Go Back   DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum > Home Improvement > Appliances

CLICK HERE AND JOIN OUR COMMUNITY TODAY...IT'S FREE!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 11-27-2008, 08:45 PM   #16
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 30
Share |
Default

SCARY oven fire! Why did it burn?


I have had many heating elements burn apart in the oven and on the stovetop. Usually that's all they did and I replaced them later. Flour? whoa!
When in trouble go pull the main breaker. It is a good idea to learn where and which one it is. I have never lived in a house that had the breakers correctly identified. The main breaker is up on top.

jehiatt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2008, 09:59 PM   #17
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,088
Default

SCARY oven fire! Why did it burn?


Late seeing this. What was the outcome?


I have never seen an element catch fire unless there was something on it to burn, maybe a thin layer of residual grease.
Anyway, with this one doing the identical thing in a relatively short time, I would check the oven and oven switch for starters. It may be out of calibration or the capillary tube may be damaged or even covered with residual funk. If you use oven cleaner, always try to keep it off the elements and the capillary tube (heat sensor) usually at the rear upper corner of the oven in th eolder ones I worked on.

Speaking of the bubble you noticed, usually when an element gets a short or weak spot in it, it will make a bubble before it pops a hole.

I have washed the outside of elements in dish washing detergent to get any grease residue off. Let dry and reinstall.

P.S. I agree about ovens not being designed as heaters, especially unattended. Glad you were there.
It might be possible that it got so hot with door open and having to heat so much that the insulation inside the element caught fire, not sure.

If you changed the element, I do hope you got one with the right wattage rated for that oven.
boman47k is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-16-2009, 08:46 AM   #18
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 1
Default

SCARY oven fire! Why did it burn?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Beth777 View Post
Hi. Just the other day, the kitchen was chilly. I turned my GE electric oven on "warm" and opened the oven door a little. The oven was very clean, no food or crumbs inside. Walking by, I noticed the bottom heating coil had a spot where it was glowing red...which does not normally happen. While I looked down at the odd sight, the glowing red spot suddenly erupted into a little flame, about 1 1/2" tall.

Quickly turned the oven to "off" and shut the oven door. Little flame continued to burn. I opened the oven door and dumped a BIG pile of dry flour on top of the little flame! That should have really smothered the little flame.... Shut the door again.

That didn't help.

Little flame continued, and grew..., maybe about 6" or tall by then, spreading along the coil, a developing ring of fire. It burned past where I had dumped the pile of flour! It seemed to be unstoppable, invinceable! Scary! Staying calm, trying to figure this out super-fast...Figuring that the flame was being fueled by electricity (since there didn't seem to be anything else that could possibly be fueling it), I pulled the oven out from the wall and unplugged it. Instantly the flame went out, as soon as it was unplugged. That's when I realized that my knees were weak and my heart was going to pound right out of my chest...considering what might have been...

The scary part of this, for me, is that we were to leave the house in about 5 minutes for an appointment.....and would have been away for hours. If I had not noticed that little glow...if I had just turned the oven off and left quickly...maybe we would have come home later to a big bonfire.

The history behind this oven: it was given to us by friends who were remodeling. They said the bottom coil had once caught fire. The husband had been there to put out the fire, and had replaced the coil, and it was fine now with the new coil. That was about a year ago. So, after about a year, the replaced oven coil catches fire...there's an erie pattern developing here!

Why did it catch fire? Are electric oven coils flammable? Is this an unsafe oven which needs to be dismantled and put into landfill, or is this a fixable problem?

Ideas and suggestions?

Our homeowners insurance would cover replacement of the oven, but that would kick in a 3-year surcharge penalty for filing a claim. We'd have to pay the deductible. Wouldn't likely be worth filing.

