How Do Ovens Work? (The BEST Answer!)

Since the 19th century, people worldwide have been using gas ovens. However, there are now two common types of gas ovens.

But how do ovens work? Read on for more about the different types of ovens, their main parts, and their mechanism. Let’s discuss this for gas and electric ovens.


Common Types of Ovens: Gas

Gas ovens are the most common type of oven in every household. They come in two varieties:

Conventional Gas Ovens

This is the regular and most common type of oven. It requires a steady gas supply and ignites by the use of electricity.

A conventional oven cooks food via two heating elements that heat the air inside the oven. The bottom heating part is used for baking and cooking, while the top part is only for broiling.

Convection Ovens

A convection oven is similar to a conventional oven with a few differences. The main difference between a convection oven and a convection oven is that the latter has a whole exhaust system and a fan to circulate hot air around the oven’s cavity. 

This evens out the heat within the cavity of the oven. It also has convection, which is a third heating element. Convection ovens typically cook food faster than a conventional oven.

Common Types of Ovens: Electric

A lot of people also have an electric oven. Electricity is converted to heat by using a heating coil. This warms up the food.

There is no flame in this system. This can make it easier to clean and maintain this type of oven.

A control board is used to regulate this system. It is often possible to program these ovens to start at a specific time. This makes them very convenient and easy to use. They are safer than gas-based systems. This is one of the reasons why people are switching to these. Common brands are Bosch and Samsung.

What Are the Main Components of an Oven?

To understand how ovens work, let’s first explore their key components. Every gas oven, whether conventional or convection, includes:

An Oven Burner

This is the main element that cooks the food in the oven. You light the burner whenever you switch on the oven.

The gas oven burner is an aluminum tube drilled and machined with carefully designed outlets distributed along its entire length. This allows the burning of the flame across the burner from one side to the other.

There’s usually a bracket attached to the burner, where you mount the ignitor. These brackets ensure the proper ignition of the gas by maintaining the ideal distance between the burner and the ignitor.

The Flame Spreader

This part sits above the burner assembly. It’s made of heavy metal rather than aluminum. This part is designed to ensure the distribution of heat throughout the whole cavity of the oven.

The Oven Ignitor

When you turn on the oven, this part ignites a spark that lights the natural gas flowing into your oven. It’s essential in ovens that rely on electric ignition, more common in modern households.

Ignitors in modern-day ovens must have the ability to deal with very high temperatures. Therefore, they’re made of silicon carbide, which can handle such intense heat.

A Thermostat

This is a device that measures the oven’s temperature when the burner is lit. It’s responsible for making sure that the oven cooks your food at the temperature you’ve already set.

The Oven Safety Valve

It is common to find an oven safety valve in modern gas ovens. They’re designed to prevent the flow of gas into the burner in case the ignitor isn’t heated enough to light the gas, or there’s no electricity for it.

An oven safety valve includes a bimetal, which is a strip that closes the gas valve whenever it cools down.

Whenever you raise the oven’s temperature, electricity flows to enter one side of the safety valve and enters through the bimetal. When it comes out the other side, it goes directly into the ignitor.

The ignitor loses its resistance when it heats up, which increases the current flow in the circuit. This, in turn, raises the temperature of the bimetal inside the oven safety valve, giving it enough flexibility to allow the flow of gas into the burner.

The burner starts up when the gas flows through the burner and reaches the hot ignitor. The bimetal remains flexed open to allow gas flow as long as enough current reaches the ignitor.

How Do Gas Ovens Work?

Gas ovens cook food through a gas-fueled burner. Therefore, they require the flow of natural gas through the burner at the bottom of the oven. 

Whenever you turn on your oven, you allow the gas supply to flow into your appliance. Ovens light through an ignitor, which generates a spark that ignites the flame. This ignition can sometimes be located at the temperature knob that usually releases the gas when pushed inwards and sets the temperature when the flame is lit.

At the bottom of the oven, there’s a copper wire called a thermostat that acts as a temperature gauge. It controls the oven’s temperature by turning the burner off if the oven gets too hot and back on when the temperature falls. In other words, if the oven reaches the temperature you’ve set, the thermostat turns the burner off until things cool off again.

At the top of the cooking compartment in most modern ovens, there’s a flame, which acts like a broiler. The closer the food is to this broiler, the browner and crispier it gets.

How Does a Convection Oven Work?

The mechanism of a convection oven is similar to that of a conventional oven except for one difference: the function of the fan.

When the heat rises from any of the heating elements, the fan circulates the hot air into every part of the oven cavity. This increases the oven’s temperature and evens it out. 

In addition, a convection oven usually includes a third heating element, which makes it easier and faster to reach higher cooking temperatures.

How Safe Are Gas Ovens?

Modern gas ovens are very safe. They usually rely on the oven safety valve that doesn’t allow the flow of gas to the burner until the ignitor glows red and produces enough heat to ignite the gas.

The ignitor won’t normally glow red except via electricity. Therefore, you can control the ignition of both conventional and convection gas ovens through electricity. 

In a Nutshell

How do ovens work? The short answer is that they cook food via hot air. There are two types of gas ovens: conventional and convection.

Gas ovens rely on gas supply and electricity. However, no matter which type of oven you use, they’re very safe.