This is the time of year for holiday parties with friends and family. Most get-togethers involve food – lots of food. And if you’re the one preparing the appetizers, entrées, desserts, and other goodies, you are probably going to make use of your oven. If it isn’t working normally or efficiently, you may run into a problem or two when you are elbow-deep in preparing a holiday feast.
Here are some tips for making sure that your oven is properly maintained and ready for the holidays.
- Don’t use the self-clean feature less than two weeks before a major cooking event. When you use this feature on your oven, it can heat it to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit or more. Sometimes, this leads ovens to have electrical malfunctions. Repair work for this kind of issue can get expensive, and it may be difficult to find an appliance repair company this time of year.
- Test the temperature accuracy of your oven. Buy a cake mix and prepare it according to the directions on the back of the package. Place the cake in the oven at the recommended temperature and for the suggested cooking time. When you take the cake out of the oven, if it’s dry or undercooked, this may suggest that there is an issue with the temperature accuracy inside your oven.
- Use the light. Every time you open the door to check on food, it can lower the inside of the oven by nearly 25 degrees Fahrenheit. If you want to check on what’s cooking, turn the light on. The switch or button for the oven’s light should be on the control panel, or it may be on top of the cooktop.
- Cook several dishes at one time. Instead of cooking one pie, one casserole, or one appetizer at a time, cook several things at once. This doesn’t put as much strain on your oven since you won’t need to leave it on as long. It can also save energy.
- Replace gaskets if you have a “sweaty” oven. If you’ve noticed moisture forming on your oven’s door when it’s on, this could indicate that you have a faulty door gasket that needs to be replaced. These gaskets help to maintain cooking temperatures inside of the oven.
- Be sure the door is shut. If the oven’s door isn’t closing all the way when you’re cooking, heat is escaping. This will lead to longer cooking times for your dishes. Bent or broken door hinges can easily be replaced at a low cost.
- Keep your oven clean. Periodically clean the inside of your oven so that it doesn’t have greasy, stuck-on food spots. These food bits can eventually burn in the oven, creating a less-than-pleasant odor.
- Think about using alternatives. Instead of cooking all dishes in your oven, consider using a slow cooker, toaster oven, or microwave to prepare some items. These other appliances don’t require as much energy as an oven.
- Be prepared. Don’t wait until the night before a dinner party to see if the oven is in good working order. Maintain your oven regularly and keep it clean throughout the year so that you don’t have to deal with sudden disasters. It can be nearly impossible to find an emergency appliance repair company to come to your home on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or New Year’s.
- Keep it safe. If you don’t feel comfortable maintaining, cleaning or repairing certain things with your oven, call in a professional.
Keep a clean, efficient, and functioning oven so that you can prepare all the tasty foods you want for your next holiday party.