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Old 05-23-2004, 02:27 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
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Is leaving the oven on dangerous

Assume you leave it on while you go to work because you forget to turn it off. Is it actually dangerous to do that? does it matter if its gas or electric in regards to danger? It seems like it would just internally regulate its temperature and not pose a threat.

What if you leave food in there, then is it dangerous? I dont know if there is a risk of the food catching on fire, but even if it did ovens are steel and (probably) fireproof so i'm sure they would contain and maybe suffocate the fire.

So is leaving an oven on dangerous? I dont know which forum to put this in (its too subjective to be a general question) so i'm putting it here.
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Old 05-23-2004, 02:55 PM
Lobsang Lobsang is offline
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It probably depends on the age and model of the oven. My mother left our oven on overnight. It just meant the kitchen was warm.


Leaving the toaster part of an oven on, with toast in it, that's another thing entirely. I have nearly set our old kitchen on fire, three times.
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Old 05-23-2004, 02:57 PM
Qadgop the Mercotan Qadgop the Mercotan is online now
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Originally Posted by Lobsang
Leaving the toaster part of an oven on, with toast in it, that's another thing entirely. I have nearly set our old kitchen on fire, three times.
As noted in the Way of Mrs. Cosmopolite: "Those who do not learn from the past are condemned to burn down the kitchen".
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Old 05-23-2004, 03:13 PM
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The short answer is Yes. No appliance is infinitely infallible. Should the regulating thermostat fail, you have a very serious problem.

Regarding ovens being fireproof, that's a false conception. Ovens and related appliances are involved as the point of ignition in fires to a degree that they have their own listed factor on NFIRS: Careless Cooking.

Oh for a picture of the face someone displays at 0315 when they've come home from the pub, put some leftovers in the oven to reheat and then fell asleep. An hour or so later, building smoke detectors are howling, and I boot in the apartment door, awakening the errant cooker from the living room couch.
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Old 05-23-2004, 09:39 PM
Kneepants Erasmus, the Humanist Kneepants Erasmus, the Humanist is offline
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When the cold comes, and the heater goes, I have been known to leave the oven on with the door open. I suppose that makes a big difference (door being open).

Thus far I am still alive with roof over the head and such.
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Old 05-23-2004, 09:44 PM
swampbear swampbear is offline
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Never a good idea to leave the oven on when you're not home. Especially if something is cooking. This from someone who always checks the cooktop and the oven to make sure everything is off before leaving home even when he hasn't even turned the things on!
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Old 05-24-2004, 09:35 AM
N. Sane N. Sane is offline
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One day I arrived home to find my sister (who was then living with me) gone, the oven on, and an extremely crispy piece of what used to be pizza in the oven. She had put it in to heat up and forgot about it when her friends dropped by and took her with them. No harm was done to anything but the pizza, fortunately, but it's not really something I'd recommend doing.
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Old 05-24-2004, 09:44 AM
Bruce_Daddy Bruce_Daddy is offline
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[hijack]
I know a girl that reheated a pizza in the oven. Still in the cardboard box.
[/hijack]
  #9  
Old 05-24-2004, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Bruce_Daddy
[hijack]
I know a girl that reheated a pizza in the oven. Still in the cardboard box.
[/hijack]
In theory, that should be OK...I've done it, but at temps of 350 degrees or less. You don't want to surpass the almighty 451F, or all your questionable books will burn.
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Old 11-01-2017, 04:42 PM
Rainaverea Rainaverea is offline
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In theory, that should be OK...I've done it, but at temps of 350 degrees or less. You don't want to surpass the almighty 451F, or all your questionable books will burn.

I registered on this website *just* to tell you that you're awesome for knowing that book.
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Old 11-01-2017, 04:44 PM
Thudlow Boink Thudlow Boink is online now
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Wesley Clark, is your oven still on?
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Old 11-01-2017, 04:46 PM
excavating (for a mind) excavating (for a mind) is offline
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If it's a zombie oven, does it count?
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Old 11-01-2017, 06:55 PM
AskNott AskNott is offline
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I don't think my oven even has a "Dangerous" setting, but if it did I don't think I'd leave it unattended.
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Old 11-01-2017, 06:58 PM
beowulff beowulff is online now
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I registered on this website *just* to tell you that you're awesome for knowing that book.
Everyone on this site knows that book...
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Old 11-01-2017, 07:29 PM
t-bonham@scc.net t-bonham@scc.net is online now
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It's dangerous to your pocketbook.

