Why do oven doors shatter and how to prevent it? – Truth here!

My oven's glass door shattered while I was eating dinner. It exploded about 5 minutes after it was turned off. I almost had a heart attack. This oven is only 2-3 years old. Why did this happen, and how can I prevent it? I could barely afford this one; I cannot buy a new oven. What do I do?

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A woman named Willie Mae Truesdale was disturbed by a loud bang coming from the kitchen. She was quick to check what happened when she saw the glass door of her oven shattered into a million pieces. At the time, the oven was off. “It was shocking and you had to really see it to believe it,” she explained and added: “It was like what in the world. Glass shattered, glass was out here on the floor.

However, Truesdale’s case isn’t unique. Other women also shared their experience with the same issue. Among them was Cheryl, a suburban mom who noticed that the temperature of the oven she had purchased three months before was off by about 25 degrees while she baked muffins. This happened during COVID, and once the quarantine was over, she contacted a repairman to fix her oven. Before that, she decided to run a self-cleaning cycle first at the end of which there was a loud explosion, and the inner glass on the oven door shattered.

Similarly, Michelle Wheat’s oven door exploded. Just as Truesdale’s oven, Wheat’s oven wasn’t on at the time of the explosion.

Glass scattered all over the kitchen, and luckily, none of her four children was injured. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has received approximately 450 reports of such incidents since 2019. The ovens in question were from different producers.

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The three women encountered difficulties with the manufacturers after the incidents. Truesdale’s oven was under warranty, but still, a Frigidaire technician blamed her for the explosion and forced her to pay for a new door herself. NBC’s intervention led Bosch to replace Cheryl’s oven. Wheat, whose oven was out of warranty, had to pay a technician $100 just to confirm the glass was broken, with the replacement costing another $314.

Frigidaire recommended she buy an extended warranty in case it happened again. Frustrated, Wheat remarked, “This should not have happened. That was the point I was trying to make to them.”

Mark Meshulam of Chicago Window Expert gives an explanation about why these explosions may be taking place. “There are two scenarios of why oven glass can break spontaneously,” he said. “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.”

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Another possibility is that explosions are caused by a nickel sulfide inclusion, which is a tiny flaw in the glass. “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.”

He, however, reassures people that the self-cleaning feature of ovens is safe. “Most people will survive their whole lives using the self-cleaning feature and not really encounter this problem,” he said. He also thinks that tiny chips and imperfections are what cause ovens to explode when they aren’t on. This is especially concerning because the door can break long after the original damage happens.

These points of damage are beyond the control of the homeowners because they usually happen during production, shipping, or installation. 

Using aggressive cleaning methods and applying excessive physical force can also cause microscopic scratches or chips on the glass.

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