/ Home & Energy

Has your oven door shattered?

shattered oven

We’ve all heard about exploding washing machine doors. In fact, a few years ago, the Which? Convo community helped us compile hundreds of examples of exactly that happening. But what about oven doors?

Recently, a number of you have told us about the alarming experience you’ve had of your oven door shattering or even breaking explosively onto the kitchen floor. And in some cases, as with washing machines, the oven wasn’t even being used at the time.

One member wrote:

‘A few weeks ago, I went to open the bottom oven door to put away some baking trays and, as I touched the handle, there was a loud bang and the door shattered into a thousand pieces on the floor. Gave me a real fright. I had used the oven about 3 hours earlier so it was quite cold.’

Another said:

‘The oven had been on cooking a roast and was cooling down. I was in the kitchen when there was a loud bang and I felt something hitting the back of my legs. When I looked around, the outer oven door was shattered, with small pieces of glass scattered around the kitchen with a pile of small pieces lying on the floor underneath the oven door. We measured that the small pieces had travelled 11 feet from the oven door.’

But mostly, the oven has been cooking, when the incident has taken place:

‘Today, without warning and whilst cooking a roast meat joint, the inner glass door exploded forcing open the outer glass door and ruining the roasting meat and making a huge bang and depositing minute pieces of glass all over the kitchen floor.’

Are any brands worse than others?

When we looked at shattering washing machines doors in our May 2016 issue, the brand Beko cropped up more often than you’d expect, considering its market share.

But so far, when it comes to ovens, no particular manufacturer stands out – in fact, more than 20 brands are on the list from Which? members’ experiences.

So what’s causing oven doors to shatter? While we’ve never had an oven door shatter during our testing, we are currently gathering information from oven engineers, industry experts and manufacturers on why oven doors – inner or outer – might shatter.

So far, potential culprits include:

  • incorrect positioning of glass after cleaning
  • use of abrasive cleaning materials that score the glass
  • build-up of grease causing the oven to overheat
  • glass has been knocked
  • a wet towel hanging on the oven door
  • a dish touching the inside of the door while cooking

Over to you

While it’s unlikely that your oven door will shatter, if it does, it isn’t something you’ll forget in a hurry.

So, we’d like to hear from you if the glass of your oven – whether part of a cooker or a built-in oven – has ever shattered or exploded.

Let us know what happened, including any response from the manufacturer. And if you’ve taken any pictures, please send them to conversation.comments@which.co.uk

Comments
Member

When glass doors first appeared, they were inside a metal door, allowing the user to inspect their food without affecting the temperature. Before that, ovens had just a metal door. I expect that anyone how has had an oven door ‘explode’ would welcome these options.

If oven doors ‘explode’, this means that they are made of tempered glass, which is tougher and more break-resistant than normal glass. If it does break as a result of abrasion, sudden temperature change, etc. then an ‘explosion’ can happen with warning.

Member

Toughened glass (as for oven doors) are made by heating the standard glass to near softening then blasting both sides with cold air to rapidly chill them. This shrinks the outside of the glass and forms a tough “skin” that is more resistant to impact and temperature change than standard. The other feature is that when it breaks it forms very small safe-edged pieces. Think old car windscreens, large windows….

I mention this because whilst normally very tough if the skin is damaged – nicked on the edge or face for example – or if the glass is not high quality, with small inclusions say – then the stresses formed in the glass will be released and it will spontaneously shatter. It is rare.

An alternative would be to use borosilicate glass (like Pyrex) that is heat resistant because it is very low expansion, but does not have the impact resistance of toughened glass.

Like many other incidents we need to consider the statistics – out of all the ovens on the market, how many doors have shattered. Metal doors are an option; how many can still easily see properly through their glass oven doors after a few years use?

Member

Glass can vary considerably in composition and toughened glass can break because of small imperfections that create points of weakness that can lead to ‘explosions’. Duncan Lucas has discussed this in detail in the context of mobile phone screen breakage.

The key feature of borosilicate glass is that is resistant to breakage due to rapid changes in temperature, unlike most other glasses that we have round the home. Pyrex used to be synonymous with borosilicate glass but the name is used for cheaper soda glass in the US. Soda glass is not heat resistant.

When cleaning oven doors it is important to avoid abrasive cleaners and not to use oven cleaners that contain sodium hydroxide. Sodium hydroxide is alkaline and can destroy the smooth surface of glass, making it more likely to break and even making it opaque. For the same reason, drinking glasses are best kept out of dishwashers. Oven doors are best cleaned after use and it’s best to keep food towards the back and covered if possible.

Member

I agree with the facts presented by both Wavechange and malcolm and ,yes , I did go into detail on glass composition + manufacture elsewhere ,I can only add that glass is tempered at roughly 720 degrees but if the oven has a self-cleaning operation then the oven is heated to -900-1200 degrees then if regularly used , over time the glass structure can , and does become affected and the glass could (and has exploded -in the USA ) taken from a US oven cleaning company. But even if you dont believe the company the US Federal authorities actually state that this is a known fault and has occurred in a large number of households all over the US.

Member
Kathy Jeffrey says:
14 May 2017

I had a fantastic Stoves double oven 17 years old still worked perfectly and the inner glass of double glazed doors went in the dish washer.One day I was about to put a plate in the oven and it caught the edge of the glass and it shattered.Sadly the company could no longer supply the door.I did try to source a second hand one without success.My replacement hotpoint not a patch on the Stoves.

Member

Clean the glass using lukewarm water -no harsh detergents -no metalised/metal brushes/scrubbers metal chip pads/cloths . Mine is still going strong after many years (touch wood-my head ) and has double glass in the oven door.

Member

That worked for me too. I did use detergent but no abrasive cleaners.. I had an inner glass door that lifted out of the main oven and it was easy to remove and clean regularly.

Member
BorderReiver says:
15 May 2017

We owned two Siemens pyrolytic ovens with consecutive model numbers. Both oven doors have cracked (though not exploded) during a cleaning cycle. That would indicate to me some sort of design fault. Unfortunately Siemens were less than helpful when we approached them. Needless to say, when we replaced one of the ovens, it wasn’t another Siemens.