Oven Smoking – What To Do?

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Smoke is rarely a good sign inside your house. So, if you notice plumes of black smog emanating from your oven, you know something’s not right. While this doesn’t necessarily mean your oven is about to die, you must take this issue seriously. If you’ve just noticed smoke coming out of your oven, then you’ve got to read the research we’ve done on this critical safety issue. 

Here are the most common reasons for a smoking oven:

  • If it’s a new oven, the factory seal could be steaming.   
  • There’s food residue or grease clinging to your oven’s surface.   
  • Smoke could indicate a potential short in one of your electric oven’s burners. 
  • In gas ovens, smoke could be due to improper gas pressure. 
  • Certain chemical cleaners could leave behind a residue that causes smoke. 

Since a smoking oven could signal a serious safety hazard, we always recommend getting in touch with a professional for a diagnostic test. However, the tips listed below should help you better understand what could be causing your oven’s smoking symptoms.     

A woman wearing blue hand muffs while safely opening her smoking oven, Oven Smoking – What To Do?

Is A Smoking Oven Dangerous?

We can’t overemphasize this point: a smoking oven is a serious issue. Although not all causes behind a smoking oven are dangerous, that doesn’t mean you should brush it off. On the contrary, a smoking oven could indicate potentially life-threatening issues like intense gas pressure.

Without prompt care, there is a chance your oven could cause a fire. Plus, all of that smoke entering your home won’t do any wonders for your lungs.

Whenever you notice smoke coming out of your oven, immediately shut off your appliance. Once your oven has cooled, please give it a good cleaning to ensure there’s no food residue. If your oven is squeaky clean and still gives off smoke, you need to get in touch with a professional.

Why Do New Ovens Get Smoky?

A man checking his smoking oven

After installing an expensive oven in your home, the last thing you want to see is a plume of smoke. Thankfully, this usually doesn’t mean your new oven has a serious problem. In fact, it’s quite common for people to notice smoke after heating their oven for the first time.

The reason behind this phenomenon has to do with a protective coating of oil in the oven. To get rid of this factory seal, most companies recommend running your oven before cooking. Be sure to read your manufacturer’s recommendations for the ideal “burn off” temperature and time.    

How Long Does It Take To Burn Off A New Oven?

Every manufacturer has different suggestions for how long you should “burn off” a new oven. However, the most common recommendation is to set your oven between 400°F – 600°F for about 30 – 60 minutes.

Again, these are just general guidelines. Please read your oven’s official manual for more specific instructions.

Speaking of new ovens, KitchenSeer has a previous post examining the Seven Best Wall Oven Brands you could buy. Be sure to read through this post if you’re in the market for a new oven.  

Could Burnt Food Cause A Smoking Oven?

Arguably, burnt food is the most common cause behind a smoking oven. This is especially true if you cook oily foods near the broiler and don’t use protective trays. Without frequent cleanings, dinner debris will likely end up all over your oven’s interior.   

As a side note: certain cleaners could also cause smoking symptoms. If this is the case, you’ll probably notice a “chemical-like” smell when you run your oven.

Be sure you only use oven-approved cleaners that have a good track record. Also, double-check you’ve dried out your oven thoroughly if you’re using a commercial cleanser.

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How Do You Check For An Oven Short Or Gas Pressure Issue?

A woman opening her smoking oven

While food debris is a common cause of oven smoke, this issue could be related to serious problems like an electrical short or improper gas pressure. If you suspect either of these issues, it’s best to get in touch with a professional ASAP.

To check your electric oven for a short, turn on the “bake” setting and see if the bottom element starts to glow. You could also check the top heating element by using the “broil” button. If one of these elements doesn’t light up, you know what your problem is.  

Bonus tip: you could also listen for a buzzing sound when using your electric oven. While not as fool-proof as checking the light, this often indicates a malfunctioning heating element.  

In the case of gas ovens, you could usually tell if the flames are reaching too close to the oven racks. If you suspect this is the issue, we’d recommend contacting your gas supplier to check your home’s pressure readings.

How To Prevent A Smoking Oven

Now that you know why ovens give off smoke, it’s time to go over a few preventative strategies. Here are a few easy tips you can use to reduce the risk of dealing with this issue.

Show Your Oven Some Lovin’ With Some Soapy Scrubbin’!

Since food debris is a common reason for oven smoke, it makes sense that cleaning your oven is a smart preventative strategy. In general, kitchen experts recommend giving your oven a thorough cleaning once per month.

It would help if you also got in the habit of wiping your oven with a damp towel a few hours after every meal. Remember: it’s always easier to get rid of food residue before it gets baked again in the oven.

Although there are many commercial cleaning products available, you could give your oven a thorough clean with baking soda, water, vinegar, and a soft sponge. Check out this video to see how you can easily clean your oven overnight:

If you’re interested in using a commercially-available oven cleaner, Mr. Clean’s Magic Eraser is a standard choice. 

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What Is A Self-Cleaning Oven? 

Self-cleaning ovens use intense heat to incinerate any food bits clinging to your oven. Interestingly, these ovens have a special “pyrolytic coating” that can withstand temperatures of around 1,000°F. This extreme heat helps turn any food residue into an “ashy” substance that’s easy to wipe with a damp towel.

While the self-cleaning function is convenient, it’s not without safety hazards. Please be sure to properly ventilate your space, remove pets from the kitchen, and take out everything from your oven before using the self-cleaning cycle. Keep in mind self-cleaning cycles often take three hours, and the doors of your oven may automatically lock. 

Most home appliance experts recommend using the self-cleaning function no more than five times per year (or per your manufacturer’s recommendations). Since this technique requires ridiculously high heat, it may wear out your heating element faster.  

For more information on safely using a self-cleaning oven, be sure to watch this video:

What Happens If You Never Clean Your Oven? 

The longer you put off cleaning your oven, the more likely food debris will cling to the oven’s surface. As you continue to use your oven, these food bits will get even crustier and eventually give off smoke.

You’ll have a far easier time wiping away food debris shortly after it lands. That’s why home appliance experts recommend scrubbing your oven with a damp towel after each meal.

By the way, you can also check out this previous post on How To Clean Oven Door Glass for pro tips to keep your oven pristine.

Invest In Baking Sheets And Mats

To reduce the risk of food splattering all over your oven, it’s a good idea to buy a few high-quality baking sheets. Rather than placing food directly on your oven’s rack, use these sheets when cooking your favorite foods.  

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Another fantastic product you could use is a non-stick oven mat. Simply place this mat on the bottom of your oven and let it catch any greasy spills. When it’s time to clean, pull out your oven mat and wash it in the sink.  

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As a final tip, try to keep your food three feet away from both heating elements whenever you’re cooking.

Got Oven Smoke? Get Professional Help!  

While a smoking oven isn’t “uncommon,” it’s never a good sign. Once you notice smoke coming out of your oven, please turn your oven off, wait for it to cool, and give it a good cleaning. If food debris wasn’t the cause of your smoking oven, please get in touch with a home appliance expert ASAP.  

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