Keep Your Oven In Good Shape

Reducing the chances of something going wrong with your oven is an easy task if you can avoid taking shortcuts and if you test the oven occasionally. If you look around online, you'll find all sorts of tips for making cleaning easier, implying that there will be little, if anything, that you have to do to maintain the oven. But these tips can often result in damage, and if you avoid testing the oven, you could wind up with a suddenly non-working appliance.

No Foil

One bit of advice you'll find is to line the bottom of the oven with foil to keep drips and spills from drying on the oven floor. However, just as lining a drip pan with foil can damage a stovetop element, so too can lining the floor of an oven. In electric ovens, the foil can melt; in gas ovens, the foil can block vents and create a carbon monoxide risk. In both cases, the damaged foil can create a fire hazard.

Cleaning Sprays

Another shortcut is to clean dials and controls by spraying them with a cleaning solution and letting that sit a bit before you wipe it off. However, if you spray the dials with anything, that substance can drip into the circuitry behind the dials (remember, even gas stoves often have electrical components) and cause a short or a fire. Instead, spray the cleaner onto a cloth and carefully clean the surface of each dial with that cloth.

Test Runs

Finally, you can't assume the oven will be fine forever and that you don't have to check it out. Thermostats can fail rather easily, so you need to schedule a test run of the oven periodically. Get an oven thermometer and place it on a rack in a cool oven. Try to position the rack in the middle of the oven. Turn the oven on as if you were preheating it; set it so that it will go to a relatively moderate to high temperature. Watch the thermometer and oven, and when the oven stops preheating (look for the elements to start fading in color or for the pilot light to go back to its waiting state), compare the thermometer's temperature to the setting on the oven.

It's common for ovens to be off by a small amount, but if you notice a very big difference, or if you see the difference getting bigger each time you test, you need to call an oven repair service, such as J & M Appliance. It's a lot easier to fix a minor problem before it gets too big. If you have questions about that, or if you tried the aluminum foil trick anyway and now have melted foil in your oven, call the repair service as soon as you can.