Cleaning Guides

Why Is Your Oven Smoking? Possible Problems and Solutions

Seeing your oven smoking during operation is always a cause for concern and should never be ignored or postponed. New ovens are not safe from smoking either, however, the reasons for their smoking are different.

So if you:

  • Have a brand new oven that is releasing smoke and unpleasant fumes.
  • Have an old dirty oven which recently started to smoke.

Then read along. You will learn why your oven is smoking and what you can do about it.

Is it normal for ovens to smoke?

It’s perfectly normal for new ovens to smoke during the first and even second use. The reason is the oil-based coating on their heating elements that is burning off. The result of this process, as you’ve already noticed, is smoke and an odd oven smell. In fact, oven manufacturers recommend that you “burn in” the coating before placing any food inside.

On the other hand, smoke in old ovens is an indicator that there are burning food remains inside. Cooking high-fat meals like steaks or baking pizzas directly on the racks without a baking sheet underneath results in grease splatters all over the interior. Unless cleaned while still wet, the food splatters will harden with each next cooking and start to burn and emit smoke.

If you see your oven sparking and smoking, then there could be another problem which you may find below.

Is oven smoke dangerous?

Yes, oven smoke is dangerous as it contains nitrogen oxide, sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide, all toxic to your respiratory system. These gases are also bad for the environment as they release carbon and methane into the air.

There’s also the risk that the burned spillages in the oven might catch fire. Since cooking in an oven does not require your constant attention, you might return to your kitchen to witness a fire inside the oven chamber.

Why is smoke coming out of the oven?

You already know two reasons for this, so let’s get more familiar with them and explore some other smoking oven causes.

The first use of the oven

As mentioned earlier, you can witness your brand-new oven smoking. In fact, you may also notice an odour from the cooktop. All this is perfectly normal for both gas and electric ovens.

Mind you, smoke can also come from some leftover packing materials such as tape, styrofoam or plastic. So, check the unit one more time after unpacking before you plug it into the electric mains.

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Grease build-up in oven

When you see your oven smoking when cooking, it’s because of grease build-up. Fat and grease drip down onto the heating elements at the bottom; grease can also evaporate and stick to the oven walls and ceiling. When the oven is in use, this material is burned and starts to smell.

If you clean your oven regularly but still have this problem, it’s possible that you aren’t cleaning it well enough. We offer some useful tips and tricks on How to Clean Grease Off an Oven, so feel free to check it out.

Faulty heating elements

If you hear buzzing sounds while your electric oven grill is smoking, it’s quite possible that one or several heating elements are worn out and need replacing.

On the other hand, in gas ovens, you might have a gas element that’s under too much gas pressure. Check to see if the flame is reaching the racks. If it is, the gas level needs readjusting.

A faulty electric element is the most likely reason why your oven is smoking even with nothing in it.

Oven smoking due to oven cleaner residue

If you see your oven smoking after cleaning, then there’s likely still commercial product inside. You might not see it, but that’s the only explanation if everything else is in order.

Gas pressure issues

If everything else is in order with your gas oven, and you’re certain there’s no cleaning product residue in it, then maybe the gas pressure is too much.

Gas pressure that is too high will overfeed the flame of your gas oven, enlarge it, and you will get smoke every time it reaches its upper temperatures.

Very high heat temperature of the self-cleaning feature

When the self-cleaning feature is turned on, the inside of the oven will get extremely hot, 500 C° or 932 F°. This can sometimes be accompanied by smoke as foot particles are burned to a crisp.

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How to stop the oven from smoking

A smoking oven does not necessarily mean it needs to be repaired. Before you call the repairperson, try these methods on how to get your oven to stop smoking.

1. Burn off the factory coatings

Once you unpack your oven and are sure no extra tape, styrofoam or plastic is left, connect the unit to the mains. Set the unit temperatures to 300 °C and wait about half an hour to one hour. Check your manufacturer’s instructions for the best duration times. Usually, a little longer is better, than not enough. Once the burn-in is complete, the oven should be in prime condition for cooking.

2. Remove and prevent food remains

Always remove large chunks of food after cooking. Also, develop a cleaning schedule to regularly clean the oven, so no food leftovers will have the chance to form a layer of grease.

3. Replace depreciated heating elements

Sometimes when a particular heating element is near the end of its lifecycle, it will give out smoke or buzzing sounds, sometimes both. If you notice that this is the particular problem, don’t wait until the part completely breaks down. Instead, call an oven repair specialist who can do it for you in a safe manner.

4. Remove cleaner residue

If you prefer to use commercial cleaning products instead of natural ones, you should always make sure no residue is left. The best way to do that is to go over the oven with a damp rug after you’ve cleaned it with your preferred chemical.

Also, remember that you should never use chemical cleaners on self-cleaning ovens.

Get more tips about
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How to Deal with Oven Cleaner Fumes

5. Set the right gas pressure

The improper conversion of natural gas to liquid propane fuel results in high gas pressure in the oven. In turn, the flame becomes taller and hotter, increasing the chance of smoking and even fire.

You need to contact a professional to correct the conversion and reduce the level of fire.

6. Run short self-clean cycles

If you can set a duration for the self-clean cycle, set it to the minimum. Before starting the oven, clean it as much as you can, dry it and let the heat take care of the rest.

Cleaning the oven is hard.

We can spare you the hard work!

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Cleaning the oven is hard.

We can spare you the hard work!

Learn more

Cleaning and maintenance tips to prevent oven from smoking

The best strategy is to learn how to prevent the oven from smoking and not what to do afterwards. The following oven cleaning tips will prove to be of significance in your quest.

  • Use baking or broiling pans to catch falling food particles and drips. Never place your food directly on the oven racks.
  • Don’t cover the holes in the oven bottom with mats or sheets.
  • Wipe the oven interior with a wet cloth after every use. Of course, wait until it cools down first.
  • Use the self-cleaning function of an oven a maximum of 5 times per year and not more.
  • Clean the oven every month. If you go with a commercial product instead of baking soda and white vinegar, be sure to watch out for residue.
  • Clean the racks separately by dipping them in a soapy water solution and rinsing them afterwards.

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Image source: Andrey_Popov / Shutterstock.com

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