Typically your oven is the source of a pleasant smell. When baking a cake, a sheet of cookies or roasting a chicken, it can be an aroma that is so good that it makes your mouth water and your stomach growl. But if your oven is emitting an odor you can only characterize as "weird," you will want to find out why. Depending on the particular smell, you may have one of a variety of issues that is turning your kitchen and home into a stinky place.
Natural gas and propane are virtually odorless, but the gas companies add a safety chemical into the gas to make it smell very strong. Many people compare this odor to that of rotten eggs. The obvious smell is meant to warn people of gas leaks. If you smell this gas odor, it can be dangerous because of a potential explosion or inhalation hazards. Shut off the gas to the appliance immediately, and call your gas company to send someone out for repairs as soon as possible. Open windows and leave the home, allowing the house to completely air out before going back inside.
The smell of burning plastic is often recognized as an "electrical smell" and can be the result of electrical problems inside your oven. Many ovens rely on electrical components to create the heat for cooking. If the wiring is bad or shorts out, it can melt the insulation on the wires or cause the burning of other components, which is the source of the electrical smell coming from the oven and indicates a serious problem that could result in a fire if it is not repaired. Turn off the oven, and hire an electrician or qualified appliance repairman to take a look.
Sometimes the weird smell coming from your oven is your own fault. When you put food into the oven and take it out, you may not be careful enough to keep from spilling bits of food or grease into the oven. When this happens, you may not realize it at first, but the next time the oven comes up to temperature, and each time after until the spill is removed, the stray food and grease can begin to burn and cause terrible odors and smoke that could stink up the place. The best cure for this problem is a thorough cleaning of the oven once it cools down.
Many ovens have a very handy feature called self-cleaning. The feature makes buying oven cleaners for manual scrubbing of the oven unnecessary. The oven door locks during this process, and the appliance heats up to an internal temperature that may be 500 degrees Fahrenheit or much higher. The heat burns any remnants of food inside the oven and turns it to ash, making it easy to wipe away with a cloth. This is a good way to clean an oven, but the method is accompanied by a foul smell because of the burning food inside. The dirtier your oven is, the more it will smell.
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