What Your Oven Is Trying To Tell You If It Starts Smoking When Preheating

Depending on your cooking skills, you might have experienced a smoking oven in the middle of baking, leaving you with a burned mess for dinner and looking for your favorite pizza app. But what does it mean when this happens during preheating? Most of the time, any smoke you see before you start cooking relates to a buildup of food and grease inside the appliance. This is a sign that it needs a good deep clean. Other times, it could indicate a malfunctioning machine or leftover residue from the cleaning or manufacturing process.

You might also have items stored in the bottom drawer under the oven that are scorching, smoldering, or catching fire from the preheating process. Don't store paper goods, plastic items, and flammable items in this compartment. Perhaps you even keep things inside the oven because you have a small kitchen with limited storage. The danger here is forgetting to remove them before you hit "preheat", which could cause a fire. Even lingering heat could cause plastics to melt and smolder if you place them inside the oven after baking something. Never store items inside this appliance, even temporarily.

Residue that can cause your oven to smoke when preheating

When you bake and cook regularly, crumbs, sauce, and grease accumulate inside the oven. Every time you use it, these spills char and burn. The buildup can occur on any surface inside the appliance, including the bottom, the sides, the racks, and the window in the door. When the spills are small and the buildup is minimal, you probably won't notice smoke from the charring. However, as the buildup continues, the smoke can become noticeable as you're preheating the oven. If left alone, the debris left inside the appliance could start a fire.

How often do you need to clean your oven to avoid this buildup? Someone who bakes regularly should clean it every three months, while someone who rarely uses this appliance could go as long as annually between cleanings. If you want to clean your oven naturally, squeeze two lemons squeezed into an oven-safe glass bowl and mix it with hot water. Let it sit in the oven for up to five minutes, and the steam should help to loosen debris, making it easier to wipe clean up. Another option is to use the self-cleaning feature on the appliance, which heats the interior as high as 900 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature completely burns any food residue, so you can wipe it clean several hours later.

Why a new oven sometimes smokes when you preheat it the first few times

During the creation of a new oven, the manufacturer may place coatings on the interior of the appliance to protect the area during shipping. Some of these layers can also come from tape used during the manufacturing and packaging process. The best way to clean them off is to turn the oven to a high temperature for a few hours total before you bake or cook anything. The heat should burn off the coatings and dissipate any odor associated with them. Be sure to first remove any items left inside related to shipping and manufacturing, such as tape or zip ties.

A new oven that runs on natural gas may also smoke during the preheating process. In this case, the chemical compound is entering the appliance at a pressure that's too high, which gives the flame too much fuel, resulting in unexpected vapor. The installer who put in the gas line for your new oven would need to make some adjustments.

Finally, a faulty heating element could cause smoke to appear in a preheating oven. If the device is failing, excess heat is likely to occur, leading to the formation of smoke. Turn off the oven and disconnect it from power to avoid any chance of fire until you can repair it. Although it would be rare for a new oven to have a faulty heating element, it is possible.