Homeowners these days are spoilt for choice when they go stove shopping. While newer electric stoves are a common choice, gas stoves are still very popular. To understand why many people still prefer gas stoves, you must first know how they work.
A gas stove works by sending gas to a cooktop burner. The gas is then ignited, so the burner produces a continuous flame that you can use to cook. You don’t have to ignite the gas burner manually anymore, as most use an electronic ignition system or a pilot light. As a result, gas stoves are more efficient than electric ones, and they cost less to operate.
Choosing between gas and electric stoves can be pretty confusing, but this guide will clear the air for you. Here, you’ll discover how gas stoves work, what components they rely on, and how you’ll install one in your kitchen.
How Does A Gas Stove Work?
A gas stove works in a very straightforward way.
Basically, a gas stove sends air and gas through a burner assembly. As the gas flows through the burner, a starter will generate sparks to ignite that gas into continuous flames.
Those flames will continue to burn as you put your cookware on top of them for however long it takes to cook your meal.
You can control each burner on your gas stove by turning its dedicated knob. When you first turn the knob, the starter will spark to start the flame. Once the flame is on, you can then turn the knob to control the size of that flame and, therefore, how much heat it produces.
Gas stoves generally work the same way. However, gas stove models tend to differ from one another in 2 ways, which are:
- The type of gas it uses
- How it ignites that gas
What Kind Of Gasses Does A Gas Stove Use?
Most gas stoves that you’ll find in household kitchens use natural gas to function. When that’s the case, the household must have a gas line into the house that provides a continuous supply of that natural gas.
Another common type of household gas stove relies on propane instead. Households that want to use this type of gas stove will require a propane tank installed outside of their property to ensure the stove can run continuously, whenever necessary.
Still, it’s helpful to remember that gas stoves of all shapes and sizes rely on other forms of fuel.
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- Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG)
- Syngas (or ‘synthesis gas’)
- Other flammable gasses that are safe for food preparation
How Do You Ignite A Gas Stove?
There are 3 ways that you can ignite a gas stove.
Most standard household gas stoves rely on an automatic electronic ignition system. So whenever you turn a knob and gas starts to flow, the ignition system will automatically generate sparks near the burner.
Once the gas is ignited and there’s a continuous flame, the ignition system will stop generating sparks.
However, some gas stoves rely on a pilot light (or ‘pilot burner’) instead. You’ll often find these on older gas stoves and some in commercial kitchens like restaurants.
A pilot light burns a small flame inside the gas stove, even when not using it. So, whenever you’re ready to cook, that pilot flame will ignite the gas burner, allowing you to cook.
Although the pilot light burns continuously, you’ll have to ignite the pilot flame yourself at first.
Lastly, you can still ignite your gas stove manually using a match or a lighter. This is typically unnecessary. However, you will have to do so manually if your gas stove’s ignition system or pilot burner is not working for any reason.
What Are The Parts On A Gas Stove Called?
Gas stove designs will differ by brand and model. Still, most gas stoves share the same essential components. By understanding these components, you’ll be able to quickly troubleshoot any potential problems with your gas stove.
The 5 essential parts of a gas stove are:
- Gas Burners: One of the most crucial components of a gas stove is the burner. Most gas stoves on the market have 4-5 burners, each producing a controlled flame for you to cook with.
- Control Knobs: Each burner on your gas stove has a corresponding control knob. You’ll use these knobs to ignite the flame at a burner, control its intensity, and shut the burner off when you’re done.
- Gas Valves: The stove’s gas supply is regulated by several gas valves. Each valve will open and close as you turn the control knobs mentioned above.
- Pilot Burner Or Spark Electrodes: Gas burners need a way to ignite flames at their burners. Some generate sparks (using electrodes) or use a pilot flame (using a pilot burner). You’ll find these ignition components next to each gas burner.
- Thermocouple And Other Safety Features: Lastly, gas stoves also have a thermocouple or other safety features. These components ensure there are no combustion problems like explosions. For example, they’ll shut the gas valves as a protective measure if they sense gas flowing without any burning flame.
How Do I Install A Gas Stove In My Kitchen?
Let’s suppose you’d like to install a gas stove in your kitchen. If that’s the case, you’ll need to ensure that your kitchen has two things:
- A gas line or supply: Before you buy a gas stove, you must first decide what kind of fuel source you’d like to use. Most gas stoves will require your kitchen to have a gas line installed inside of it.
However, you can also choose stoves that use canisters, like those that burn propane or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). You’ll need a professional to set up the gas supply system if your home doesn’t already have one.
- A standard 120-volt wall socket nearby: Even though your stove runs on gas, it’ll still need electricity. That’s particularly true if it relies on an electronic ignition system. However, unlike an electric stove or oven, a gas stove only requires a standard 120-volt next to it.
- Appropriate ventilation: As gas stoves burn fuel, they also produce emissions like carbon monoxide. So, you must ensure that your kitchen has enough ventilation, whether using a range hood, a ventilation fan, or even just an open window. That will prevent those emissions from building up and harming anyone indoors.
Can You Install A Gas Stove Yourself?
Yes, you can install a gas stove yourself. However, you should never work on gas lines of any kind without the help of a professional unless you have the necessary qualifications.
In most places, you must have permits and inspections by city officials if you want to install a gas line in your home.
That’s understandable, considering how unlicensed gas line installations could lead to fires and explosions.
So, suppose your home doesn’t have a gas line. In that case, it’s always best to call a plumber or gas line installer with the necessary qualifications.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are a few additional questions and answers to help you understand gas stoves better.
Do Gas Stoves Use Electricity?
Yes, gas stoves still require some electricity from a standard 120-volt outlet. That’s because many gas stoves rely on an electronic ignition system. Besides that, some gas stoves also need electricity to power accessories like displays, clocks, and lights.
Is a Gas Stove More Efficient?
Typically, a gas stove is more energy-efficient than an electric model. That’s because electric stoves require 3 times the energy to generate the same heat compared to stoves that burn gas.
What Are The Benefits Of A Gas Stove?
Gas stoves are more efficient overall, leading to long-term savings. They are cheaper, and gas fuel costs less compared to electricity. Besides that, you can adjust the temperature quicker, giving you more control over the items you’re cooking.
Are Propane Stoves Better Than Natural Gas?
Among gas stove types, propane models are better than natural gas ones. That’s because propane is safer, heats faster, and is more efficient. Besides that, a unit of propane can produce more heat than the same unit of natural gas, making it a more efficient choice.
Which Gas Stove Is Best, Manual Or Automatic?
Automatic gas stoves are better than manual ones. They ignite the flame automatically as soon as you turn the burner control knob. With a quicker and more effective ignition, you’ll waste less gas and release very little into the air before the burner’s flames start.
Plus, automatic stoves won’t require you to put your hand close to the burner with a match or lighter, making it safer overall.