Angie's List explains how to avoid oven issues

Home appliance industry experts say they get extra busy with oven repairs this time of the year, but you can avoid being the one making their phones ring by following a few simple, but insightful, tips.

We all want a clean oven, especially when preparing a big meal, but don’t chance running the self-cleaning mechanism right before an important get-together.

“One of the worst things you can do before a big family gathering is to run the self-cleaning feature on your oven. It will heat your oven up to a thousand degrees, and if you’re doing that right before you’re getting ready to use it, there’s a chance that you could burn out some of the heating elements and cause your oven to go kaput,” Angie's List Founder Angie Hicks said.

Experts recommend a self-cleaning every four to six weeks when used regularly. You can go longer if you continually wipe up spills.

Brad Taljonick, Broad Ripple Appliance – SOT #1 (:13)

“We don’t want a lot of build-up before we do a self-clean. Self-cleaning cycles, you can adjust them anywhere from two to three-and-a-half hours. If you don’t have a lot of soil, set it for two hours and let it do its thing and you don’t have to worry about it," repairman Brad Taljonick said.

He works with Broad Ripple Appliance

The extreme heat of the self-cleaner makes it a fire risk, so don’t run it before you leave the house or while you sleep.

Another “oven don’t” is using aluminum foil as a drip pan.

“Sure, it prevents drips and what-have-you and makes cleaning easier, but it causes some problems as far as uneven heat, reflection because oven cavities are made to disperse the heat properly so we have even baking. So foil – not a good idea," he said.

A couple of other expert tips: Make sure the vents are clean and clear to maintain even cooking, and do not use spray cleaners around the control knobs. They can leak into the circuitry and short them out. A soapy cloth or sponge should do the trick.

Angie says you should get seven to 10 problem-free years out of a new oven when properly cleaned and maintained. If you have a gas oven and you start to notice a gas smell or uneven heating, it’s an indication of an igniter problem and needs to be serviced.