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Oven Maintenance

By: Mike Thomas

Your oven is one of the most used appliances in any kitchen, so having it break down can be a huge hassle. If it does, your only options are to try to fix it yourself, or call a repairman; either way, you're going to be spending time and money, and who wants to do that? A bit of do it yourself maintenance and cleaning on a regular basis can keep your oven working great.


A common problem I see is the burners on gas ranges lighting either unevenly or not at all. It's typically caused by spills clogging the gas ports, and you can fix it yourself! First, and most important, is that you want to turn off the gas and electric supplies to the range. Then you remove the burner and soak it in a a mix of water and mild detergent and clean it with a soft cloth. Once it's fully dried you can replace it and turn the power back on.

Oven soot

The inside of your oven should be cleaned regularly to ensure even heating as well as efficient cooking. This is especially important before you start your holiday cooking. Many ovens include a self cleaning feature that bakes off anything stuck to the inside, but some you'll have to do yourself. In these cases you can buy a commercial oven cleaning spray to use, or if you would prefer a more natural solution, sprinkle baking soda onto the baked on spills followed with a spray of water. Let that sit overnight and you should be able to wipe it right off. (If it's still a little stubborn, add more baking soda followed by a spray of vinegar and wipe after a half hour.)


Believe it or not, your oven's light can affect your cooking and baking. If you open the oven door to check your food repeatedly, the temperature will drop and be inconsistent, affecting your dish. By using the light and looking through the window, you can prevent this. If your oven light is burned out, it's an easy fix. Be sure the oven is fully cooled then look inside for the bulb's location; it will typically be behind some kind of cover. You then unscrew the glass cover, replace the bulb, and refasten the cover. To find the specific light bulb you'll need, check your oven's manual. (Manual's can be found online if you can't locate yours)

Door Gasket

The door gasket (the little tube seal around your oven door) can fail and lead to your oven not maintaining the temperature you set it at (especially in older ovens). To fix, all you need is a new gasket (again, check your manual). The old one should just pull right out. Then you should clean the gasket channel with mild detergent and water. Once clean, you can install the replacement, starting at the middle of the top of the door, by simply pushing it into the channel.

Hopefully these tips will help you to keep your oven in top condition and prevent you from having to frantically chase down a repairman at the last minute!


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†Average repair and replacement costs as reported in a nationwide survey: A Study of Homeowners Appliance and Home System Service Experiences Decision Analyst (2011) and reprinted with their written permission.

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