By Chris Dougherty
The RV range is a pretty simple device, and usually works when lighted. However, without a little maintenance it can fail, which will leave you by the creek without any supper!
As with the range at home, a clean range is a happy range. On the cooktop, lift the grates and clean the top. Then lift the top to reveal the mechanical space just beneath (units with sealed burners can’t be lifted). Clean this area thoroughly. Look for any damage, evidence of mice, etc.
If the range is getting moderate use, the burners should be cleaned annually or as needed. Make a bath of warm soapy water in the sink or in a bin. Using a Phillips screwdriver, remove the burners one at a time (see the screw on the bottom) and soak in the bath, carefully brushing around the ports. Rinse and dry, then replace as it came off, placing the tube back over the manifold port, and screw back down to the pan. Be sure to remove/reattach the lead for the auto igniter if applicable. Once done, put the top of the range back together.
The oven (if applicable) basically follows the same rules. Check to see that the seals around the door are in good condition. Clean the inside of the oven. The burner underneath shouldn’t require user maintenance, although I would look at it to make sure there’s no obvious damage. On the rear wall of the oven on the top is the thermal bulb, which connects to the thermostat. If this gets gummed up for some reason, it can read falsely. This can be carefully removed by squeezing the spring clip, and can be lightly cleaned using emory cloth. Be sure not to kink or damage the tube going to the bulb.When you’re done, test all of the functions of the range.
As a side note, many RVers complain about temperature control in the RV oven, and about the bottom of their food burning. One fix I have found to work well is to buy a pizza stone of the appropriate size to put on the bottom heat plate of the oven (the plate the burner flame touches.) This helps to diffuse the direct heat, and makes the range work better. It shouldn’t cover the entire floor of the oven, though – make sure any open ports or holes in the heat plate are open.
Chris Dougherty wrote this when he served as technical editor of RVtravel.com