Maintaining a home is one of those tasks most of us took for granted as kids. Who knew every appliance and large item you own needs ongoing care for life? Not our seven-year-old selves, that’s for sure.
Learning how to maintain those appliances can save you money by making your appliances last longer. It can also save you from the headache you get when an important appliance breaks down at the worst possible moment.
To get a longer, more effective life out of your stove, use these stove maintenance tips.
Know Your Stove
Every stove has its own quirks and differences. The first thing any homeowner needs to do is get acquainted with their stove.
Read or skim through your owner’s manual to learn the basics. Then keep the manual in an accessible place so you can check it if you have questions about cleaning or maintenance.
It’s especially important to do your research if your stove is much different from stoves you’ve had in the past. For example, perhaps you just moved into a home with a gas stove but you’ve only used electric stoves in the past.
Before you use or clean your stove, find out the differences you need to consider.
Bake On, Bake Off
They may not cause mechanical problems, but spills on your cooktop can make it look dirty and dingy in a hurry.
The trick is in the way you clean those spills. You don’t want to damage your stove in the process.
Start as gentle as possible. If you have a spill, clean it with a mixture of warm water and dishwashing liquid. Use a sponge or cloth to scrub it, but be gentle.
If this doesn’t work, you can use baking soda for cooked-on spills. Make a paste with baking soda and water and use it to scrub the spill.
It’s best to avoid steel wool and other abrasive pads while cleaning your stove. These can scratch glass stovetops and scrape the coating off metal cooktops.
Use Your Snout
When it comes to detecting problems in your home before they become severe, your nose is one of your best weapons.
If you notice any unusual smells while using your stove, it’s a sign that you need a technician to service your stove. This includes a burnt smell or the smell of heat.
Detecting unusual smells can be tricky because they get lost in the smell of the food you’re cooking. To do a test, boil a pot of water. This lets you sniff for smells while your stove is active without the distraction of food smells.
The one exception is gas. If you ever smell gas in your home, turn off the stove and call your gas company immediately. This could be a dangerous emergency that needs urgent attention.
Look Beneath the Surface
For all stoves other than those with glass cooktops, you may be missing something while cleaning your stove.
Food, oil, and other debris can fall beneath your burners. This debris could lead to unfortunate smells or even create a fire risk if it gets into the wrong places.
To keep your stove in tip-top shape, be sure to clean in that area under the burners. Your stove should have a release lever that lets you lift the cooktop as if you were lifting the hood of a car.
If you aren’t sure how to do this on your stove, check your user’s manual for details.
Mind Your Filters
The fan in your range hood above your stove is an important part of the stove. When was the last time you checked your hood’s filters?
Most hoods have two filters. There is a visible stainless steel filter that traps grease and other debris. If you remove that filter, you’ll see an inner filter made of activated carbon.
Both of those filters need some love. For the stainless steel filter, you don’t need to replace it often but a good cleaning will go a long way.
Remove the steel filter and soak it in warm water with dish soap to loosen the grease. Then, scrub it gently to remove as much debris as possible.
For the carbon filter, you need to replace the filter every six to twelve months. Be sure to check your user’s manual to see what type and size of filter you need.
Use Water with Caution
As you clean your stove, be careful how much water you use and where.
Use minimal water around all moving parts. This includes dials, knobs, and any openings that could lead to electrical parts of the stove.
If you use too much water in these areas, it can lead to a short circuit in the stove. Instead of pouring any water on your stove, use damp rags or damp sponges while you clean.
After cleaning the stove, make sure it dries completely before you use it.
Watch for Patterns
One of the most important things you can do for your stove is to catch problems early and call a technician for repairs. Those signs and symptoms may be subtle, though.
Pay attention to anything that has changed about your stove. Does it take longer to boil water that it used to? The same question applies to pre-heating your oven.
It’s also a sign of trouble brewing if you follow a recipe’s time and heat suggestions but the food doesn’t cook correctly. This could mean your stove isn’t heating properly and it’s time for a tune-up.
Stove Maintenance Tips to Use Today
When you own a home, sometimes it feels like you have one repair or problem after another. You can keep those to a minimum by fixing small issues before they become big problems.
The stove maintenance tips above can help you keep your stove in tip-top shape and keep it going for as long as possible.
If your stove isn’t running the way it should or you suspect a problem, call our stove repair technicians for help.