What brand of oven would you recommend or not recommend for replacement choice?
BETH:
I had the exact same thing happen to me yesterday afternoon with our approximately 12 year old GE single wall oven, 26 1/4 size. I had turned on the oven to preheat it. When I walked past it again I noticed the little bright light and thought perhaps a grease drip or crumb on fire. I kept the door shut as I knew not to open it nor give it oxygen. It didn't die out however, but kept "sparking" orange sparks......then it continued to travel and change position. I still didn't realize the "COIL" was on fire.
I kept the oven door closed for 45 minutes after I had TURNED IT OFF.
I couldn't shut the back plug off as it is built in to the kitchen cabinets.
Top wall oven. This sparking and "fire" traveled in a "U" shape all around the coil.......I didn't know if I should call the fire department or would that be over reacting.........but then again, I didn't want my kitchen cabinets to burn........it seemed to be getting BRIGHTER.....*(the fire). I called my husband and he was going to come home; we were in the middle of a terrific hail storm......as soon as I went back into the kitchen, it had died out......took almost one hour to die out. I opened the oven door and the COIL WAS ALL CHEWED UP.......IT NOW LOOKS LIKE FABRIC??? The top broiler element is o.k. It really shook me up.......and I figured I'd get a new stainless steel GE wall oven.........but there were some measurement discrepancies on the new ones vs. my space when I called our appliance dealer............anyway, tomorrow morning they are replacing the coil with a $45 in stock coil.........says it is common. The service call is $61 and the installation fee is $30......but $136. is still better than $1,200 to $2,000. My question, was this the best way to go?? Or could it catch on fire again??????? We plan to sell the house in a year or two from now........or else I would have had the new wall oven put in. Also, why, when I shut the oven off immediately after noticing the first "spark" did it keep on growing in intensity (the fire). It looked like a "LAVA FLOW".....THAT'S THE ONLY WAY i CAN DESCRIBE IT.
carmel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-21-2009, 11:41 AM   #19
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 90
Default

SCARY oven fire! Why did it burn?


Any fire in the house is scary for me! I'm glad you were okay, Carmel. You had the good sense to know that your oven would contain the fire. I just didn't know if it would be contained if it kept burning...got scared!

My burned coil also looked all chewed up after it burned, just like yours, Carmel. And, same thing...keeping the oven door closed did not keep the coil fire from spreading, rising higher, and traveling along the coil, both directions. Maybe mine would have burned itself out like yours did, if I had allowed the entire coil to burn. Mine only instantly stopped burning when the electricity was cut off.

After watching the coil burn, knowing it was the 2nd coil that had burned in that oven in a fairly short amount of time, from the same spot, I simply could not bring myself to trust the oven again. Too much coincidence. Sent it to landfill...without even checking for any recalls. Put a note on it that this oven catches fire...beware...in case anyone decided to adopt it they'd be forewarned.

Lessons learned: NO MORE using the oven as a big space heater. No using flour to try to put out fire of any kind. Have extinguisher handy! Always have quick access to the electrical box in case you need to shut off power to something but can't access the outlet because it's built in! Oh, and call 911 earlier rather than later! And bake cookies for some firemen!


PS. Trivia on flour: Flour is good to keep on hand as an emergency treatment to stop bleeding for an injured bird. Birds don't cooagulate well, but a bit of flour is painless and helps to keep them from bleeding to death.
Beth777 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-21-2009, 08:19 PM   #20
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NW of D.C.
Posts: 5,990
Default

SCARY oven fire! Why did it burn?


The heating coil is supposed to be Nichrome wire surrounded by a ceramic insulator in an electrically grounded metal tube, so if this thing "burns" I'd have to say there was something flammable on it.

What color was the flame? If it was blue I'd call an Exorcist. I could maybe believe green and certainly yellow (meaning incomplete combustion).

This link shows a stove element temp. as greater than 550C
http://www.tcforensic.com.au/docs/article10.html
and gives some flame colors, but I don't understand what food residue would wait so long to catch fire.

I wouldn't be surprised if the stove element is still electrically "good."

"Statistics collected in Canada from 2002 to 2005 show that 38 per cent of the fires were attributed to cooking equipment, resulting in 430 fatalities and 4,600 injuries [out of ~30M people]. This clearly shows that the main ingredient in your kitchen is fire safety and prevention.

