September 19th, 2012
It was one of those Stainless double wall ovens. A high end Kitchenaid, inside a very nice house. She and the husband were having the children and the grand-kids over for a grand and glorious Thanksgiving feast, with all the trimmings planned. That’s how it was supposed to be.
She wanted EVERYTHING to be PERFECT.
So naturally, a clean oven will make a better tasting turkey right?
Innocently, her fingers hovered above that SELF CLEAN Button…
And then, she pressed START and sealed her fate.
About 2 and a half hours later she noticed that something just wasn’t right. Maybe the kitchen seemed a bit cooler than she expected it to be…
The oven had shut down in the middle of self clean.
Later that same day, I discovered that the main control board had failed from the 985 degree heat. There was no replacement in town. The nearest was in Dallas Texas, and they were closed for the holiday.
It was too late.
Needless to say that family’s Thanksgiving dinner plans changed, and my poor customer learned a lesson the hard way.
As your oven ages from use, the by-products of cooking, such as fats, oils and greases, become liberated into fine particulate “vapor” during operation. Eventually these contaminants start to infiltrate the oven’s woven and spun insulation surrounding all of the oven cavity. Over time, this infiltration progresses until the insulation is fairly well imbued with the contaminants.
Fats, oils, and greases are very good conductors of heat. (That’s why you pop corn in a teaspoon of corn oil) So, the contaminants are now causing heat to go to other places in the oven where it should not. In other words, the oven’s insulation now starts conducting heat rather than insulating it. That’s one reason why older ovens seem to be warmer to the touch.
As the spread of the contaminants progresses, eventually the electronic controls section starts to get coated with the fats, oils and greases, leaving them with a semi-conductive film. The boards can short out, or the capacitors will fail. Often the high limit thermostats will fail open because heat has gotten to where is not supposed to go to.
I honestly believe you are far better off to buy a couple high tech splatter mats from one of the bath and kitchen stores, and let them pick up the mess instead of pressing that self clean button.
So… You may ask… if self clean is so bad for ovens- why do they have that feature? Simple… Customers want it. If they don’t get what they want, they buy someone else’s oven that gives it to them.
As for the manufacturer, its really a win situation. They will cross their fingers and hope the oven wont fail during the warranty period, (which it won’t cause contaminants haven’t had time to have their effect yet) And, after the warranty period, they get to sell replacement parts in the form of thermostats, limiters and oven control boards.
NOW YOU KNOW!
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