Oven Smoking? 6 Potential Problems – How to Fix Them

Are you worried about your oven smoking excessively through the door or vent while still seemingly working normally?

Well, any unusual amount of smoke – light or heavy should be taken into consideration as soon as possible.

Excessive smoke emissions can occur in any type of oven – old or new, gas or electric, and when using any operational mode, or cooking any food, and even when the oven is empty.

While oven smoking may be due to simple things, it may also be a sign of a serious problem that can lead to hazardous consequences such as a fire or problems with your health.

Too much smoke can also affect the taste of the food you cook, and it can cause problems for kids, pets, and people with respiratory issues such as asthma.

If left unresolved, the problem can lead to your oven breaking down and to expensive repairs and replacements.

Read on to find out more about why your oven is smoking and what you should do to resolve the issue and prevent it from happening in the future.

The factory coating has not been burnt off

Most brand new ovens arrive with a factory coating that is oil-based, which can cause the production of smoke until it burns off completely.

Because this is no doubt unpleasant for the air in your home and the taste of the food, you should read the instructions manual of your new oven, where the manufacturer describes how to burn off the factory coating before starting to use the appliance for cooking.

In most cases, the procedure for burning off all of the factory coating includes taking any pots and pans out of the oven, switching to baking mode at a recommended temperature (usually from 400 to 600 degrees Fahrenheit), and letting the oven heat up and work empty for a set time, which can vary from half an hour to an hour.

This initial burning off will cause the production of smoke, but when it is done properly, it should not lead to any further instances of excessive smoking during use.

There is food residue on the racks or elsewhere in the oven

In many cases, smoke is produced due to the burning of leftover residue from food on the oven racks, walls, or other elements in the oven. This can be caused when cooking and broiling high-fat food and when part of the fat splatters on the walls, or when baking pizza or other food without a baking sheet to capture food residue and juices.

This is easily preventable if you take the time to clean the inside of your oven after each use. The easiest way to do this is to wipe it clean and scrape off any stuck food when it is still wet and easy to remove.

If your oven starts smoking, turn it off, and let it cool down completely. Then open the door and remove any big food chunks, and clean the oven using a solution of your choice. Our recommendation for a safe, natural and cheap cleaning solution is sprinkling the interior of the oven with baking soda and then spraying it with a mix of vinegar with water and wiping it off with a damp cloth.

There is leftover cleaning detergent

It may sound ironic, but in some cases, any leftover cleaning solution used inside the oven can cause excessive smoke emissions as well.

If you have used a chemical-based solution for cleaning the oven and it starts smoking, turn the appliance off immediately to avoid breathing in the potentially harmful fumes.

Let the oven cool down completely, and use a rag or cloth dampened with water to make sure you remove any trace of the cleaning solution from the racks, walls, floor, and ceiling.

Our recommendation is to stay away from harsh chemical solutions for cleaning your oven and stick to safe and natural ones such as vinegar, water, and baking soda. Or, if you will be using chemical cleaners, make sure that you rinse it off thoroughly before using the oven for cooking again.

If you have an oven with a self-cleaning function, you shouldn’t use any chemical solutions as they can damage the enamel coating of your oven.

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You may want to prewash the oven before using the self-cleaning function

Even though the modern self-cleaning functionality of ovens is for easy and convenient oven maintenance, you still will have to inspect the interior of the oven and the racks for any food residue and fat splatters prior to using the functionality.

Wipe the inside of the oven with a damp cloth to remove any fallen or splashed food before running the self-cleaning. This will minimize or eliminate the production of smoke altogether.

You may have a faulty heating element

In some cases, the oven may start smoking due to a failure in a heating element. These faults can occur due to the excessive heat produced when using the self-cleaning function, and the sign that your oven has a faulty heating element is usually an audible buzz followed by the production of smoke during use.

You should turn the oven off and proceed to check whether the heating elements are working properly. You can do it by turning on the bottom bake heating element and seeing whether it glows red and heats up.

Then you can test the broil function and upper heating element in the same way.

If one of them fails to heat up, then you may need repairs done, including the replacement of the broken heating element.

If you are a handy person, you can replace the heating element yourself, which will cost you only $15 to $40. If you are not too good with DIY projects, you may have to hire a professional to replace the problematic element, which can bulk up the repair price to $40 to $160.

Remember that the oven needs to be unplugged and the power cut through the breaker box before the replacement.

Then you will need to remove the wires and screws holding the broken element and replace it with a new one. Once it is installed, make sure that you connect all of the wires and reattach all screws before restoring the power back to the oven.

The gas pressure is too high

In some gas ovens, higher gas pressure can cause the flames from the main bottom burner to become higher and hotter, and this can lead to the production of too much smoke.

Needless to say, this is also a problem that increases the risk of a fire in the oven and in your home and needs to be addressed immediately.

High gas pressure commonly occurs when the oven has been converted from the use of natural gas to propane gas improperly.

Call your gas company or the person who installed the oven for advice on how to correct the gas conversion and regulate the pressure of the gas safely and properly.

By correcting the gas pressure, your oven should stop producing smoke, and the flame should be of a safe and standard height and heat.

Take proper care when maintaining and using your oven

In order to prevent the occurrence of oven smoking, you should follow these tips for the proper use and maintenance of the oven:

  • Protect the interior of your oven from splashes and food spills by using baking sheets or broiling pans when broiling or baking foods, especially high-fat meals. Do not place the food directly on the racks.
  • Use an oven mat that is non-stick and fireproof on the lowest oven rack to capture any debris and drips during the cooking from the upper oven racks.
  • Do not place any food closer than 3 inches to the heating element when cooking in an electric oven. This can lead to smoke emission and can cause a fire. The same goes for keeping the food at least 3 inches from the burner and broiler in your gas oven (on the top and the bottom).
  • After using the oven and letting it cool down, wipe its interior with a damp cloth to remove any juices or food from the racks, door, walls, ceiling, and floor.
  • Clean the oven racks and the interior of your oven with a baking soda, vinegar, and water solution once a month.
  • Limit the use of the self-cleaning function of your oven no more than five times per year.

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