Tips to give your oven a long life

Whether you're in the market for a new oven, or looking to preserve the one you have, you no doubt want to know that your oven is going to last you as long as possible, and work as well as it can.

Tips to give your oven a long life

How to choose an oven

When purchasing a new gas or electric oven, you'll have to choose between manual clean, continuous clean, or self-cleaning. Here are the pros and cons.

Manual-clean oven

  • If your top priority is durability at the lowest price, choose an oven that you have to clean manually.
  • There's less to go wrong than with the other types, so you'll save money on repair bills over the years, too.

Self-cleaning oven

  • If you would rather save elbow grease than money, spring for a self-cleaning oven.
  • These ovens use a cycle of very high heat to incinerate food residue off the walls.
  • They are the most expensive type to buy and repair, but you might consider it money well-spent when you contemplate crawling into a manual-clean oven on a regular basis.

Continuous-clean oven

  • Continuous-clean ovens are the least durable.
  • They have a rough-textured surface that resists stains and contains a catalyst that causes most food to burn off at normal baking temperatures.
  • But not all the food burns off, and the residue eventually causes a hard glaze that destroys the self-cleaning feature.
  • Adding to the problem, abrasives or spray-on oven cleaners can destroy the continuous-cleaning feature, so you'll be stuck with a dirty-looking oven interior.

Go easy on the oven door

  • Ease that oven door shut.
  • If you slam it, you may spring the hinge or throw the thermostat out of whack.
  • And whatever you do, don't rest that turkey or casserole on the open oven door — using the door as a shelf is another way to damage the hinge.

Don’t lay foil on the racks

  • Don't try to keep your oven clean by laying aluminum foil on the bottom or on the racks.
  • Air needs to circulate freely through the oven in order for food to cook efficiently.
  • Also, the foil reflects heat, which can throw off the thermostat.

Scrape with plastic

  • When food splatters on the heating element of your gas oven, grab the plastic ice scraper from your car to scrape it off.
  • A metal scraper is likely to damage the element.
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