Proper Operation
Learn how your appliance is supposed to operate so you can determine if it is malfunctioning.

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Electric Range Oven Vent

Illustration of oven air circulation and the oven vent

The air inside the oven must circulate for proper cooking to take place.

Room air usually enters the oven cavity at the base of the door as it is not sealed air tight. As the oven heats the air it rises. At the top of the oven cavity there is a small vent that allows some of the hot oven air to escape to the room which in turn allows more air to enter the oven cavity. This continual cycle allows the oven to heat uniformly from bottom to top.

On coil top ranges the oven vent is usually in the center under one of the rear surface elements. It is important that that vent is not blocked to allow for proper air circulation in the oven. A pot, pan or kettle left on an unused element over the oven vent can hamper oven air circulation resulting in poor cooking. If the element above the vent is in use, it will not affect the venting as the heat generated by the element will cause convection currents in itself, allowing the oven gases to escape normally. Only if not in use should that vent element be left uncovered.

Ranges with a glass top also have a vent for the oven but it is usually in the back panel. Large pots left standing in from of such a vent area could also contribute to poor oven cooking.

Totally covering oven racks with aluminum foil or stuffing the oven too full with cookie sheets, etc. can also hamper the natural oven air circulation preventing proper cooking. Baking delicate item like cakes is usually most affected by improper oven air circulation.