Stoves, Microwaves, Range Hoods, and Trash compactors
How a Stove Works
Gas stoves in Utah use natural gas (propane is used in outlying areas). The gas is is controlled by a valve. Gas stoves are separated into two types, depending on their source of ignition. Some use a continuously burning pilot light, which ignites the gas as soon as it is released to the burner. Other gas stoves use an electric igniter that generates a spark to light the gas, usually when a knob is turned. This creates a clicking sound familiar to anyone who has used an electric ignition stove. The flow of gas determines the height and intensity of the flame and is controlled by a knob attached to a regulator. Pots, pans and other utensils rest on top the grill and are heated by the flame.
Electric ranges (same as a stove) use a heating element that converts electrical energy into heat. The element is coil shaped and composed of several layers. The core of the element is usually made up of Nichrome wire, an alloy used for its high electrical resistance. Electrical resistance is the process by which electrons flowing through a material create friction, which in turn creates heat. The Nichrome wire inside the heating element is encased in a ceramic coating, which regulates and evens out the amount of heat coming from the wire. The outside of the element is made up of a metal sheath, which acts as an excellent heat conductor while also protecting the operator of the stove from the electrical current running through the element.
Though not as common as gas or electric stoves, induction stoves have the advantage of using a completely cool cooking surface. This is possible because the cooking surface itself does not heat the pot or utensil placed upon it. An oscillating electric current is sent through a copper wire coil underneath the cooking surface. This causes the wire to generate an oscillating magnetic field though no heat is produced. Any utensil that is made out of metal and is electrically conductive will heat up when exposed to the magnetic field in a process called Joule heating. The atoms inside the utensil interact with one another due to the magnetic field, and this increase in kinetic energy consequently increases the temperature of the conductor. In other words, induction stoves actually heat the pots and pans themselves rather than transferring heat through a flame or a heating element. These ranges are safer though there is a drawback in that only electrically conductive materials may be heated this way.
- Make sure that the timer, clock or controls are set properly before calling a technician
- Be familiar with the proper method to start a self clean cycle
- Be sure that all locks and shields and timers are set properly
- If a built in oven or range doesn’t work, check the power supply or breaker. If an electric burner doesn’t work, switch places with another to see if it is the element. Often the receptacles that the element plugs into fail.
- If gas ranges don’t light, always check for burner cleanliness. Also the electrode that sparks can be dirty or bent.
- If gas ovens have a gas smell when lighting or if they make an exploding noise, this is usually not a dirty burner, but needs a technician to replace a part.
How a Microwave Works
A microwave oven works by passing radiation at a frequency of 2.45 gigahertz (GHz)—a wavelength of 4.80 in. through the food. Microwave radiation falls between common radio waves and infrared frequencies. Water, fat, and other substances in the food absorb energy from the microwaves in a process called dielectric heating. Many molecules (such as those of water) are electric dipoles, meaning that they have a positive charge at one end and a negative charge at the other, and therefore rotate as they try to align themselves with the alternating electric field of the microwaves. This molecular movement represents heat which is then dispersed as the rotating molecules hit other molecules and put them into motion.
Microwave heating is more efficient on liquid water (than on frozen water, where the molecules are not free to rotate) and on fats and sugars (which have a smaller molecular dipole moment). Microwave heating is sometimes explained as a resonance of water molecules, but this is incorrect: such resonance only occurs in water vapor at much higher frequencies, at about 20 GHz. Moreover, large industrial/commercial microwave ovens operating at the common large industrial-oven microwave heating frequency of 915 MHz—wavelength 12.9 in also heat water and food perfectly well.
A common misconception is that microwave ovens cook food “from the inside out,” meaning from the center of the entire mass of food outwards. In reality, microwaves are absorbed in the outer layers of food in a manner somewhat similar to heat from other methods. The misconception arises because microwaves penetrate dry non-conductive substances at the surfaces of many common foods, and thus often induce initial heat more deeply than other methods. Depending on water content, the depth of initial heat deposition may be several centimeters or more with microwave ovens, in contrast to broiling (infrared) or convection heating, which deposit heat thinly at the food surface. Penetration depth of microwaves is dependent on food composition and the frequency, with lower microwave frequencies (longer wavelengths) penetrating further. Microwaves cook from the inside out only in the sense that each molecule is generating heat from “inside” and radiating it “outward”.
Problem: Bad door interlock switches
Solution: Make sure the hooks are clean and move freely
Problem: Grease splatters on the inside which burn up the wave guide cover
Solution: Clean the interior of the microwave often
Problem: Bad high voltage components
Solution: There is nothing to do to solve these problems except call for a technician
Caution: Don’t run light loads in a microwave and don’t run the microwave empty. If too light of a load is run, a tube (magnetron) may be damaged and the microwave will spark. If a light load needs to be run, put a glass partially full of water in the microwave to help absorb some of the excess energy.
We Replace magnetron tubes on certain brands. This costs about $130-$160 dollars. We will always talk to you about repair costs before the work is done. We stock common tubes and other high voltage items, so the completion rate is very high on the first visit.
How a Range Hood Works
Hoods are very simple in their operation. When fumes rise from food cooked on the range, the hood collects and funnels the fumes to the center of the unit. Fans mounted inside the unit pull the fumes in and move them in one of two manners. First, fumes may be pushed through a duct to the exterior of the building. Second, fumes may be pushed through mesh and carbon filters that clean the fumes, removing grease and odors and vent them back into the room. Usually a hood will have a selector switch that allows you to adjust the speed of the fan and also a light.
Some hoods automatically rise up out of the range with a motor, and are more complete with a board to control the unit.
How a Trash Compactor Works
A trash compactor compacts trash such as soft items and paper. Also, bottles can be crush and cans bent down. The compactor drawer should be more than half full before the compactor can begin to compress the load. The compacting ram is the part of the compactor that compresses the trash. The compacting ram does not go to the bottom of the drawer. You will not see compacting of trash the first few times you fill the compactor. You may hear a noise when the glasses breaks. Strong glass bottles may not break at all. The trash in a full compactor bag will be about one fourth the size of its original bulk.
Hints: Sometimes plastic will twist around the screws on the ram and jam it. Remove any debris that hang off the compactor plate. Also, if the drawer gets on a tilt it will not work. If this happens, open and redistribute the trash.
We stock many parts to repair stoves and ranges, microwaves, range hoods, trash compactors. We can diagnose and quote repair prices using five major U.S. parts suppliers. If we don’t have the part, we’ll check the stock at a supplier to ensure a quick return to complete the repair.