The freestanding type of cooker is one of the most popular options for our kitchens, as it has many advantages besides featuring a stovetop and oven in the same appliance.
However, when you have the oven directly under the stovetop, there are times when you notice that the stovetop gets hot when the oven is on, even if you’re not using the stove.
This is a rather common issue, but not one that should be overlooked because it can quickly turn into a dangerous situation for all those who live in your home.
Why does my stovetop get so hot when the oven is on?
When you’re cooking, it’s normal for the temperature on the stove to rise, however, there are times when you haven’t used the stovetop at all and you notice that the griddle or the surface itself is strangely hot.
In these cases, the first thing that comes to mind is whether or not we have used the oven underneath, and as a consequence, we realize that our stovetop gets hot when using the oven.
The first thing you should know is that your stovetop should never get too hot even when the oven is on. Ovens are equipped with several components that are meant to make the hot air inside circulate and vent outside.
Even without an oven underneath, it’s not normal for a stovetop to become too hot, unless there are special circumstances that we’re going to see below.
This problem doesn’t always require professional intervention, actually most of the time it’s easy to fix and just requires a bit more caution on our part.
The first step to resolve the issue of heat coming out of the top of the oven is to understand why this happens in the first place. Without further ado, let’s dive into the possible causes and related solutions to this problem.
1. Inadequate ventilation
Ovens need to release the hot air accumulated inside the chamber outside. When the oven is under a stovetop or installed inside a cabinet, they usually have a vent placed on top, on the back, or on one side.
Most often, you will find that your oven vents under one of the back burners, or they vent through the back, in the space between the rear burners and the display panel.
If your gas or electric stovetop gets hot when the oven is on, it means there is something that is preventing proper ventilation.
It’s important to keep your oven and stovetop clean, to prevent obstruction of the vents and other problems related to poor maintenance.
For a gas stove and oven, you can open the top and check if the flue in the center is in good condition. A corroded or split flue is a major problem because it means there’s a restriction on how much gas it can exhaust.
2. Inadequate insulation
If you have an old oven, its conditions may have worsened throughout the years. Maintenance and cleaning become increasingly fundamental for ovens as years go by.
One component that is quite important to assure that your oven works properly and vents where it’s supposed to and how much it’s supposed to be the insulation.
The door of your oven features a gasket between the cavity of the oven and the flue. This gasket is meant to fill the free space and seal your oven to prevent heat from escaping.
A broken or loose gasket means that not only your stovetop gets too hot, but also that your thermostat won’t work and your oven won’t reach the desired temperature because it keeps losing heat.
Luckily, replacing a gasket is not complicated, but the replacement component might be quite expensive, so make sure to keep your oven in good condition.
3. Oversize pans
Many people are unaware that the size of the pan should match the size of the burner. In fact, you shouldn’t use pans that are more than one inch larger than the burner you placed them on.
This rule is meant to keep your electric stove from overheating, and also to make sure your food cooks evenly because a large skillet on a small burner means only the food at the center of it will cook properly.
Problems arise when the heat gets trapped around the coil because of the large pan. In that case, it gets harder for the coil to cool off, and it’s a waste of energy.
A cooktop usually comes with different size burners, and that’s the main reason for it. However, it’s true that many pans on the market might not match the size of your burners.
Now that you know how important the size of your kitchenware is, remember that whether you have a gas or electric oven, the heat might get trapped under pans if they’re too large for your coils.
This could happen even if you don’t have an oven underneath the stovetop, so be careful.
4. Faulty components
When a gas or an electric oven is venting too much heat, sometimes the problem is beyond our power and ability to fix it. Although rare, out of thousands of units, some ovens might simply be defective.
There are many components inside an oven that are meant to regulate all of the functions that make your oven the useful appliance that it is: thermostat, cooling fan, cooking sensor, to name a few.
If even just one of these components is faulty, your oven won’t work properly. You might notice that something is wrong if the oven vents too much or for too long, or if it doesn’t reach the desired temperature.
In order to check the temperature, place an oven thermometer or temperature sensor on the middle rack, right at the center. Preheat your oven for at least 20 minutes, and check the temperature when it’s supposedly done.
If the temperature inside the oven doesn’t match the one you set the oven too, your oven is either badly insulated or faulty.
5. Check the drip pans
You may have heard of the urban legend that says that if you wrap your drip pans with aluminum, your stovetop will be more energy-efficient.
While wrapping your drip pans does have some usefulness, it also means you’re doing a great deal of damage both to the stovetop and the oven underneath.
Drip pans alone could already cause the heat to be trapped inside the cavity of the oven, especially if your oven vents are through the coils. When you wrap your drip pans in aluminum, you’re basically blocking the vent completely.
Besides, wrapping your drip pans does nothing for your stovetop, energy-wise. It does save you some time cleaning the coils, but that’s basically everything there is to it.
On top of not letting your oven vent correctly, aluminum will reflect the heat from the coils, so that they will be always hotter than they’re supposed to.
This means it will become hard to maintain the desired temperature, and it could mess up your cooking time and meals.
6. Glass top stove
The glass top stove is the special circumstance we were talking about in the introduction above. In fact, this type of stove needs a chapter by itself.
When a glass top stove burner gets too hot, it could be because you used the oven, but it could also be a problem related to the glass stove top alone.
In fact, heat spreads faster through the glass and the surface retains this heat for a long time. That’s why when you turn off the controls of a glass stovetop, food continues cooking for a while and stays warm for what seems a long time.
Because of this, you might be under the impression that the stovetop is too hot, or remains hot for longer than it should because of the oven, while actually, it’s all the cooktop.
Also, that’s the reason why you might not get immediate feedback when you lower the heat on a glass top stove.
Since the heat spreads through glass, it could take some time before the temperature on the surface reaches the desired temperature.
In order to fix this issue, remember to use residual heat as much as possible when you have a glass top stove. Not only will it make your cooking life easier, but you will also save a lot of energy.
What happens when your stovetop overheats?
When a stovetop overheats, the biggest problem isn’t the cooktop, but the fact that the oven cannot ventilate.
If a gas oven doesn’t ventilate properly, it could lead to an accumulation of carbon monoxide, which can be quite dangerous.
If the issue continues for a long time, and the room doesn’t get enough fresh air during the day, you might start noticing symptoms like fatigue, problems waking up, drowsiness, and breathing problems.
Since carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless, it’s hard to realize when there’s poisoning going on. However, you can prevent it by following the instructions that come with your cooktop and the tips we gave in this article.
Also, your kitchen should be properly ventilated after you cooked, and it should be cleaned regularly.
Apart from this dangerous complication, another less important, but nonetheless annoying consequence of a burning stovetop is improper cooking.
Since the temperature will be out of your control, many cooking methods like slow cooking or simmering will be impossible, and food will be easily overheated.
If problems with your stovetop or oven arise even when you’ve followed all of the right instructions and there’s no apparent issue with your appliances, get in contact with a professional as soon as possible.