Cooktop Fires: Critical DO’s and DON’Ts


Stove Cooktop (electric)

Stove cooktops come in several types: electrical coil, gas burner, and flat ceramic.

An electric Stovetop Range is a kitchen appliance that uses electricity to heat up heating elements that are on the top surface of the unit, where pots and pans that are placed for cooking. If your Stovetop Range has natural gas or propane piping connected to it, then you should put a checkmark for ‘Stove (gas)’ instead of ‘Stove (electric)’ in your Home Wizard app.

Some models will have just a Stovetop Range by itself, however, some models will be integrated with a Stovetop Range on the top and an Oven below it. If you have a model that has a combined Stovetop Range and Oven, then you should put checkmarks for BOTH Stovetop Range (electric) and either Oven (electric) or Oven (gas) in your Home Wizard app, depending on what type of Oven that you have.


Routine Care Task

Perform annual maintenance

Cleaning the stove range hood, filter, and fan helps to sustain its operating efficiency and helps improve safety by reducing the possibility of grease fires.

Timing: January (yearly)

How To

Annual stove maintenance involves the following tasks:

Clean range hood, filter, and fan: Range hoods and fans are designed to remove grease and moisture which rise in the steam produced by cooking. Wash exposed metal surfaces using an ammonia and water solution. Never use scouring powders or abrasive pads as they can scratch the surface. If your unit has a metal filter, remove it and let it soak in soapy water for a few minutes, wash and rinse it, then dry the filter. Clean the area around where the filter fits with ammonia and water solution. Dry, then put the filter back in. Some hoods have charcoal filters, which should be replaced annually, as they cannot be washed. Check your manufacturer’s manual for the proper procedure for cleaning your fan.

Clean reflector bowls: Reflector bowls under the burners can be taken out, and should be washed in a detergent solution. For stubborn spots on chrome bowls and rings, use a paste or baking soda and water with a plastic mesh scouring pad. Rinse, dry, and replace back into stove.

Clean control knobs: Control knobs can be cleaned with a mild detergent solution.

Clean burners (gas models): Wash gas burners with hot soapy water to loosen grease and grime. Clean with a brush. Do not use any scouring powder, as this can clog the burner holes. If any of the burner holes are clogged, then use a stiff wire to clean out. Do not use breakable items such as a toothpick to clean out the burner ports, as they can break off inside. Wipe burners dry thoroughly. NOTE: If flames from the burner are yellow instead of blue, then call the gas company to adjust the air/gas mixture.

Clean gas grates (gas models): Gas grates, which go above the burners, can be removed for cleaning. Soak grates in very hot water and detergent with a little ammonia, then scrub with a brush, rinse and dry.


The benefits of this task are high, in that it helps prevent costly and dangerous kitchen fires.


The cost of this task is moderately low. It is estimated that this task should take about 60 minutes to complete.


Cooktop Fires: Critical DO’s and DON’Ts

Stove fires can be extremely dangerous. They can cause severe burns, and spread quickly to destroy your entire home. In this article, we describe:

  1. what to do if you have a stove fire, and
  2. how you can prevent them in the first place.


Properly Handling Stove Fires

Never try to pick up a pan that is on fire. It’s all too easy to burn your hand and spill the contents of the pan, which will allow the fire to spread. NEVER pour water on a stove fire, especially if there is any grease, as this can cause the fire to explode into a fireball.

A small pan fire on your stove can usually be extinguished by turning off the heat and covering the pan with either its lid or a wet towel to smother the flames. You can also smother a small pan fire using baking soda, so it’s a good idea to keep baking soda handy near your stove. For larger fires, you will want to use a fire extinguisher. So be sure to keep a tested, UL-rated fire extinguisher easily accessible in your kitchen, and to be familiar with its instructions and how to use it in an emergency (see costs and reviews of kitchen-sized fire extinguishers).

Preventing Stove Fires

The best strategy for stove fires is to prevent them from occurring in the first place. Here are some tips to keep in mind for preventing stove fires in your home:

  • Never leave food unattended while cooking
  • Even a few seconds is enough for a fire to break out, especially if you are cooking with fats such as oil, or sugar.
  • When cooking with any oil at a high temperature, give your stove your full attention
  • Grease, oils, and fats are the most common cause of stovetop fires. The hotter they get, the more dangerous they become.
  • Avoid loose-fitting clothing, and tie back long hair when cooking at your stove.
  • Make sure the stove top is always clean and clear. Never leave wooden or plastic tools, dish towels, or other items on the stove top
  • Take care to only turn on the burner you intend to use, to prevent igniting a fire in the wrong place.
  • Clean your stove after each use to prevent spills that could later fire on the burners.
  • Clean under the burners regularly to prevent fires from excess food.
  • Cleaning the reflector pans under the burners also helps to maintain the energy efficiency of your stove.


Especially for Gas Stoves

If you have a gas stove, regularly check for gas leaks, and if you notice any stove parts getting rusty or old, be sure to get them replaced. Any time you smell gas, turn off your gas at the source, open windows, and quickly exit the house.  Do NOT touch any electrical switches, and do NOT use a phone to call the Fire Department until you are outside your house. Switches and phones can emit tiny sparks that can ignite a gas cloud.  Also, be sure the pilot on your stove lights immediately after you turn the gas on. An explosion can occur by waiting for more than even a second or two.


We hope this article has helped you make your home safer by explaining what to do if you have a stove fire, and more importantly, how you can prevent stove fires from occurring.


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