed.

Keep these helpful tips for maintaining your stovetop and oven in mind and you'll be able to better maintain these vital kitchen appliances.

Helpful tips for maintaining stovetops and ovens
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