Everything You Need to Know About Gas Hobs
Leaving aside an open fire, a gas hob is among the oldest varieties of cooking apparatus still available today. It works by emitting a steady stream of flammable gas, which, once ignited, can be used for cooking.
Gas Hob Advantages
Gas hobs are incredibly intuitive. You turn it on, hear those sharp cracks and, once the gas has ignited, you’re able to easily adjust the dial to the desired heat. You’ll be able to see (and feel) when you reach the desired temperature, and after a few uses you’ll instinctively understand what size of flame will achieve the desired temperature. What’s more, a gas hob will reach that temperature instantly – dial it up slightly and you’ll almost immediately be able to hear your steak sizzle, or see your sauce bubble more violently; turn it off and the cooking will come to an abrupt halt.
The gas hob has acquired iconic status – and so they remain a popular choice for many chefs. In some vintage kitchens, other types of hob, like an induction hob, might look out of place – but a gas hob will fit in perfectly (but that’s not to say they don’t look good in contemporary kitchens, too).
Generally speaking, gas hobs are not only cheaper to buy than many other options – ceramic and induction hobs for instance – they’re also cheaper to run, with a gas hob costing around 4 pence per meal compared with 11 and 8 pence for electric and induction electric hobs respectively. These savings, over time, can add up to tens of pounds over the course of a year – and hundreds over the lifespan of a hob.
Unlike electric hobs, there is no need to wait for the hob to heat up before you begin cooking, meaning you lose less energy.
When you’re finished cooking, the appliances turns off as soon as you turn the dial. It does not take time to cool down, meaning it also emits less heat than some other types of hobs.
Gas Hob Disadvantages
Whenever we’re dealing with flammable gas, there’s a safety risk – you certainly won’t want to operate a gas hob while you’re wearing something with long, billowing sleeves. You’ll also want to avoid cooking while under the influence of alcohol – however much you might crave a steak after a night out.
But perhaps the greater danger stems from poisonous carbon monoxide, which is produced when the flame isn’t receiving adequate oxygen, or when the gas itself is leaking before it ever reaches the flame. When it reaches your bloodstream, carbon monoxide will react with the haemoglobin in your blood and prevent it from carrying oxygen – which is very bad news for all of the cells in your body.
In a properly ventilated kitchen with a functioning cooker hood, the risks will be much reduced – but if you want peace of mind, then consider placing a carbon monoxide detector near your gas hob. It’s also worth keeping an eye out for yellow flames from your hob, which might indicate that there is too much carbon monoxide in the atmosphere. This is usually symptomatic of a lack of ventilation.
Despite the risk, gas leaks are mercifully rare, and tend to occur in older hobs.
Gas hobs are trickier to clean than the smooth surface of an induction or ceramic hob. They consist of several slightly-raised emitters, each with a heat-absorbing metal platter on the top, and usually a metal rack which suspends pots and pans a few centimetres above the flame itself. When you’re cleaning your hob, you’ll need to clean each of these components – which is a finicky and potentially time-consuming task.
That said, the pan stands on gas hobs can generally be removed for easier cleaning.
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Fitting a Gas Hob
While anyone is allowed to fit a gas hob into the workspace, only a Gas Safe registered engineer can connect it to the gas.
Check the gas safe register to find engineers – and ask to see their Gas Safe card if you’ve any doubts. Any engineer that attempts to carry out work without accreditation is committing a crime – as are you if you knowingly allow them to do so.
Does a gas hob need a certificate?
In England and Wales, building regulations demand that your local authority be notified whenever you install a flame-producing device like a gas hob. You’ll then receive a certificate, which you’ll need if you come to re-mortgage or sell your property – and if you want to avoid a hefty fine. You’ll have thirty days from the day of installation to notify your local authority.
Does a gas hob need an electrical supply?
Yes – a gas hob will still need electricity to light the gas. The ignition system and timer on your cooker will need a 13-amp supply, so be sure that you have one within a metre or so of your cooker.
Where can I install my hob?
When choosing where to install your hob you’ll need to be sure that there are no combustible materials, power points, switches or boilers overhead.
If you’re not fitting an entirely new kitchen, the best option is to simply replace your current hob with your new one.
If you’re installing a new hob that’s larger than your old one, you may need to move any overhead cupboards or other items in order to accommodate it.