You always preheat your oven, but when you do, it begins smoking. Naturally, this fills you with concern, not to mention confusion. Why does your oven smoke whenever you preheat it, and how do you fix the issue? We've researched these questions and have answers to share.
Your oven can smoke while preheating for the following reasons:
- It’s new and residues have to burn off
- The heating elements are bad
- The oven is dirty
- There’s cleaner residue in the oven
- Gas pressure is too high
By cleaning your oven and replacing faulty parts, you can stop this troublesome problem before your home gets filled with smoke. Keep reading for lots of great information!
Why Does My Oven Smoke When Preheating? Plus Fixes
Your Oven Is New
The first cause of a smoky oven is a very common one, especially if you just got your oven installed.
When manufacturing an oven, companies may add oil coatings or residues designed to protect the appliance. The smoke you see when you preheat your oven the first couple of times is that residue burning off.
Unlike the other issues on this list, this first one is temporary.
How to Fix It: Run the Oven Empty
Although it’s tempting to stop using your new oven when it smokes on preheat, that’s the last thing you should do, as it won’t help you burn off the residues.
Instead, you have two options. You can continue to use your oven as normal, as that will burn off the residue eventually. It will likely take several uses.
You can also run your oven when empty. Of the two options, we recommend this one. After all, before burning off completely, the flavor and aroma of the coating can be imparted to your meals.
No matter which option you choose, since the smells emanating from your oven will be stronger than usual, you should open a window to vent them out.
Run a kitchen fan too. This should prevent your smoke alarm from going off.
Bad Heating Elements
Ovens rely on heating elements, whether yours is a range or an electric oven. Without a heating element, your oven won’t broil, bake, or cook your food, leaving you disappointed.
Here’s how a heating element should work. Electricity transfers across the elements, allowing them to get warm. This is what cooks your food.
One or both of the heating elements can go out on you at once—either the bottom or top element. When the heating element(s) in your oven stop working or work sporadically, smoke can come wafting out of your oven when preheating it.
How to Fix It: Replace the Heating Element
If you suspect the heating element causes your oven to smoke when preheating, you can’t do anything about it while the oven is on and running. That’s why your first order of business should be to shut off the oven.
When the oven begins cooling down, unplug or otherwise disconnect it from power.
You have the option to replace the heating element if you wish. To find the part you need, reach out to the oven manufacturer. You can also search for the part from any parts retailer specializing in appliances, but you’ll have to know the OEM.
Fortunately, most oven burners have a metal plate attached to them with the model number printed or stamped on it. That number should help you find a replacement online or in a store.
If you decide to install a new heating element, follow these steps.
- Turn the oven off and unplug it. You may also turn off the circuit breaker to the oven to be extra careful.
- Open your oven and take out the racks. Look for a bracket or mounting plate at the back of the affected heating element. Unscrew the heating element plate with a nut driver or screwdriver.
- When you try to remove the heating element, you’ll see it’s connected by wires. Using a voltage tester, test each wire. The wires should get no voltage, especially if you turned off the circuit to the oven.
- Once you confirm it’s safe, detach the faulty heating element from the oven. Needle-nose pliers come in handy for removing the wires from the heating element.
- Insert the wires into the element probes of the replacement heating element. Then put the element into position and re-screw it to the mounting bracket. Attach the mounting plate.
- Reconnect your oven to power and try it out.
If your oven still smokes when preheating even after replacing the heating elements, you might need to consider replacing the oven.
The Oven Is Dirty
The next reason your oven could smoke while preheating is that it’s dirty.
When you don’t clean your oven, food and grease can accumulate on the walls, the bottom, and the cooking racks. The next time you turn your oven on, all that grease and old food residue heat up and drip to the bottom.
This makes your oven smoke before you slide tonight’s dinner or dessert onto the rack.
How to Fix It: Clean Your Oven Regularly
A clean oven works well and prevents food residue and smoky flavor from ruining the delicate taste of your latest culinary masterpiece. If you aren’t already cleaning your oven once every three months, it’s time to begin.
Your oven may have a self-cleaning feature. If so, all you have to do to get your oven spic and span is turn this mode on and walk away.
It usually takes several hours for the self-cleaning to finish, and the kitchen can get warm with the oven running for that long.
It doesn’t hurt to open a window or turn on a ceiling fan if you can. That can also help with the burning odor you smell, which is a perfectly normal part of the self-cleaning function.
What if your oven doesn’t have a self-cleaning feature? You can always manually clean your oven. Here’s how.
- Take a half-cup of baking soda and mix it with warm water. You don’t want to use too much, but only enough to create a paste. Pour in water incrementally. After all, you can always add more if you need it, but you can’t take water away if there’s too much.
- Rub the paste over the interior of the oven with an unused paintbrush.
- Combine water and baking soda in equal amounts, pouring the liquid into a spray bottle. Mist the walls of your oven. The baking soda begins foaming when it interacts with the vinegar and can break down stubborn messes.
- Wait 12 hours for the baking soda and vinegar to interact fully, then wipe down the walls of your oven.
There’s Cleaner Residue in the Oven
Did you just clean your oven, and it’s only now begun smoking when you preheat it? You might have found your culprit!
If you don’t thoroughly wipe down all the cleaner residue, it’s going to smoke. That can happen when you use a commercial, store-bought cleaner or make one yourself using vinegar and baking soda.
The residue will burn off when it’s heated during preheating.
How to Fix It: Wipe Down Your Oven Thoroughly After Cleaning
In the future, get into a better habit of wiping down your oven of all residues after cleaning. You have to get into every corner and crevice and wipe it down with water.
If you’re still unsure whether you missed a spot, shine a flashlight into the oven or turn on your oven light. You should be able to easily see any remaining residue.
The Gas Pressure Is Too High
The last reason your oven may smoke while preheating has to do with gas pressure.
This only applies if you own a gas oven, but the pressure within the oven can build as the temperature does. This occurs due to the increasing speed of gas molecule travel.
When the pressure rises past a reasonable limit, the oven will smoke. Well, it’s just smoke this time, but eventually, a fire can break out.
How to Fix It: Reset the Gas Pressure Levels
Since tinkering with the gas pressure is a dangerous job, it’s not one we’d advise you to try yourself. Instead, you should call an oven repairperson and let them do it.
Your oven can smoke while preheating for a multitude of reasons, including it being dirty, a heating element going bad, or the oven being brand new. Now that you know why this issue is happening and what to do about it, you can soon preheat your oven without smoking!
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