Tip #1 – Keep an eye on the oven and stove
When you’re cooking, never leave the kitchen and pay attention to what you have in the oven or on the stove.
Tip #2 – Where there’s no air, there’s no flame

If a fire occurs in the oven, leave the door closed and shut off the element."

Last edited by Yoyizit; 07-21-2009 at 08:43 PM.
Yoyizit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-21-2009, 08:47 PM   #21
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 90
Default

SCARY oven fire! Why did it burn?


But I can't verify the age now, as it's gone...

Yoyizit: Not blue! Not green either. Regular fire-colored flame.

I can't say what burned! Maybe it had some kind of invisible oil spilled on it! At the time, I would have guessed that it was burning from the inside of the coil rather than the other way around, but that was only a layperson's impression from somebody who doesn't know ovens, unfortunately. It would be nice to get to the bottom of what went wrong. Maybe the wrong size coil, or improperly made, or ?

Like I said, that was the first time I ever knew that an oven coil could catch fire and burn to black crumbles...I thought those things were supposed to be really heat-resistent! And it was instantaneous that the flame came to a complete halt as soon as the electricity was unplugged.

Wonder what kind of combustion that would have been?

So I live and learn....thankful to learn a little bit, and VERY thankful to live on to see another day, another year!
Beth777 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-21-2009, 08:52 PM   #22
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 90
Default

SCARY oven fire! Why did it burn?


Quote:
Originally Posted by jehiatt View Post
I have had many heating elements burn apart in the oven and on the stovetop. Usually that's all they did and I replaced them later. Flour? whoa!
When in trouble go pull the main breaker. It is a good idea to learn where and which one it is. I have never lived in a house that had the breakers correctly identified. The main breaker is up on top.
Just wondering, to what did you attribute your many heating elements catching fire?

Thanks for advice to use the main breaker for emergencies!!! And the heads-up that the breakers can be incorrectly identified. Ours were wrong here, just as you said.
Beth777 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-21-2009, 08:58 PM   #23
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NW of D.C.
Posts: 5,990
Default

SCARY oven fire! Why did it burn?


Fat burns at 250C so it can't be that.
Yoyizit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2009, 10:06 AM   #24
Newbie
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Ohio
Posts: 2
Default

SCARY oven fire! Why did it burn?


Last night I had a similar experience.

The oven was preheating, set at 300, during which time I was putting some leftover pizza on a tray to be reheated. Suddenly light shown through the oven window and there was a buzzing sound. My initial thought was that the light socket had a short as the oven light bulb has not worked for months - I keep forgetting to change the bulb.

When I opened the oven door, the lower heating element was sparking (arcing) looked like someone was welding - VERY BRIGHT WHITE. It was located where there was a metal support leg holding the element off of the bottom of the oven. I closed the oven door and turned the oven off, the arcing continued for a while, but less intense. Even after the arcing stopped (20 -30 seconds) the element continued glowing bright orange with occasional flare-ups.

Opening the door again only served to brighten the glow and occasionally reactivate arcing. I realized that opening the oven was increasing oxygen so this was not an unexpected effect. But it was a little puzzling because the electric source was disconnected, so why would the arcing start back up? Figuring the heat needed to be arrested (one leg of the fire triangle), and after a bit of internal deliberation finally decided to cautiously push a couple of ice cubes under the element with a wooden spoon. The glowing decreased and eventually stopped - but it was long after I unplugged the oven. By the time it stopped the glow had traveled approximately 4 or 5 inches along the heating coil.

All-in-all it was a pretty scary thing. My dilemma now is what caused it? And should I just replace the heating element or do I need to replace the entire stove? Since it appears that this type of element failure is more common than I would have thought, I'm thinking it's just the element that needs to be replaced and am assuming that the incident started as a result of thin or cracked ceramic insulator at the support leg.
rodelbirds is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2009, 07:36 AM   #25
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: phila.
Posts: 504
Default

SCARY oven fire! Why did it burn?


the heating unit has an electrical coil inside, the outer surface is an insulater. the coil developed a bad spot [usually at a turn] it then shorted through the insulator. why it continued to burn may be due to=flour,grease,etc, or, not all manf use a double line break to heating units[believe now is req'] so if this is the case here you still had one side of the line to heater hot and it was grounding through unit. sometimes when they go like this it pulls so much current it welds other contacts, so even though you turned off it was still electricaly hot...this is a common problem with calrod burners. if you ever see a hot spot devolping-turn off and replace element.
Jacques is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2009, 03:13 PM   #26
Newbie
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Ohio
Posts: 2
Default

SCARY oven fire! Why did it burn?


