Having an oven that takes a long time to preheat and gives off a gas smell can be frustrating and concerning. A properly functioning oven should only take 15-20 minutes to fully preheat to the set temperature. If yours is taking significantly longer and emitting an odd gas odor in the process, there likely an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the common causes and solutions for an oven that heats up slowly and smells like gas during preheating.
Check Your Oven Temperature Settings
One of the simplest explanations could be that your oven temperature settings are inaccurate. Ovens have a thermostat that monitors the internal temp and triggers the heating elements to kick on and off accordingly during preheating. If this thermostat is off, it will make the oven think it has reached the target temp before it actually has.
You can test the accuracy of your oven by placing an internal thermometer inside and comparing it to the setting you have chosen. If the oven shuts off the heating elements before the thermometer shows it’s fully preheated, then you likely need to have your thermostat recalibrated. Instructions for doing this can typically be found in your owner’s manual.
Clean Out Debris and Gunk
A build-up of debris, food remnants, grease and gunk on the bottom of your oven can affect heating efficiency. As debris accumulates over time, it forms an insulating layer that prevents heat from properly circulating throughout the oven compartment during the warm-up phase.
Try thoroughly cleaning out the inside of your oven, especially under the heating elements where grime tends to collect heavily. Eliminating debris allows hot air to move freely again, which translates to faster preheat times.
Inspect Your Igniter and Heating Elements
The igniter and heating elements in your oven have to work properly for it to heat up in a reasonable timeframe. The igniter is responsible for lighting the gas burners, while the heating elements produce the heat that gets dispersed throughout the oven.
Issues like broken igniter components, damaged heating coils and worn-out wiring can all undermine heat efficiency. Visually check both areas for abnormalities, and don’t hesitate to bring in an appliance repair technician if anything looks faulty. Getting these critical oven components fixed or replaced is important for both performance and safety reasons.
Address Gas Leaks
If your oven has a strong unexplained gas smell during preheating, this likely indicates leakage from the gas line or components. Gas leaks can significantly slow oven heating while also posing major safety risks if left unaddressed. Never ignore strong gas odors from your appliance!
Start by checking all fittings, valves and tubing along the gas line for deterioration and loose connections. Use a solution of soapy water to brush these areas—bubbles will emerge at specific leak points. If the source isn’t obvious or you find severe leaks, shut off gas to the oven and call in a certified gas appliance repair person immediately. They can fully inspect for issues and make needed fixes to stop leaks.
You may also want to invest in an inexpensive gas leak detector for ongoing peace of mind about the safety of your oven.
Adjust Your Broiler Settings
Many modern ovens have a broiler setting designed to produce intense top-down heat for things like browning, searing, melting and crisping. If your oven’s default broiler option is on, this can interfere with regular baking and cause excessively long preheating times.
Check your owner’s manual for instructions on how to deactivate the broiler function on your specific model. Once switched off, you should notice more efficient heating during normal baking preheat cycles. Just remember to toggle it back on when you need intense direct overhead heat for broiling tasks.
Replace Your Oven’s Door Gasket
An oven door gasket is a strip of high-temperature resistant material that seals the gap between the oven door edges and compartment. It prevents valuable hot air from escaping during preheating and cooking. If the gasket has become brittle, warped or detached over years of use, it can undermine your oven’s heating capabilities by allowing heat to leak out.
Carefully inspect your oven door gasket for any signs of degradation or loosening. A tight seal all the way around is essential for oven performance and efficiency. Make replacing the gasket a priority if you notice gaps, cracks or missing pieces.
An oven that preheats far slower than it used to coupled with an unusual gas smell can be inconvenient at best and hazardous at worst. The good news is that most causes—from inaccurate thermostats to leaky door seals—are fixable with close inspection, thorough cleaning or replacement of degraded parts.
However, if your diagnosis attempts all come up short, it may be time to discuss oven replacement options with an appliance specialist. A new, modern oven will heat up quickly, maintain an even temperature and operate much more efficiently overall.
Hopefully the guidance provided above helps you get your oven’s long preheating time and gas odor issues under control. Let us know in the comments if you have any related experiences or extra troubleshooting tips to share!