Given the inefficiency of an oven in heating up the whole house. Especially in the summer, when the OP was.
  #16  
Old 11-01-2017, 07:47 PM
jtur88 jtur88 is offline
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My mental picture of a modern oven is a pretty fireproof place. I can't imaging anything burning inside the oven spreading flames to any combustible material outside, or of transmitting flashpoint heat to anything outside the oven.

In fact, I used to hide money in the drawer beneath the oven, in the belief that it would be one of the last places a general house fire would spread to..
  #17  
Old 11-01-2017, 07:48 PM
harmonicamoon harmonicamoon is online now
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It is reasonable to assume that the oven will perform the same regardless of an audience.

The problem arises when Murfey shows up.
  #18  
Old 11-01-2017, 08:20 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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Originally Posted by Rainaverea View Post
I registered on this website *just* to tell you that you're awesome for knowing that book.
I think you might consider sticking around, as I'd wager the vast, vast majority of people here know that book, as beowulff said (although I'll account that since we have an international audience, I wouldn't assume literally everyone knows it. But I'd bet 90%+.)
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Old 11-01-2017, 11:56 PM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is offline
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I've left the house to run an errand, while something is baking in the oven. A pot roast for example can be left alone while I go to the grocery or go to the bank.

Don't most modern ovens have a clock/timer that can be set to turn it off? A handy feature in case you get delayed returning home.

I never worried. The worst that would happen in a burnt roast that needs throwing out.

Last edited by aceplace57; 11-02-2017 at 12:01 AM.
  #20  
Old 11-02-2017, 04:34 AM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is offline
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Has this thread made anyone else think of Hansel and Gretel?

  #21  
Old 11-02-2017, 04:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink View Post
Wesley Clark, is your oven still on?
Quote:
Originally Posted by AskNott View Post
I don't think my oven even has a "Dangerous" setting, but if it did I don't think I'd leave it unattended.
Well, there go my thread contributions
  #22  
Old 11-02-2017, 05:42 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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When I was about 12 years old, my mom left a pot roast or stew or whatnot in the oven before we went over to a relative's house for a party. She meant to turn it off, but, for whatever reason, turned the dial completely the wrong way, so the oven was set to 500.

We came home several hours later. Luckily, the house was still there and intact, but it took us a few days to scrub out all the creosote or whatever the brown smokey residue was from all the surfaces of the kitchen, and the stench in all our fabrics.

But, hey, at least nothing burnt down.
  #23  
Old 11-02-2017, 06:57 PM
HoneyBadgerDC HoneyBadgerDC is online now
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I sometimes make a quick trip to the store or laundry mat while baking something and I stay paranoid the whole time that something will happen and I won't be able to get back in time.
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Old 11-02-2017, 07:31 PM
thirdname thirdname is offline
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What about a crock pot? I've heard people suggest starting a meal in the morning so it is ready when you come home in the evening. Is that safe? I know crockpots operate at fairly low temperatures, not much above boiling. But eventually the water will all boil away an not be there to absorb the heat. If that happens, will it still remain at a safe temperature?

I wonder- does a crockpot use a thermostat to regulate temperature, or is the wattage low enough for a fire to be impossible in the first place?
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Old 11-02-2017, 08:08 PM
puzzlegal puzzlegal is offline
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My understanding is that ovens are relatively safe, and most "careless cooking" fires are started by hotter cooking methods, such as stove tips and toasters. In particular, an oven set to a low temperature, or a crock pot, are pretty safe.

That being said, I've never left the house with the oven on except very briefly. And I don't expect I will change that habit.
  #26  
Old 11-02-2017, 08:21 PM
G0sp3l G0sp3l is offline
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Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
I think you might consider sticking around, as I'd wager the vast, vast majority of people here know that book, as beowulff said (although I'll account that since we have an international audience, I wouldn't assume literally everyone knows it. But I'd bet 90%+.)
HA! And double HA, HA!! There are people on this site that will tell you that the book should be Celsius 451.

