Gas Cooker Maintenance

THE cooker should be cleaned thoroughly every week if in constant use. While the oven and enamelled parts may get this attention as a matter of course, it is probable that the burners, etc. may escape notice. A stiff brush, with a handle, is needed. Do not use a wire brush. Take out the bars on top of the hot plate, above the boiling rings; it will be found that the ‘burners’ can then be lifted out, as they fit with a socket over the injectors projecting from the taps. Get some boiling water in a largish flat bowl, and dissolve a little washing soda or some soap powder in the water. Dip the burners in, one at a time, and scrub vigorously with the brush, paying especial attention to the nipples or holes from which the gas issues and burn.’ when it is connected up.

Next, sharpen up a wooden skewer, or some similar spill of wood, until it has a slowly tapering point which will fit into the holes in the boiling ring. The point need not be rounded; in fact, if it is left with squared facets, it will work better. Twist the skewer into the holes, so removing any incrustation which may have blocked them; re-sharpen the point from time to time as necessary. Never use a sharp metal instrument for this job. Before replacing the burners, scrub over the outside top of the oven with hot soda water to remove any congealed grease. Hardened grease can be cleaned off with one or other of the proprietary compounds available at most ironmongers, for this purpose.

The fretted plates above the grill need careful cleaning if an offensive smell is to be prevented. After washing the bars, hot plate, etc., wipe them with a dry cloth before replacing; allow the burners to dry naturally, after shaking out any water within.

The adjustment of the bunsen part of the burners should be left to a gas-fitter, and the adjusting screws should be left as they were set by the Company. The height of the flame, and its colour (the latter depending on the proper mixture of gas and air to the appliance) are matters which need skilled treatment. Tampering with any individual burner may do more harm than good; the gas-fitter can make a test when all the top burners are in use, to see that they all work properly under normal conditions. The oven burner (often nowadays a single long burner at the back) can be lifted out and washed in the same manner as the boiling rings; clean out the holes with a freshly sharpened skewer.

If the gas ‘lights back’ and, after a bang, burns with a luminous flame the adjustment of the gas is faulty. But when the burners or the surrounding parts are hot, this lighting-back may be merely temporary; let the burner cool for a short time, after turning out the gas, and try again.

The flames from the boiling rings should not touch the bottom of any saucepan or other vessel in use; nor should they impinge against any bars, the appliance being so designed that the flames when in proper adjustment will be clear of the bars, supports, etc.

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