Before the guests start to arrive and you make the first of many trips to Sam's Club or Costco, do yourself a favor and set aside some time for prepping your oven and other appliances for the holidays. From roasting the perfect turkey to baking delicious holiday treats, your oven will be working overtime. Follow these tips to ensure your oven is ready to handle the holiday cooking extravaganza ahead!
5 Steps for Prepping Your Oven
Clean Your Oven
The first step to prepping your oven for the work ahead is deep cleaning the appliance. Many experts recommend cleaning your oven every three months, and the reason is simple. A clean oven not only looks better but also performs better. Built-up grease and food residue can affect the efficiency and evenness of heat distribution in your oven. Here are some cleaning methods to consider:
A self-cleaning oven is a convenient and effective way to deep clean your oven. Follow these tips when using the self-clean option:
- Allow enough time for the self-clean cycle to complete and for the oven to cool down afterward before using it again.
- Keep the kitchen well-ventilated during self-cleaning by opening windows or using a ventilation fan.
- After the cycle is complete, wipe away the remaining ash and residue with a damp cloth or sponge.
Homemade Oven Cleaner
If your oven doesn't have a self-clean option or you prefer a more natural cleaning method, making your own oven cleaner is easy using common household ingredients. Here's a simple recipe:
- Mix baking soda, water, dish soap, and vinegar in a bowl until paste-like.
- Spread this paste over the interior surfaces of your oven, focusing on areas with stubborn grease and stains.
- Let the paste sit for several hours or overnight to loosen the grime.
- Wipe away the paste, dissolved grease and dirt with a damp cloth, paper towel, or sponge.
- Rinse the cloth or sponge frequently, or replace paper towels, to prevent spreading the dirt around.
- A scrub brush or scouring pad can be used for tough stains, but be careful not to scratch the oven's surfaces.
At Reliable Appliance Repair, we recommend avoiding harsh chemicals to clean your oven since these can damage the oven's interior coating or the heating element. Use only cleaners specifically made for oven cleaning, or stick to natural cleaning methods that will ensure a long life for your appliance.
While cleaning your oven's ceiling, walls, and floor, remember the racks - they likely could use a little TLC, too.
Level Your Oven
The second step for prepping your oven for the holidays is ensuring the oven is level. An oven that is not level can cause uneven heating and result in dishes that are overcooked on one side and undercooked on the other. Follow these steps to level your oven:
- Disconnect the power supply to the oven to ensure your safety during the leveling process.
- Use a carpenter's level to check the oven's balance from front to back and side to side. Place the level on the oven racks or bottom of the oven.
- If the oven is not level, adjust the leveling feet at the oven's bottom corners. Use a wrench or pliers to turn the feet clockwise or counterclockwise to raise or lower each corner until the oven is level.
- Recheck the oven using the carpenter's level to ensure proper balance.
- Once the oven is level, reconnect the power supply and test the oven to ensure the appliance functions correctly.
Check the Door Seal
The next step for prepping your oven is to check the door seal. A properly functioning door seal is essential for maintaining your oven's temperature and energy efficiency. Over time, the door seal may become worn or damaged, leading to heat loss and uneven cooking. Follow these steps:
- Inspect the door's seal for signs of wear, tears, or gaps. Pay close attention to the areas where the seal meets the oven frame.
- Turn the oven light, close the door, and observe if any light is coming through the seal. If there is, the seal is not tight and needs replacement.
Replacing the seal is not difficult if you find the right sealing strip for your model. Still, rather than going through the hassle of ordering the correct part, many Southern Colorado homeowners choose to call a stove and oven repair company to take care of the issue.
Calibrate The Oven's Temperature
One of the most critical steps for prepping your oven for the holidays is to ensure the temperature is accurate. A slight temperature variation can significantly impact your cooking results. To calibrate your oven, follow these steps:
- Purchase an oven thermometer if you don't already have one. This will help you monitor the temperature accurately.
- Preheat your oven to a specific temperature, such as 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Once the oven has reached the desired temperature, place the thermometer inside and close the door.
- Allow the oven thermometer to sit for 10-15 minutes and monitor the reading. Calibration may be in order if the temperature deviates significantly from the set temperature.
- Consult your oven's manual or manufacturer's website for instructions on adjusting the oven temperature, or contact a reliable appliance technician to make the necessary adjustments.
Consider a Professional Tune-Up
For a thorough and reliable solution to prepping your oven this fall, consider calling an appliance repair technician for a tune-up. A professional technician can inspect and service your oven, ensuring optimal performance for the holiday cooking season. They can calibrate the temperature, check the heating elements, clean hard-to-reach areas, and address potential issues.
Final Tips for Holiday Cooking Success
The above tips will help when prepping your oven for a successful holiday cooking experience, but here are a few more tips that will guarantee that your oven is the star of the show at your festivities:
- Allow ample time for your oven to preheat. Most ovens need 15-20 minutes to reach the desired temperature, so plan accordingly.
- Use quality oven mitts or gloves to protect your hands from burns when handling hot dishes.
- Place a baking sheet or foil underneath dishes that may bubble over or drip to catch any spills and prevent them from burning onto the oven floor.
- Rotate dishes halfway through cooking to promote even browning and cooking.
- Avoid overcrowding the oven, as it can hinder proper airflow and result in uneven cooking.
- Monitor cooking times closely, as holiday recipes may require adjustments due to variations in oven performance.
Reliable Help for Prepping Your Oven for the Holidays
These tips will make prepping your oven to handle all your holiday cooking needs easier. Each step is vital to achieving delicious and evenly cooked dishes, from giving your oven a good cleaning to calibrating the temperature.
If you find that the holiday hustle and bustle leave you with little time to do necessary appliance prep work for the season, call for reinforcements from Reliable Appliance Repair. Our experienced appliance repair technicians will give your oven a professional tune-up before the hectic season begins.
Schedule your appliance tune-up appointment today, and happy cooking!