==Supply circuit=Whether an oven can go on a mains plug or needs it own high current circuit depends on its power consumption. Any oven upto 3kW can go on a 13A mains plug.
Generally speaking, * all in one cookers with oven & hob need their own high current supply * single cavity ovens with no hob rings are fine on a mains plug * Exceptions do exist, check the ratings plate for power consumption if in doubt.
==Cleaning=The big issues are grease and burnt grease. Bulk grease can be removed with crumpled newspaper first.
Parts that can be removed can be dishwashed, or if no dishwasher is available, cleaned as hot as possible. Dishwashing eliminates grease and can remove a fair amount of burnt on grease as well.
Oven parts that can't be removed are best cleaned with caustic soda solution. This needs heat for full effect. Its a good way to destroy grease, but isn't one of the safest chemicals to handle.
Glass in oven doors can be scraped to remove a lot of muck, but avoid a steel scraper that will scratch the glass. Copper scourers work.
Don't forget to clean the glass lamp cover occasionally, or muck blocks most of the light out.
==Repair=Many parts are fairly straightforward to replace if fried * Elements * Fan motors * Switches * Wires with crimped conectors
Usually pattern parts from 3rd party manufacturers are available.
Thermostats can also be replaced, but aren't as easy.
==Light bulbs=Light bulbs designed for oven use are rated for high temperature, and have hardened glass shells to reduce risk of breakage, and possible consequent contamination of food with glass. Its possible to use ordinary appliance lamps instead, but they tend not to last as long, they're cheaper and they're not toughened glass. These are usable where the cooker has a glass cover over the lamp, but not safe to use without the cover.
CFLs aren't an option for oven use.
==Energy efficiency=* If you're concerned about energy use, filling the oven with food uses about the same energy to cook a lot more food in one go. * Very old ovens have no insulation * Some foods only need a minority of the ingredients cooking, the rest can be added without any further cooking. * Microwaving is much more energy efficient with most foods * All canned foods are already cooked. * Electric slow cookers use less energy, and are good for some meal types.
==Oven types====Convection oven==The traditional oven, heat is conducted around the cooking cavity by convection. The result is a lot of temperature variation.
==ϊn oven==These produce a more or less even temperature distribution all round the oven, and give the same cooking result with a slight reduction in temperature. The fan motor creates noise.
===Small cookers==Small all in one cookers such as the Baby Bellings are fairly popular in one bed accomodation. They're small, portable, run on a mains plug, and cook satisfactorily, as long as you don't need a full size oven.
Total power consumption for the oven plus 2 rings is normally over the 13A limit, so the power delivery is interlocked to prevent all parts being on at once. Typically this means the last ring only powers up when the oven element isn't operating. Thus with the oven off it works normally, but with the oven on it switches on and off as the oven element goes on and off, giving less heat.
===Mini oven==Small plug-in desktop ovens were somewhat popular in the 90s. More or less all of these have terrible performance, and aren't often a good choice.
===Combination oven==These can microwave as well as convection or fan cook. All but the earliest ones can do both at the same time, giving faster cooking with less energy use, and the dry browned finish of traditional cooking.
===Non-thermostatic ovens==Very few of these are in use, but they have been spotted. Very old pre- thermostatic ovens have a few power settings, and are designed to maintain cooking temperature on the lowest power setting. Higher power settings are only for quick warm up. Cooking on medium tends to produce charcoal. If you must use one of these things, an oven thermometer can tell you what's going on; knowing what temp it cooks at on low makes all the difference to usability.
===Range==Usability depends on oven temperature, which depends on fuel type and technology. Historic solid fuel ranges tend to have no thermostat and often unworkably low oven temperatures.
The always on aspect of ranges is much appreciated by some, eliminating warm-up times.
===Preheating==Ovens are mostly preheated before food is put in to cook. Doing this is optional, with virtually all foods cooking fine in an oven not preheated. The time the food's in is longer, but its ready very slightly sooner than preheating.
==Ring / hob types====Spiral==* Quick heat up, good temperature controllability * Muck builds up under the spiral and can catch fire * Line the space underneath with ali foil, then it can be cleaned by replacing the foil * The oldest ring type still in use
===Metal Plate==* Safer than spiral * Slow to heat and not very good temperature control
==Ξramic==* Flat flush surface * Relatively easy to clean * Food burnt onto the surface sticks, everything else wipes off with cream cleaner
===Halogen==* Dark bottomed pans required to absorb the heat * Easier to clean than ceramic * Halogen radiators need replacement eventually
===Induction==* Only work with some metal pan types * Easier to clean than ceramic
===Live element rings==These historic rings are rarely seen, but are still very occasionally found. If you're looking for minimum cost cooking equipment, beware.
These are normally a single plug-in ring with an unusual type of heating element. Instead of the element being a metal block or a spiral, its a ceramic tray with grooves in, and in these grooves sits a spiral of bare live heating wire. Any spillage of cooking water onto the element can make the cooking pan live, resulting electric shock. The shock can cause a boiling water spill, adding burn injury. It also creates a conductive path from heating element to case, which usually doesn't make anything live, but can in some cases.
These are still used in some countries for cost reasons.
One question: paint stripper for stainless steel parts, it works to remove burnt grease, but is there a reason it shouldn't be used?