While we may not be using our ovens to whip up delicious baked goods or elaborate meals like we were at the beginning of the pandemic, our ovens are still probably getting their fair share of use. Even if it is for a frozen pizza, ready-to-bake cookies, or premade naan.
We’re all doing what we can these days to make it through. However, we should try to be aware of common mistakes that could potentially put our large appliances at risk of breaking. I mean, who wants to add a big expense to fix or replace something that could be cared for and used for years to come?
1. Forgetting To Clean Range Filters
If you’re wondering if it’s time to clean your filters, it is likely time to clean your filters. These little workhorses trap grease, smoke, and odors that your cooking produces.
To clean, add them to a pot of boiling water for about ten minutes. Add a half cup of baking soda and some dish soap to the pot and let the filters soak. After the filters are cool, use a non-abrasive brush to scrub any stuck-on debris. Maintaining your filters will not only keep your kitchen smelling nice, but will also help prevent potential fires.
2. Neglecting The Bottom Of The Oven
When the bottom of the oven is covered, it can block the airflow that is needed for proper cooking. When you attempt to catch food drippings with aluminum foil, or just let the overflowing food build up, over time it could cause major problems to the oven. The total blockage of air may even damage the heating element, causing the oven to break.
Cleaning the bottom of the oven regularly can help reduce the amount of food on the bottom of the oven. Placing a baking sheet under casseroles and pies, or using a roasting bag for meats and veggies can help prevent and contain the mess.
3. Oven Overload
We’re probably all guilty of overloading the oven at some point. Especially during the holidays. When you put too much into the oven at once it prevents the hot air from circulating. This will decrease the oven’s ability to perform and could be a fire risk.
It’s recommended to stagger cook times and keep food warm by putting it in a warming drawer or by covering it with aluminum foil.
4. Not Unplugging The Oven
When cleaning and doing routine maintenance on your oven it’s important to unplug it to prevent accidental electrocution or cause the oven to short circuit. Deep cleaning the oven is important to do regularly. Just make sure to unplug and turn off the breaker to the oven. Look in your manual to learn the best way to clean your oven. Also, it’s best to use nonabrasive cleaners in your oven. (Hint: electric and gas ovens differ in recommended cleaning methods.)
5. Recalibrate And Replace
To make sure your oven is running at peak performance, it’s important to make sure everything is in working order. Make sure the temperature inside the oven is correct, otherwise the oven may need to be recalibrated.
Replace any damaged burners; ones with obvious defects or ones that burn brighter in spots. These may burn out, spark, or short out. It’s also a good idea to check the gasket (the rubber tube around the oven door). If it has any holes or tears you’ll need to replace it before using the oven again. It’s best to be safe and to keep up with all repairs and replacements needed before it becomes a serious problem.