How do Gas Cookers Work?
Knowing how your cooker works is useful for many reasons. It’s likely that you cook on a daily basis, so wouldn’t it be helpful to know what you’re cooking with? This guide will tell you all about your gas cooker including a breakdown of how the oven and hob individually work. Or if you’d like to learn something about a specific model, you can also download all of the Amica cooker user manuals here.
Gas cookers have many advantages over conventional electric cookers. They don’t retain their heat as long as a ceramic hob or electric hob will after being switched off, so they could be considered safer as it is very easy to forget your hob is still hot after use! The heat is easy to control and can easily be adjusted according to what temperature you require. The main advantage is that they heat up quickly, as soon as you switch on the hob the flame ignites and heat is present, unlike solid plate that gradually build their heat.
How your gas oven works
A gas cooker will be connected to your gas supply or to an LPG canister, this is dependent on how you source your gas.
The gas is pumped into the back of the cooker and when you turn your cooker control on it, opens a valve regulator which allows the gas to flow through the jets to the burner.
Once you press the cooker ignition, a mains powered electronic circuit causes a spark.
This spark then ignites the gas which is spread across by the gas burners.
When you are ready to use the oven you can set the control to the temperature you desire, which should then create gas flow through a burner which can be located towards the lower back part of the oven. A thermostat will control the temperature, as in gas ovens it is known that the top of the oven is hotter than the bottom. Some see this as a negative but many like this way of cooking as it allows them to cook different dishes at the same time, one of which may require more or less heat.
How does a gas oven regulate temperature?
Gas ovens generate heat with gas fuelled burners rather than an electric coil like electric cookers. There are two types of ignition that an oven can have; these are either electric or pilot, however the majority of modern ovens now use electricity to trigger an ignition, all Amica gas cookers use electric ignition.
Electric ignitions work when you turn the control knob to set the required temperature that you need to cook with, a battery or mains powered electronic circuit then sends a current to the ignitor. Once the ignitor has received the current, it begins to heat up which in turn opens a valve that allows natural gas to flow through a burner tube to the burner, where it ignites the spark of electricity created by the ignitor.
A thermostat controls the burner in the oven, which works when the oven has reached the required temperature. Once it has reached the temperature needed it will turn off by shutting off the voltage to the ignitor. This then triggers the safety valve within the oven which shuts off the gas supply to the burner.
If the temperature drops within the oven cavity, the safety valve will open back up to allow the oven to build to the correct temperature. Once it is heated it will close again, this cycle will repeat to maintain the temperature.
Do I need to preheat a gas oven?
There is a debate on whether you should preheat your gas oven or not, so to help you decide we have some useful advice that will help make your decision on whether to preheat or not.
Why you should preheat your gas oven
Firstly a gas oven doesn’t take as long to preheat as an electric oven. A gas oven will take on average around 5 minutes to preheat, so if you like to preheat your oven, you won’t be waiting too long.
Some dishes need a high heat to cook with, so preheating your oven will ensure that they are being put in at a high heat. Dishes such as cakes and pies require high heats, so a preheated oven will ensure they cook effectively.
Gas ovens do not only heat the air within the oven cavity but they heat the walls and inside of the door as well. This means that when you open the door the cavity loses heat, once closed the oven will return to its normal temperature because of the heat that is retained inside the walls.
Why you don’t need to preheat your oven
Although preheating your oven is a completely normal thing to do and has become part of many peoples cooking routine, it isn’t always needed. Dishes such as casseroles don’t always require a preheated oven they will cook whether the oven is hot before or not.
If the temperature needed for cooking is lower, then you don’t have as much reason to preheat your oven for a long period of time.
If you choose not to preheat your oven, it could be a good rule of thumb to add a few extra minutes onto the end of your cooking time, just to ensure that the food is fully cooked.
Preheating is ultimately something that is down to you and if you prefer it or not. But it is better to preheat your oven to ensure that the oven is really hot and ready to cook your food effectively.
How your gas hob works
A gas hob is also powered by gas and the contents of your pans are heated via a naked flame. Gas hobs are different to sleek and flat ceramic or induction hobs with touch control, whereas gas hobs have pan supports sat on top and they are controlled by control knobs.
Pan supports simply hold your pans in place keeping them steady whilst cooking over the naked flame. They also ensure that the pan is not sat directly on top of the flame. Gas hobs allow flexibility when cooking as you are able to use wok pans with rounded bottoms much more easily as the pan supports can hold them, but induction and ceramic can only hold flat bottomed pans.
When you begin cooking and turn the valve on your hob on, gas will then flow through a pipe to the jet, which can be found under the burners.
Gas is then distributed evenly in a circle through the slots on the edge of the burner.
The burner cap that sits on top of the burners, fully covers and protects the burner from any food or water being spilt on top. They are also removable which is ideal for cleaning.
When you either press the ignition or turn the knob, dependent on what model you own, a spark will move from the ignitor to the burner and gas will start to burn as it escapes from the burner slots.