The Scoop on Self-Cleaning Ovens

Do you use a self cleaning, steam cleaning or manual cleaning oven? Every kind of oven has its benefits and drawbacks, and as a consumer it’s in your best interest to educate yourself on your options and pick what best fits for you.

self cleaning ovenIf you’re considering paying a little extra for a self-cleaning oven, you’re going to want to understand how self-cleaning ovens do their thing and what you can expect as a result. Generally, a self-cleaning oven will heat up to around 900 or 1000 degrees in order to burn off whatever food residue exists in its nooks and crannies. This will leave a thin layer of ash in the bottom of the oven that can be wiped up much more easily than caked on crust. However convenient this is, it’s important to take into consideration that self-cleaning ovens tend to be coated in pyroltyic ground coat enamels because it allows for food residue to be reduced to ash in high temperatures. This can cause issues, as stated in a patent for the material:

“There are several concerns associated with heating oven coatings to such temperatures. First, high temperatures are required, necessitating extra insulation around the oven chamber and safety interlocks for oven operation. Second, producing such high temperatures requires relatively large amounts of energy consumption. Third, depending upon the materials exposed to such high temperatures, concerns exist as to the possible release of toxic fumes. Fourth, the cleaning cycle used in association with these coatings takes up to three hours to complete and potentially reduces the overall service life of the oven. Further, in order to withstand multiple cleaning cycles, such enamel coatings generally contain hard, chemically-resistant frits that, without high-temperature exposure, have inherently poor release properties, thereby compounding the difficult in removing baked-on residues.”

steam2Toxic fumes are a major issue for green-minded home owners worried about their health and the health of their families. Ovens running their self-cleaning cycles emit terrible smells and can be so noxious that owners have complained of headaches, lung irritation and dry eyes, particularly with the first few cycles of a new oven. Anyone with asthma could have a serious response if exposed to an oven during its cleaning cycle and should exercise caution and perhaps leave any house where an oven is running its cleaning cycle. Pet birds are especially vulnerable to noxious gases and have been harmed by those released by self-cleaning ovens in the past.

If these issues worry you, you may want to consider opting into a steam-cleaning oven instead. All owners have to do is pour a few cups of water into the bottom of an oven engineered with AquaLift technology. After letting the cycle run for a short period of time (generally even less than an hour), the oven is cleaned. It even uses less energy, only needing to heat up to around 200 degrees.

While it sounds like the god send, steam-cleaning technology has left a lot of customers unsatisfied. Apparently the bottom of the oven is cleaned, but the sides and tops still require cleaning after a cleaning cycle.

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