Your electric stove is an important part of your kitchen, and you rely on it to be available whenever you need to prepare a meal. Electric stoves are generally quite safe, but user error and malfunctions of the appliance can cause dangerous scenarios. With proper care and maintenance, these are usually avoidable, allowing you to maximize the use of your stove.
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User Error Hazards
Some electric stoves have burner coils that heat up and allow you to cook your food. These coils typically have an end and a beginning, so it's possible to snag the edge of an article of clothing on the end of a coil. Avoid loose-fitting clothing near your stove.
Other stoves have flat surfaces, like many modern glass-top stoves. While these are very popular for their convenience, they do pose some hazards. Since the entire surface of the stove is level, it is very easy to forget which burner is on and accidentally touch a hot area of the stove. This can lead to severe burns.
Another problem caused by flat-top stoves occurs when a user sets things on the stove, like plates to serve a meal or a dishcloth that they were using. If a burner is on, even inadvertently, this could be a fire hazard. To avoid this problem, don't set anything on your stove top except for pots and pans that are being used to cook a meal.
Electric Stove Malfunction Hazards
Other stove safety rules involve the appliance itself. Over time, all appliances, like electric stoves and induction stoves, can experience downtime and malfunctioning. Knowing how to properly repair the stove can mean the difference between a fire or other hazard and a restored appliance.
Check the cord of your stove from time to time to be sure that it is intact and not fraying. In addition, take a look behind the oven or at the base of the stove top to be sure debris and dust have not built up. If they have, clean it out to allow proper ventilation and avoid a fire hazard.
If you notice that your electric stove is not working as it once did, do not continue using it. Unplug the unit and turn power off at the circuit breaker. Contact a certified repair technician for assistance and wait to resume use of the appliance until it is fixed.
Other Electric Stove Hazards
There have been instances of electric stoves spontaneously turning on. This is a major fire hazard, particularly if you are not at home. This issue underscores the importance of keeping your stove top clean and clear and regularly checking in on the appliance to be sure it works properly. If you notice the stove turning on by itself, do not use it until it has been repaired.
It is also possible that the heat on an electric stove could be turned on higher than you meant if the knob or other temperature controls are malfunctioning. This could cause a fire. It can be difficult to know whether this is occurring, though some stoves have error codes that will alert you to overheating. Familiarize yourself with the alerts specific to your appliance to prepare for such an error, should one occur.
According to Wallflower, the National Fire Protection Association explains that electric stoves have 2.5 times the risk of starting a fire as gas stoves. These statistics suggest that extra caution is necessary with any stove.