How Does a Gas Stove Work?

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A gas stove burns natural gas to produce heat for cooking. Gas stoves may use electronic ignition systems, or they may use a pilot light to keep a flame going for easy ignition. Burner controls adjust the amount of gas flow, while the oven uses a thermostat to maintain temperature.

In addition to the burners on the cooktop, a gas stove uses a large burner to heat the oven, often paired with a heavy metal sheet to spread the heat evenly throughout the interior. Gas oven broilers are often situated below the oven space, using the same flame that heats the oven to broil food. Other models may have a secondary burner at the top of the oven, similar to that in an electric oven.

Appliances that use pilot lights maintain a gas feed to a small flame next to the burner, keeping it constantly lit. Therefore, when the gas valve is opened and natural gas floods the burner, the pilot light ignites it. If the pilot light goes out, it must be re-lit to allow proper ignition. Electronic ignitions work like the sparking mechanism of a piezoelectric lighter, creating a series of small sparks whenever the burner is activated. Some stoves mix these two ignition systems, using a pilot light for the main oven and electronic igniters for the cooktop burners.