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Why Do Oven Doors Shatter and How to Prevent It

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Why Do Oven Doors Shatter and How to Prevent It

Willie Mae Truesdale was in her kitchen when she heard a loud blast. She went to look into it and found pieces of her oven door all over the floor. “It was shocking and you had to really see it to believe it,” she explained.

“It was like what in the world. Glass shattered, glass was out here on the floor.” Her oven wasn’t even on at the time, which made things messier. More scary is the fact that Truesdale is not the only homeowner whose oven has burst.

The Strange Case of Glass Oven Doors That Explode

During the COVID-19 lockdown, Cheryl, a mom from the suburbs, had a similar shock. There was a hole in the middle of the brownies she tried to bake. She found out that her oven was about 25 degrees off even though it had only been three months old. Once she was out of quarantine, she called a professional to fix her gadget. She did set it to a self-cleaning mode first, though. Near the end, there was a loud blast, and the oven was hit by broken glass from the inside of the door.

But Michelle Wheat’s oven door blew up and broke glass all over her kitchen. It was the same for Wheat; his oven, which was three years old, wasn’t on at the time. Luckily, the glass did not hurt any of her four young children. And like Truesdale, her oven was a Frigidaire. Cheryl’s was a Bosch, but complaints about glass doors from other types have also been made. In fact, since 2019, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has heard about this happening 450 times.

All three women had problems with the makers after the event, which was a shame. Even though Truesdale’s oven was still under warranty, the person from Frigidaire thought the family was to blame for the explosion, even though the oven was turned off. She had to pay her own money for a new door. NBC asked Bosch for a reaction, and they kindly replaced Cheryl’s oven.

Wheat’s oven was no longer under warranty, so she had to pay the technician $100. The technician then told her that the glass was broken and that they needed to fix it, which cost the family an extra $314. Frigidaire told Wheat to get a longer protection in case this happened again. “This should not have happened,” the irate mom of six said. “That’s what I wanted to say to them.”

For what reason do oven doors shatter?

“There are two scenarios of why oven glass can break spontaneously,” says Mark Meshulam of Chicago Window Expert. “There’s one family of oven glass that is soda lime glass, which is window glass, and it’s heated and cooled rapidly so that it becomes tempered. That’s one type of glass that is used in oven doors. Another type is borosilicate glass. It is more used in laboratory glassware or the old time Pyrex glass, and that one tolerates heat and cold very well. So, the shift to soda lime glass has brought about an increase in these types of breaks because it’s not as tolerant of the thermal cycles that the glass will go through.”

But it’s also possible that the blasts are caused by a tiny flaw in the glass called a nickel sulfide inclusion. “It’s only about a tenth of a millimeter in diameter. That little ball has some strange properties.” Meshulam said, adding, “over time it’s fighting to get out. And sometimes the high heat event like oven cleaning event can bring about that finally that spontaneous failure that was in there.”

Still, Meshulam tells people that the self-cleaning feature of ovens is safe. He said, “Most people will survive their whole lives using the self-cleaning feature and not really encounter this problem.” Aside from that, he thinks that ovens explode when they’re not on because of tiny chips and flaws. But the most scary thing about this chance is that the door could break a long time after the first damage.

Prevention Tips

These small harm points can happen during production, shipping, or installation. Homeowners can’t always stop these things from happening, but there are things they can do to keep their homes safe. For example, some everyday actions can leave tiny chips or scratches on the glass. Some of these are harsh cleaning methods and putting too much physical stress on the body.

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