Last edited by G0sp3l; 11-02-2017 at 08:22 PM. Reason: spelin
  #27  
Old 11-02-2017, 08:24 PM
Folacin Folacin is online now
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Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
When I was about 12 years old, my mom left a pot roast or stew or whatnot in the oven before we went over to a relative's house for a party. She meant to turn it off, but, for whatever reason, turned the dial completely the wrong way, so the oven was set to 500.

We came home several hours later. Luckily, the house was still there and intact, but it took us a few days to scrub out all the creosote or whatever the brown smokey residue was from all the surfaces of the kitchen, and the stench in all our fabrics.

But, hey, at least nothing burnt down.
No dwarves had recently passed through your bedroom, then? No Greek kings showed up with the fire brigade?
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Old 11-02-2017, 08:29 PM
TPWombat TPWombat is offline
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I registered on this website *just* to tell you that you're awesome for knowing that book.
Welcome to the Straight Dope Rainaverea!

If you are impressed that people know that book then you may well like it here.
  #29  
Old 11-02-2017, 08:46 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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HA! And double HA, HA!! There are people on this site that will tell you that the book should be Celsius 451.
Ah, yes, but then there will be people who come back and say the whole story about Bradbury messing up Celsius and Fahrenheit may well just be a pile of bullshit.

At any rate, the auto-ignition temps of most papers are much closer to 451F than 451C. (Looks like 480F is a good number to go with.)

And then probably some poster, like me, would link to Rachel Bloom's delightful little ditty Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury.

Quote:
Since I was twelve, I've been your number one fan
Kiss me, you Illustrated Man.
I'll feed you grapes and Dandelion Wine,
And we'll read a little Fahrenheit 69.

So Rainaverea, that's what things are like around here.

Last edited by pulykamell; 11-02-2017 at 08:48 PM.
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Old 11-02-2017, 09:15 PM
anomalous1 anomalous1 is offline
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Given that I suffer with OCD, this seems like something that would bother me, but I never worry about the oven, as long as nothing is in there and especially if the heat is under 400F. Probably awful on your gas bill or electrical bill (depending on the oven) is all. The range top is a different story in terms of risk I suppose. Just keeping flammable objects away from the stove top is good enough.
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Old 11-02-2017, 09:39 PM
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If I were standing in the kitchen, and whatever I was holding caught on fire, I would assume the safest place to put would be in the oven. Shut the door and leave it there until it stops burning -what harm can it possibly do to anything else? Well I suppose the resulting smoke as noted above. . . Second best would be the sink, but it's not always clear, and water can convert some cooking fires into WMD status.

But still, I've never understood why people are afraid to leave the oven going. I used to always set the self-clean before I went to bed at night, and that's the hottest it's capable of getting.

Now, the stove, yes, of course, you never know when some idiot moth may fly along, set itself on fire,then retire to the recycling bin to die a fiery and contagious death.
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Old 11-02-2017, 10:10 PM
TruCelt TruCelt is offline
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To be sure, there is slightly more trouble with leaving a gas oven on than an electric one, as it is having some small effect on your indoor air quality. But my Great-Grandmother's range (looked like this one) literally didn't have an "off" setting, and she lived to a ripe old age. Still, I'm more paranoid about fumes, and much prefer an electric range.

Last edited by TruCelt; 11-02-2017 at 10:11 PM.
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Old 11-02-2017, 11:00 PM
G0sp3l G0sp3l is offline
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Ah, yes, but then there will be people who come back and say the whole story about Bradbury messing up Celsius and Fahrenheit may well just be a pile of bullshit.

At any rate, the auto-ignition temps of most papers are much closer to 451F than 451C. (Looks like 480F is a good number to go with.)

And then probably some poster, like me, would link to Rachel Bloom's delightful little ditty Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury.



So Rainaverea, that's what things are like around here.


See, that's why I'm still a Guest and not a Member (ha, I said member!).

