Why Oven Doors Break and Tips to Avoid It – Unveiling the Facts!

Willie Mae Truesdale was startled by a loud explosion emanating from her kitchen. Investigating the source, she was astounded to find her oven’s glass door shattered into pieces scattered across the floor. “It was shocking, you had to see it to believe it,” she recounted.

“It was like, what in the world? Glass shattered everywhere,” Truesdale exclaimed. Adding to the perplexity, her oven wasn’t even in use at the time. And what’s even more alarming: Truesdale isn’t alone in experiencing such a phenomenon.

The Mystery of Exploding Glass Oven Doors

Cheryl, a suburban mother, encountered a similar ordeal during the COVID-19 lockdown. Attempting to bake brownies, she discovered they were undercooked in the middle. Despite her oven being just three months old, she realized its temperature was off by about 25 degrees. After the lockdown, she called in a professional to rectify the issue. However, before the technician could arrive, she initiated a self-cleaning cycle. Towards the cycle’s end, a deafening explosion resounded, shattering the inner glass of the oven door.

Michelle Wheat faced a similar plight when her oven door exploded, leaving glass strewn across her kitchen. Like Truesdale, Wheat’s three-year-old oven was inactive at the time. Fortunately, her four young children escaped unharmed from the shattered glass. While Truesdale’s oven was from Frigidaire and Cheryl’s from Bosch, incidents of exploding glass doors aren’t limited to specific brands. In fact, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has received approximately 450 reports of such occurrences since 2019.

Regrettably, all three women encountered difficulties with the manufacturers following the incidents. While Truesdale’s oven was still under warranty, Frigidaire’s technician attributed the explosion to the family, despite the oven being off. Consequently, Truesdale had to bear the cost of a new door out of her own pocket. Fortunately, Bosch replaced Cheryl’s oven after NBC intervened.

Meanwhile, Wheat’s oven was no longer under warranty, leading to an additional expense of $314 to replace the shattered glass. Frigidaire’s suggestion for Wheat to purchase an extended warranty left the frustrated mother of six questioning the occurrence: “This should not have happened,” she asserted.

What Causes Oven Doors to Shatter?

Mark Meshulam of Chicago Window Expert sheds light on the matter: “There are two scenarios of why oven glass can break spontaneously.” He explains that soda lime glass, commonly used in oven doors, isn’t as tolerant of rapid temperature changes compared to borosilicate glass. This shift in glass type has contributed to an increase in such incidents.

However, it’s also probable that these explosions stem from a nickel sulfide inclusion, an extremely small flaw within the glass. “It’s only about a tenth of a millimeter in diameter. That little ball has some peculiar properties,” Meshulam explained, further adding, “over time, it’s struggling to escape. And sometimes, a high-heat event like oven cleaning can trigger the final spontaneous failure that was already present.”

Nonetheless, Meshulam offers reassurance regarding the safety of oven self-cleaning features. “Most people will go their entire lives using the self-cleaning feature without encountering this issue,” he remarked. He also suggests that microscopic chips and flaws are often the culprits behind oven explosions when they are not in use. However, what’s particularly alarming about this scenario is that the door can shatter long after the initial damage occurs.

Tips for Prevention

While some of these tiny points of damage may occur during production, shipping, or installation, homeowners can take steps to minimize damage at home. For instance, certain common habits can lead to microscopic scratches or chips on the glass. These include using aggressive cleaning techniques and subjecting the glass to excessive physical impact.