Last Updated on July 12, 2021
While most people are familiar with toasters and even have one in their own home, few consumers understand how a toaster works. An electric toaster and pop-up toaster options have evolved drastically over the years. Today’s devices are more advanced than ever before, with greater energy efficiency and new features.
Today, we’re going to look at what goes on inside your automatic pop-up toaster. We will explore what makes the heating elements – those glowing red wires – glow and how they make the perfect toast. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll know what a bread toaster can do.
Do Toasters Use Radiation?
Most automatic toasters use something called infrared radiation. Don’t worry; this isn’t a dangerous form of radiation. Instead, the infrared light bulb in your bread toaster uses electrical energy to heat sliced bread until it’s cooked to the perfect level.
Infrared heat is similar to the sun’s rays. When your skin is exposed to direct sunlight, you’ll notice it starts to get warm. Eventually, your skin might even burn or become red. Similarly, the infrared radiation used for toasting bread exposes slices of bread to more heat. The radiant heat cooks your food on the exposed surface rather than drying out the full slice of bread.
With a toaster, the heat penetrates your food through light, and the molecules in the sliced bread move faster, thereby creating heat. The more heat that’s produced during the toasting process, the faster the toaster works to create your breakfast or afternoon snack. Infrared light is a common product in many accessories around your home, including remote controls, thermal imaging cameras, and more.
How Does a Toaster Turn On?
Most toasters connect to a power outlet, which allows you to flip a switch to turn the device on and off. The basic switch allows electricity to flow into the toaster, and the machine redirects the energy to the necessary places. Some of the electricity creates heat to toast your bread at the right temperature, while the rest does things like showing your timer or display.
You may also see numbers on your toaster. It is likely you are already familiar with this. However, if you want to learn more, check our article here on what those numbers mean.
The electrical parts in a toaster are quite simple. Aside from the on and off switch to control your toasting cycle, a toaster will also have a set of plates that hold your bread in place, as well as sets of wires. These wires send electricity around the toaster to heat the device and create glowing red infrared bulbs. The hotter these heating elements become, the faster your slice of bread will cook.
Toasters also feature circuit boards, which allow them to perform their job more effectively. The circuit board is powered by the electricity that comes from your power outlet. With the use of electrical energy, your toaster’s circuit board will be able to control the high temperatures your device uses to cook your bread. In addition, you can control the heat inside the toaster with the control mechanisms.
Different Toasters Come With Various Features, Such As:
Toasters were invented, so it will be easier to make the perfect toast. More importantly, they are designed so people can adjust how toasted they want their bread. But, as technology advances, so do toasters. Now, they are made with different features.
• A lever to control when you lift toasted bread out of the toaster. Often, you will need to lift the bread out enough so that your fingers don’t touch the hot internal parts of the toaster.
• A darkness setting so you can determine when your toast will pop up after a certain period of time. You can use this setting to control how hot the toaster gets and how toasted your bread is by the time you’re done cooking.
• Other settings can include bagel buttons for toasting a bagel on one side but not the other. You might also have a special release mechanism for accessing your bread and a screen that shows you the toasting level without using the pop-up elements that inadvertently interrupt the toasting process.
How Does a Toaster Work? The Basics
Most of the electric toasters available today use the same kind of electric circuit and features. Although you can get an intelligent electric toaster, the central heating element and the electric circuit remain.
After you plug your toaster or toaster oven into the outlet in your home, the toasting process can begin. You can place bread slices into the toaster, and electricity flows from the outlet into the electric toasters, where it can start to heat the heating element. The heating element in an electric toaster is the infrared bulb, similar to that used in hairdryers, and is a critical component.
A wedge in the toaster pushes two contacts to form a connection between thin filaments connected in the device. The nichrome wire in your toaster conducts electricity to the metal heat elements and plates called mica sheets. As the electricity flows and electrons collide, the energy around the nichrome wires becomes heated, and the excess energy radiates away from the coils, heating your bread.
The heating elements will glow red hot, and the closer the mica sheets and bread are to your heating elements, the faster it will toast. Finally, when the toasting is complete, the nichrome wires disconnect, and the toast pops up.
How Does the Toaster Know When to Pop up the Toast?
Most people are learning how toasters work. The most confusing thing for most people, figuring out how a regular toaster can detect when to pop the toast out of the system. So how do the miniature radiators in your toaster know when your toasting is done?
Toasters work by using various control dials alongside a circuit board to determine how long the toasting process should take. For example, when you set the level at which you want your toast to turn brown, the system inside the toaster establishes a length of time to cook to turn your bread into the perfect piece of toast. In addition, toasters are programmed to know how long they need to keep electricity flowing before your toast will be ready.
Crucially, most wires in toasters won’t connect to mechanical timers, but bimetallic strips that function as a kind of timing mechanism to determine when your food is toasted. This mechanism responds to the hot elements within your toaster instead of focusing on time passed. So it’s not a timer in the conventional sense.
The bimetallic strip is located in the toaster and connected via a wire to the control panel. The metal heats up at a different rate, causing it to curl. The longer the heat, the more the metal will curl. This metal will trigger a lever based on the browning level you set for your toasted bread. In turn, this lever tells the electricity to switch off and the energy to stop flowing when the right point in your timer is reached.
How Do You Use a Toaster: Step By Step
Although learning how electricity moves through the wire and mental in a toaster can be complicated, learning how to toast bread is simple enough. It would help if you did the only thing before placing your bread inside the toaster to make sure the device is plugged in and turned on at the power supply.
Then, after you’ve added the bread to your toaster, you can choose the browning level you want to achieve. Once the browning level is set, all you need to do is press the lever or button down for the toasting to begin. This action then generates the electricity within the toaster and through the nichrome wire.
If you press two pieces of bread down into the toaster simultaneously, they will often cook at around the same time too. This is because the wire and metallic system inside of your toaster will work using an electric current and reflected light to toast bread. Then, when the toaster has finished cooking your bread to the right temperature, a trigger will be tripped, causing the electric current to stop.
As long as the electric current flows through the wire and toaster, the bread continues to toast. Usually, your bread will pop up naturally when it’s finished. However, you might need to raise a lever on the side of some toasters to make your bread easier to grab.
Now that you know how to use a toaster, always remember to clean it properly! This is to make sure that it continues to function optimally for a very long time.
On the other hand, if you don’t have a toaster but want to make toasts at home, know that it is very much possible! Click here to learn how to make toast without a toaster.
Understanding How Toasters Work
Toasters are just one of the many household appliances that many people don’t know much about. The electricity and wiring that makes your toaster work can seem a little confusing, but it’s no more complex than the circuitry that makes household hairdryers work.
Now that you know the answer to “how does a toaster work?” you can approach your toasting routine each morning with a new appreciation for the metal appliance you have. Toasters are wonderful machines, after all.