And that video was Awesome.
  #34  
Old 11-03-2017, 12:26 AM
zuer-coli zuer-coli is offline
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Originally Posted by thirdname View Post
What about a crock pot? I've heard people suggest starting a meal in the morning so it is ready when you come home in the evening. Is that safe? I know crockpots operate at fairly low temperatures, not much above boiling. But eventually the water will all boil away an not be there to absorb the heat. If that happens, will it still remain at a safe temperature?

I wonder- does a crockpot use a thermostat to regulate temperature, or is the wattage low enough for a fire to be impossible in the first place?
FWIW I have left my Crock pot on during the day when I was gone on purpose. It's a nice way to have a hot meal waiting.
As I recall one of the points made by the manufacturer was that this was an approved practice.

I do not think that I ever saw my crock pot boil.

My crock pot has a three step thermostat. Electric power off because the thermostat is satisfied, low power and high power.

As I recall High power is 1,500 Watts. 1,500 watts is certainly enough to start a fire, all electric heaters have some kind of tip over switch so when your kids knock it over it turns off. In the past there were more fires from electric heaters. All the ones I have ever bought new told you not to leave them unattended while turned on.

FWIW 1,500 watts is the maximum load that is allowed for a device that is cord connected to a 120 outlet.

Last edited by zuer-coli; 11-03-2017 at 12:26 AM. Reason: added meal
  #35  
Old 11-03-2017, 01:35 AM
t-bonham@scc.net t-bonham@scc.net is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thirdname View Post
What about a crock pot? I've heard people suggest starting a meal in the morning so it is ready when you come home in the evening. Is that safe? I know crockpots operate at fairly low temperatures, not much above boiling. But eventually the water will all boil away an not be there to absorb the heat. If that happens, will it still remain at a safe temperature?

I wonder- does a crockpot use a thermostat to regulate temperature, or is the wattage low enough for a fire to be impossible in the first place?
Crock pots are well below boiling temperature. Many can't even reach boiling temperature, unless very empty.

Also, the liquid doesn't boil away -- they are covered pots, so the liquid condenses on the lid and drips back into the pot. (That's the point; it's why things cooked in a crock pot are tender and not dried out despite a long cooking time.)
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Old 11-03-2017, 08:44 AM
Folacin Folacin is online now
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Second best would be the sink, but it's not always clear, and water can convert some cooking fires into WMD status.
I had just moved into my first apartment, and was cooking something (don't remember what) on the range. The oil flared up. Boy genius that I am, I remembered that you don't put water on a grease fire.

Boy idiot that I am, I figured that putting the grease into the water in the sink would be OK. The rest of the kitchen did not catch on fire, and I suffered no third degree burns.

I think I was (within a minor panic) remembering high school chemistry, where it was OK to add chemicals to water, but not pour water onto certain chemicals (or vice versa, it was a long time ago).

Last edited by Folacin; 11-03-2017 at 08:44 AM.
  #37  
Old 11-03-2017, 09:36 AM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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(That's the point; it's why things cooked in a crock pot are tender and not dried out despite a long cooking time.)
Well, yes and no. It's as much, if not more, the cut of meat you use. Stuff absolutely does dry out in a crock pot, but with all the sauce, people often don't seem to notice or care. Chicken breast and pork loin are the biggest culprits. You can absolutely get moist and tender meat using dry cooking methods, too (see barbecue.)

Last edited by pulykamell; 11-03-2017 at 09:37 AM.
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Old 11-03-2017, 05:13 PM
InsomniaMama InsomniaMama is offline
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No dwarves had recently passed through your bedroom, then? No Greek kings showed up with the fire brigade?
Don't touch it! It's concentrated evil!
  #39  
Old 11-03-2017, 08:33 PM
LSLGuy LSLGuy is online now
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I don't think my oven even has a "Dangerous" setting, but if it did I don't think I'd leave it unattended.
Yes, it's a zombie. But I can't resist.

Your oven may not have a "Dangerous" setting, but some appliances have 'em. Several in fact: https://what-if.xkcd.com/35/.

On a serious note, the link explains the physics of ovens. 100% of the energy spent heating those coils goes somewhere. That somewhere is the walls & air in the room.

Last edited by LSLGuy; 11-03-2017 at 08:35 PM.
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