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The Kitchen Appliance Store buyers guide to built in hobs

Avoid common ordering and installation errors

  
  • Gas hobs must only be fitted by a GAS SAFE (formerly CORGI) registered fitter.
  • A 700mm or 900mm hob will not fit into a space designed for a 600mm wide hob!
  • Remember to check that there is a gas supply to the kitchen first.
  • Remember to check the depth as well as the width.
  • Induction hobs will only work with compatible saucepans.
  • Some induction hobs require a 40amp feed and all require ventilation below.
  • A flex without a plug indicates the hob will need to be hard wired in by a qualified electrician.
  • Induction and Ceramic hobs are not supplied with a cable and require installation by a qualified electrician.
  • Induction and Ceramic hobs are very tough, but it is still possible to scratch them in normal use.
  • Make sure you have the correct power feed for the hob.
  • Not all hobs, even those designed to be fitted above a 600mm base or oven, are the same size

Gas Hobs

   There are many different types of gas hob. The amount of burners can vary between 1 and 6, and the width can vary between 280mm and 1005mm!

View our range of gas hobs

Variations

Apart from the obvious colour choices, there are also various types of pan support available. These can be offered in cast iron, enamelled steel or stainless steel.

Cast iron pan supports

   These are considered to be the most durable and are often described as heavy pan supports (for obvious reasons). Generally, this type should not be put into a dishwasher for cleaning as they can rust. Hobs with cast iron supports are normally slightly more expensive than models offered with enamelled supports.

Enamelled pan supports/burner caps

   These are normally manufactured from mild steel and then enamelled. This type can normally be cleaned in a dishwasher. Over a long period of time, the enamel can become brittle and chip off due to the amount of heat generated by the gas burners. The burner caps will become dull, and this can happen relatively quickly.

Stainless steel pan supports/burner caps

BEWARE. Stainless steel pan supports will turn blue when heat is applied. Some brands offer these on some of their hobs, but usually offer alternative black pan supports and burner caps for an extra cost.

Gas on glass

   Gas hobs can be made of stainless steel, mild steel then enamelled, glass or a combination of metal and glass.

The vast majority of coloured hobs are made of mild steel and then enamelled. Some coloured hobs are made of glass, normally black glass. There are also a lot of gas on glass hobs, which are made of the same material as ceramic hobs.

This glass is in fact a very dark red, and is used because it is hard wearing and can cope well with extremes of temperature.

View our range of gas on glass hobs

Type of Control



  
Gas hobs are available with various types of knobs/controls and these can be situated on the front or side of the hob. We are often asked for hobs with side controls as it is considered that this style is safer when there are young/small children are in residence.

Front controls are preferred by those who are left handed, as side controls are always on the right!

Front controls are often specified for special needs installations, as wheelchair users find them more practical.

Since 2011 all gas hobs must have a flame failure device. This feature will automatically shut off the gas supply to the hob if the flame is extinguished for any reason.

Some hobs have an electronic ignition, which will automatically re-ignite the gas if it goes out.

Many ceramic and Induction hobs have no knobs at all as they are touch control and very easy to clean.

Safety Information

   Care must be taken when installing gas hobs, as there are specific regulations that must be adhered to. There should be a minimum distance between a gas hob and the cooker hood or unit above of 650mm. If the hob is installed adjacent to a tall housing unit, then it should be at least 150mm from that unit. There should also be also be a gap on the other side of the hob of at least 750mm. If the hob is being installed in the gap between 2 tall units, then there must be a space of at least 300mm either side of the hob.

To avoid any confusion (and fires!), gas hobs should always be fitted by a GAS SAFE (formerly CORGI) registered fitter who will be familiar with these installation requirements. It is illegal otherwise.

Electric/Ceramic hobs

There are four types of electric hob
  • Solid Plate
  • Ceramic
  • Induction
  • Halogen

Solid plate

Probably used or seen by everybody somewhere!
   This type of hob is very common in older kitchens, but is now not so popular apart from rental properties due to the indestructible nature of the hob.

The modern version of this type of hob is quicker than the older models, but is still relatively slow.

The plates are made of cast-iron, which can rust and are slow to cool down so keep them dry and watch the red dot for indication of residual heat.

View our range of solid plate hobs

Ceramic

   A hard brittle heat-resistant material made by firing a mixture of substances at a high temperature.

