- Consider buying a self-cleaning oven. They use less energy for normal cooking because of higher insulation levels. However, if you use the self-cleaning option more than once a month, you will end up using more energy than you will save from the extra insulation.
- About 58% of American households cook with electricity, but gas cooking is making a steady comeback. Gas ovens use much less energy compared to their electric counterparts because the fuel is used directly for cooking. A gas appliance costs less than half as much to operate as an electric one, provided it is equipped with electronic ignition instead of a pilot light.
- With electric cook tops, there are a number of new types of burners on the market: solid disk elements, radiant elements under glass, halogen elements, and induction elements.
- Solid disk elements and radiant elements under glass are easier to clean, they take longer to heat up, and use more electricity.
- Halogen elements and induction elements are more efficient than conventional electric coil elements. Induction elements require that you use only iron or steel pots and pans. Aluminum cookware will not work with induction elements.
- The range hood should ventilate to the outside and not simply recirculate and filter the cooking fumes. This is especially important with gas ranges. But also be careful about the sizes of fans -- too large a fan can waste energy and cause back-drafting of combustion gases into the house. This is a major concern with large downdraft ventilation fans used with some cook-tops and ranges. Ask about make-up air ducts available for these models.
Stove and Range Maintenance
Spills, both on top and inside the oven clean easily, if they don't bake on forever. Pumice stone is excellent for stains inside your oven-- if it is a smooth porcelain surface, not a rough continuous clean surface. For all oven, or heavy top surface cleaning, other than aluminum surfaces which will be stained by this product, use a janitorial supply non-aerosol oven and grille cleaner, with gloves. It is much cheaper and less fuming than the aerosol from the supermarket. It costs about $12/gallon, which can be diluted 1:1 with water and sprayed on.
Installing new drip pans for burner top areas occasionally will save you from hours of scrubbing, but in between not letting them get really dirty is best. If your gas stove "spiders" (the pot holding grates) get VERY greasy, soak overnight in a plastic pail of water w/ a can of crystal DRANO. This is very caustic, so use great caution and never get on your skin. Your grates will be like new next day.
Oven racks can be cleaned w/ pumice stone also. If you have scratched/stained areas around burners on gas stoves without separate drip pans, or above pilots between burners, use a paste of Comet with oven and griddle cleaner, leave it on overnight and remove with water the next day (wear gloves!). Your stove top will look the best as possible without replacing whole top.
Knobs have to be cleaned with gentle soaking in soapy water- again this best if done regularly. Try not to remove markings/numbers. New ones also available for most models.
Burners which don't light off pilots or sparkers generally have lighting holes on side closest to pilot or sparker plugged up. Clean with a stiff fine wire and try not to spill food on them. The actual burner tops, often aluminum, should NOT be cleaned with oven and griddle cleaner, but can be done with a bench-mounted wire whell, a drill-mounted round wire brush, or even steel wool or sandpaper.
On electric stoves, try not to spill things onto the actual coils, especially things which will melt on--like plastic bags, paint, etc. Replace or have replaced the woven door gaskets on self- cleaning ovens if the wire mesh shows through--they get very hot during the clean cycle and the gaskets keep that heat away from you!
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