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Why you shouldn’t use “Self Clean” on your oven

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Yes the self clean option is a convivence offered on most residential ovens. It’s certainly a household chore most people hate. So why not use it?

Well from the appliance repair industry. It’s all about statistics. Specifically for WNC Appliance Repair. oven repairs. 30% of all oven repairs were requested shortly after using the self clean function in 2022

What Components Can Be Damaged By the Self-Cleaning Cycle?

These are the parts that are most at risk.

  • The high-limit switch, which is the component most likely to fail. When the oven gets that hot, it can break the power connection to the elements or igniters, so none of the heating features of your oven will work, and you’ll probably hear the cooling fan kick on when you use the oven. Replacement of the high-limit switch requires a pro and costs around $200.
  • The door lock remains locked past the two-hour cooling time. If you can’t open the oven door after it’s cooled down, you need a pro to fix it. Another $200.
  • Melted bake, broil or convection elements. Replacement requires a pro and costs $200 to $300.
  • Fried relay board or controller. Super-high heat vented during self-cleaning damages components on the circuit board. The fix requires a pro and can cost $300 to $600.
  • Melted knobs. Easy to replace. Pretty inexpensive and easy to DIY.
  • Burst oven light bulb.. Inexpensive and easy to DIY.

Is It Safe To Self Clean an Oven?

The answer is no and here are a few of the dangers associated with using the self-cleaning feature of your oven.

  • Carbon monoxide is released as the oven dirt and grease are incinerated. The more dirt and grease at the start of the cycle the more CO is released. Unlike your water heater and house heater that also produce CO, your oven does not vent this dangerous gas outside your house. Instead, the CO gas is allowed to vent into your kitchen. There currently is no clinical evidence regarding how much CO is released during the self-clean cycle.
  • Touching the oven at any time during the four-to-six-hour self-cleaning cycle can cause severe burns. In the oven user manual, most oven manufacturers warn that small children and pets must be kept out of the kitchen during the self-cleaning cycle.
  • There is a possibility of oven catching on fire, and causing a house fire.

Potential Dangers of Using the Self Clean Feature

Unfortunately, there are some risks to turning on the self clean feature on an oven. Here are a few of them below.

Overworking the Oven

It takes a lot of power and effort for a standard wall oven or range to reach extra high temperatures during a self clean cycle. Doing so can really overwork an oven and potentially cause an older model to completely give out.

Causing a Fire

Believe it or not, self cleaning ovens can start a fire during the cleaning cycle. This is typically due to a large piece of food or chunk of grease sitting inside the oven that should have been removed prior to the cleaning cycle. Although a fire inside your locked oven isn’t necessarily dangerous, a fuse could blow, and a fire could start in the control panel.

Fumes from the Oven

That’s right, you’re not using toxic chemicals to clean your oven, so that’s a good thing. But what about all those oven fumes you smell when it’s self cleaning? Fortunately, those fumes are not harmful to breathe in, but they are very unpleasant to smell. A self cleaning oven will stink up your house easily if you don’t properly ventilate the space. Opening windows and doors can help clear out the fumes sooner than later.

Carbon Monoxide Risk

So there can be a carbon monoxide risk as foods are incinerated in the hot temperature that your oven has risen to. Like we mentioned with the fumes, keeping some windows and doors open can help limit this risk. It’s also a great idea to always have a working carbon monoxide detector in your home, just in case.