Cooking with Gas: Sealed Burners vs Open Burners

Pros and Cons of Sealed vs Open Gas Burners

Burner Types

There are two styles of surface burners for gas ranges: open burners and sealed burners. Imagine a range top as a single piece of metal with holes punched in it just large enough to accommodate a gas line for each of the burners. This cooking surface would have sealed burners. Any spills or debris would contained on the top.

Some cooking surfaces have large openings for each burner so that the entire burner sits in the center of the hole with open space around and below the burner itself. This is an open burner configuration.

There are advantages and disadvantages with each system. Industry veterans often have strong viewpoints prefering one or another. If you are confronted with this decision, here are some criteria to help you choose.

Cleanability

There's no doubt that sealed burners are easier to clean than open burners. Spills are captured on the cooking surface where they can be wiped up, and the burners themselves can also be cleaned with ease. On the other hand, when spills occur with open burners the spill will fall into the hole surrounding the burner. Fortunately, there is a metal sheet below to catch any spills. Cleaning the burner itself can be time consuming and depending on use may be required often.

Appearance

Open burners expose the underneath of the top, and are generally going to have more of an industrial, restaurant-look. Sealed burners will not show anything below the top, and be less obtrusive than the bulky open burners.

Cooking Results

There's lots of debate here. Chefs will brag about the air surrounding the open burners creating more heat, greater flexibility, and better overall control. Tests confirm some advantage here, but as they say, “your results may vary”. Sealed burners are by far the most popular, and few users complain about the lack of air circulation affecting cooking results.

Conclusions

If you do a lot of cooking and are used to using the open burners of commercial-type ranges or rangetops, you're probably going to want to stay with open burners. It's worth noting that open burners can be synonymous with professional or commercial-style appliances that are likely to have a steep price premium.

For convenience and low maintenance, sealed-burners are the obvious choice. Over the years, there have been some advances in both sealed and open burner technology. For example, Viking has recently launched a new sealed burner that is claimed to have a commercial heritage.

For more information, or to compare the two burner-types call the experts at Arizona Wholesale Supply for an appointment.


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How Long do Appliances Last?

When Should I Replace My Appliances?

It's complicated

Many years ago, I used to carry around a chart from AHAM (Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers) which itemized the expected life spans of various appliances: washing machines 15 years, ranges 20 years, etc. I've long ago disposed of this, but I did find this current version. Here is a look at today's appliance lifespans from Consumer Reports:

Dishwasher – 9 years
Dryer (electric and gas) – 13 years
Microwave oven – 9 years
Range electric – 13 years
Range gas – 15 years
Refrigerator – 13 years
Washing machine – 10 years

We all know that the life expectancy of appliances is not what it used to be, but let's not confuse quality with durability. Today's washing machines use less detergent, energy and water than their predecessors. They are more gentle on clothes, and get them cleaner than ever before, but have a life expectancy of only 10 years, compared to 15 years or longer from grandma's Maytag.

Today, manufacturers seem to be on a never ending quest to reduce costs, and as consumers we shop until we drop to get save every hard earned dollar we can on appliances. Moreover, we don't seem to care if our kids inherit the family refrigerator, and we are quick to get rid of a broken appliance to avoid paying a stiff repair bill.

I recently read that in upscale neighborhoods it is not uncommon for kitchens to be remodeled about every 10 years, and that includes new appliances. So, even though appliances don't last as long as they used to, we tend not to even keep them for as long as they last.

The truth is that we don't expect our appliances to last as long as they used to…but we do expect that they have the latest features and look great in our house. I once asked a customer if she had a brand preference for her new washer. She replied that it didn't make a difference as long as the washer was red.

So, don't feel guilty about replacing your 15 year old agitator style topload washing machine with a shiny new front loader. The old machine is at the end of it's life, and the new one could actually pay for itself in energy savings….plus, it's red!

To get more information on appliances, floor coverings, and more be sure to consult your design professional or builder, and make an appointment with the experts at Arizona Wholesale Supply.


Appliances, floor coverings, window treatments, and more

Arizona Wholesale

Phoenix 602 258-7901, Scottsdale 480 596-0092, Tucson 520 795-4663

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