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  Edition # 98  
San Francisco, 11-03-2012

Figure [1]: The typical American spiral stove burners.

Michael In German households, you'll mostly find high-end stoves with Ceran cooktops these days, but in a typical U.S. rental unit, it's not uncommon to see traditional stove models that still feature old-fashioned burners (Figure 1). They generate heat by running electrical current through spiral-shaped metal coils, which often turn bright red if the dial is set to max. They might not be the latest tech, but they offer one unbeatable advantage: If you make a big mess, e.g. by letting milk spill over, you can disassemble these burners and clean them separately, no tools required. The coils come right off and also the underlying metal plate, which prevents any spillage from entering the inner parts of the stove, can be removed and scrubbed clean.

Figure [2]: Coil and drip pan can be pulled out for cleaning.

Figure 2 shows how to remove the (hopefully cooled down) coil by pulling it upwards out of the two-prong electrical socket at an angle, which exposes the underlying drip pan (Figure 3), which then can also be extracted and even run through the dishwasher.

Figure [3]: New drip pans are just a few bucks at the hardware store.

Let's assume now that hypothetically the drip pans haven't been cleaned in years and there's a thick layer of charred crusty food pieces stuck on them that no one will ever be able to scrape off -- don't dispair, you can simply buy a new set of four at every hardware store for about 10 Dollars. You'll get two small and two big drip pans, and their diameter is exactly the same on all major stove brands. Even the coils are standard and can be replaced by new ones from the hardware store if needed for very little money. That's what I call convenience!

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