Thank you Jacques. I figured it had to be the heat remaining, power coming from the other line makes sense too - I hadn't thought of that. Although the heat build-up makes more sense since it continued to burn and spark even after I disconnected the stove from the power source. I replaced the element and it seems to be working fine.
Thanks again.
rodelbirds is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2009, 04:16 PM   #27
the Musigician
 
DangerMouse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: I'm right here!
Posts: 10,404
Default

SCARY oven fire! Why did it burn?


wow.... sure makes me glad i cook with gas!

DM
__________________
[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]Click here to see some of my original magic tricks and trick boxes!
DangerMouse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2009, 10:10 PM   #28
Newbie
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 1
Default

SCARY oven fire! Why did it burn?


I just got home from my parents' house after my dad asked me to help my mom shut off the breakers to the oven since it was 'arcing.' We called the Fire Department after we flipped all the breakers and power was still flowing to the oven. The firemen finally resorted to pulling the oven out and disconnecting it from the wall.

For those that have been saying there must have been something flammable on the element, there is, it's called metal. Practically nything is flammable at high enough temperatures. The element was burning white-hot as it worked its way around the oven and was launching orange and white sparks. The best way I can describe it would be like a fireworks sparkler.

From what I've read, the problem results from either an impurity or simply a breakdown of the materials in the heating element which can cause a hot spot to form. When the hot spot reaches a critical temperature, it begins a cascade effect that will work its way around the heating element. Shutting the oven door will quell any flames resulting from grease and foods on the element, but it will not quench the underlying cascade as it is fueling itself.

Once the element burns itself out or you shutoff the flow of electricity, it can be removed from the oven and the wires taped or capped off. The oven can then be used without the second element. You can also get a replacement and fix the oven.

I hope this helps someone else, or at least spreads the word about a seemingly common occurence.
Egghead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-18-2009, 05:50 PM   #29
Newbie
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 1
Default

SCARY oven fire! Why did it burn?


I have a bit of what may be a similar problem to the ones described in this thread and I was wondering if anyone could provide some guidance. I recently bought a house with an oven in it (I don't know the history) and I needed a new element for it. I put a brand new element in and it works great, but every time the door is opened there is little sparks that seem to come off the element, but if you wait a few seconds it stops. These aren't big arcs or anything, just a few little sparks like a birthday sparkler that last about a second or two. Close the door for a minute and try again and it does it. I don't know if it is directly related to this problem or just similar. Is this oven safe to use? It appears to work fine otherwise.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.
dresden is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-23-2009, 06:36 AM   #30
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: phila.
Posts: 504
Default

SCARY oven fire! Why did it burn?


that's a bizzare problem. you didn't say what brand nor give model/serial #, part #of new element. assuming it's a calrod type. it's normal to burn off anything that's on it when you first turn it on. but shouldn't spark everytime you open door. it almost sounds like some kind of electrical interference. does this oven have a window and can you look inside with door closed- is it arcing?? if no window, hold switch in with door open-still arcing?? bottom line-i would try another element or call a servicer---this doesn't sound good.

Jacques is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Insulation of interior walls around fire place ODD Calmeier Building & Construction 5 01-31-2010 05:59 PM
why wouldn't circuit breaker prevent fire? fauer Electrical 26 11-28-2008 08:38 PM
Oven - junction box in cabinet DIYGST Electrical 5 11-13-2008 03:23 PM
Fire in the oven sedona Appliances 3 10-02-2008 08:17 AM
Hard wired fire alarms keeping going off sdgoss Electrical 6 11-09-2005 08:57 PM




Top of Page | View New Posts

Copyright © 2003-2014 Escalate Media. All Rights Reserved.