Household fires can be absolutely devastating, particularly if they aren’t contained or dealt with swiftly. Unsurprisingly, one of the most common places for a blaze to begin is in the kitchen. With naked flames from gas hobs and 200 degree heat being produced by the oven, there is massive potential for accidents to happen.
When it comes to oven fires, there are a number of key contributing factors that could act as a trigger. These include the following:
Due to the extreme heat within an oven, malfunctions are an ongoing risk. There isn’t a great deal that you can do to avoid any such issues, except to ensure that the appliance is serviced regularly or to report any potential issues that you spot – including erratic temperature variations or small flames and sparks.
Of all the potential causes of an oven fire, this is perhaps the most avoidable. There really is no excuse for allowing your cooker to get to a state where it is so full of oil and greasy deposits that it is actually deemed unsafe to use. However, it does happen.
Every year thousands of fires are triggered by the residue of past meals. This is why it is so important that you take the time to clean your oven or choose an oven valeting service to do the work for you. Not having enough time really is no excuse for causing needless danger to yourself or your family; a few hours is all it takes to clean your oven and prevent a minor issue developing into something more serious.
Unfortunately a lapse of concentration can be critical, especially if you’ve left something in the oven. At best you might get away with blackening your shoulder of lamb or reducing your beef joint to inedible charcoal, at worst though it could mean a fire ripping through your kitchen. Again, it’s not something you can necessarily guard against; after all it can be easy to get distracted by children, phone calls and everything else that goes on in the modern home. The only advice would be to always take care to double check, even when you’ve finished cooking that there are no issues.
What happens if you notice flames?
Whilst prevention is always better than cure, if you look through the oven door and notice that there are flames (or larger flames than usual in the case of a gas oven), switch off the oven and allow it to cool down. Don’t open the door, as this may only serve to add oxygen to the flames and could cause you to get burnt.
You should never attempt to tackle fires yourself unless you have been trained to do so effectively. Therefore, before you do anything else, assuming the fire hasn’t subsided, make sure you call the emergency services and request assistance.
The biggest lesson here is to always keep an eye out for technical issues, never forget that the oven is on and make sure that it is kept clean. A build up of grease and other materials isn’t just unsightly, it can also be dangerous too. So don’t take your health and safety for granted, make sure you clean your oven regularly and thoroughly.
People say that things aren’t built to last anymore. Are they not, or is it that we just don’t look after them properly? Take household appliances for example, they’ll be put to the test day-in-day out through the course of their lives. If you look after them, they’ll get used a lot more often than those which are ignored, not maintained, poorly serviced or kept unclean. This will save you money as well as effort in the long run, and it also means that you’re appliances will stay performing to their best for longer.
For anyone who has just made a large purchase, for example on a brand new oven, the last thing you’ll want is to have to purchase a new one in a few years time, especially if it’s because you didn’t look after it properly. As a result of the current financial climate, disposable income is being reduced year-on-year for most UK households; this means that it’s imperative to look after appliances like ovens, otherwise you’ll end up forking out a load more money buying a new one.
In light of this, here are some tips on oven maintenance to preserve the life of your oven.
Clean spillages regularly
Whether you’re cooking on the hob or inside the oven, if something spills, wait for the oven to cool then clear immediately. This will prevent any grease and grime from building which causes your oven to slow down and also causes food not to be cooked properly.
Clean the oven thoroughly at least once every two or three months
One of the biggest mistakes people make is to leave their oven unclean for over a year. Not only will this affect the taste of your food, it can also harm the effectiveness of your oven, meaning that food won’t get cooked properly.
Check the oven’s temperature gauge
The best way to check that your oven is performing to its best is to be vigilant of the temperature gauge. Try cooking a basic cake, exactly following the instructions from a cookery book. If the cake isn’t cooked properly, then be sure to have it looked at or serviced.
Be sure to have it serviced
As mentioned above, this way you’ll know your oven always performs to its best. If the temperature isn’t as it should be, or the seals and trims have corroded, then your oven just simply won’t work as well. With a service, these problems can be fixed swiftly.
Be sure to use the appropriate cleaning products
Oven Cleaning products found on the high street and in the supermarkets contain a corrosive chemical called caustic soda. This can damage both the functionality and the aesthetics of your oven. Be sure to use an oven cleaning service that only uses caustic soda-free products.
Don’t rely on self cleaning ovens
This is referring to the way in which owners of self cleaning ovens use the self cleaning mode as a way of thoroughly cleaning their oven. Overreliance of this will see you purchasing a new oven in no time because components have been known to burn out as the oven runs at an extremely high temperature.