Best described as an electric heating element concealed under glass. This type of hob is also described as Quicklight, Radiant and Hilite! This type is much quicker than the solid plate hobs of old. The power requirement for these hobs is normally at least 30 amps.

View our range of ceramic hobs

Touch control or knobs?

There are 2 types of controls available on ceramic hobs. Touch control or knobs.

     Touch control is now becoming more popular. They are more expensive, but are certainly easier to clean. Some touch control hobs also have a timer facility as an option. This enables the user to set a zone to simmer for a period of time then switch off.

Induction hobs often feature bridging that allows two zones to become one. This feature is also known as Zoneless, Flexinduction, Continuum and Maxisense.

Induction - First, the science


  
The process by which electric or magnetic forces are created in a circuit by being in proximity to an electric or magnetic field or a varying current without physical contact.

Put simply, this type of hob does generate heat. It uses a powerful magnetic field to heat the bottom of a saucepan. The only types of saucepans that will work with an induction hob are those that have a magnetic base. These pans are easily available from major department stores.

Induction hobs are very quick! Most Induction hobs will boil water faster than a standard gas ring. This type of hob will get hot as the pan gets hot.

Do be aware that you cannot use an induction hob if you have a pacemaker fitted!

The general school of thought is that the powerful magnetic field will interfere with the rhythm of the pacemaker, and can cause serious health problems. Most manufacturers insist that induction hobs are not installed above a working drawer. This is to allow sufficient ventilation for the electro-magnets in the base of the hob.

Some larger induction hobs need a power supply of more than 10kw. This is generally not available via a standard domestic consumer unit. Check with our helpline if you are unsure of the power requirement and consult an electrician to confirm that this amount of power is available.

When all is taken into account induction is the fastest, cleanest cooking around. An induction hob will boil 2 pints of water twice as fast as a gas hob with very little wasted heat. The heat can be turned down very quickly to avoid boiling over and with up to 15 heat setting they are extremely flexible.

View our range of induction hobs

Halogen

Used to describe lamps or heat sources having a filament surrounded by halogen vapour.

Although very popular at one time this type of hob is now rare as they are expensive to repair and can fail within a relatively short period of time.

Some manufacturers do offer hobs with a mixture of Halogen and Ceramic/Radiant rings. People often refer to ceramic hobs as Halogen, when more often than not they mean standard ceramic.

Halogen hobs are rarely sold these days due to the high cost of replacement lamps and the affordability of induction.

Domino Hobs

Avoid common ordering and installation errors....

  
  • Domino hobs are often much deeper than worktops. Care must be taken to allow for this fact.
  • Joining strips are often required with these products. These are normally two ring hobs, which can be combined with other hobs to make a combination of hob types and fuel sources.

Above is an example of how domino hobs are combined to make up what is essentially a large hob with different types of heat source. In the picture above, three types of hob have been used. A joining strip is normally used to join the hobs together, which is a much neater looking and easier to clean installation. Not all manufacturers produce domino hobs and not all manufacturers produce joining strips.

View our range of domino hobs

Cleaning appliances

   We are often asked questions about keeping appliances clean. The most popular question being, How do I stop fingerprints appearing on stainless steel?.

The short answer is You cannot!. That said many manufacturers use anti fingerprint stainless steel so it is far less of an issue than it was.

If baby oil on a soft cloth is used to clean the front of the oven, this will keep them at bay, but will not stop them completely. Another useful aid to cleaning is the E-Cloth. This is a cloth that manufacturers recommend to use on the exterior of ovens etc., particularly stainless steel. These cloths are similar to a face flannel, and are best used slightly damp. Some manufacturers have tried to solve the problem by using a clear lacquer, which coats the steel and protects it from our greasy fingers. This does seem to be effective.

Generally, appliances that are offered in a colour are easier to clean. Often the surfaces are glass and colour is sprayed on the back. However there are still a large number of appliances that have an enamel finish, e.g. hobs and cooker hoods. These are relatively easy to clean, but enamel/painted finishes can chip.

Induction hobs are a revelation when it comes to cleaning. As the hob heats the pan not the hob surface, burnt on spillage is no longer a problem. Water is generally all that is needed for cleaning with a soft dry cloth to finish off. A liquid cleaner may be required on occasions.

Still not sure? Need more information? Read our frequently asked questions call us, or click here to email us.

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