The oven’s glass door offers more than a view of your food being cooked; it also acts as an insulated barrier against you and the heat.
So, can you use your oven if the glass is broken? While the answer is a little complicated, we recommend not using your oven due to its compromised functioning and safety mechanisms.
That said, we have your back and the answer (including everything else you need to know) to all your doubts about using your oven if the glass is broken or cracked. So, keep reading!
To know if it is safe to use your oven despite it being cracked or broken, you need to consider the following –
- Type of damage (what is damaged?)
- Level or extent of damage (how much is it damaged?)
- The health of other components of your oven (will other elements be affected?)
Glass panes – inner glass and outer glass
Ovens use tempered glass instead of standard glass. Tempered glass is much stronger and can withstand high heat without allowing it to escape. While the older ovens come with two glass panes, the newer models have up to four. So, when breakage occurs, all layers of your oven are not impacted.
However, we are concerned with two glass layers – the inner glass and the outer glass of your oven. Both these glasses can shatter independently.
The outer glass
The outer glass is for looking at your food while it is being cooked. So, if your outer glass is broken independently, you can still use your oven temporarily, provided the damage is not severe and the glass shards do not pose a risk of hurting you.
The inner glass
The inner glass plays a more vital role in your oven’s functioning by creating a thermal barrier. So, if it is the inner glass that is broken, do not use your oven to avoid these things –
- Glass shards ending up in your food
- Injuring yourself while using the oven
- Damaging the other elements of the oven
The heat test
To test the extent of damage, do a heat test. Heat your oven to a temperature of 350°F.
Irrespective of which glass is cracked, feel the outer glass; if the outer glass is unbearably hot, you need to replace the glass before you use your oven. However, if the outer glass is tolerably warm, you can use your oven temporarily before replacing the glass.
Author’s note – in the latter case, do the heat test every time before use.
What causes the oven glass to break?
There can be numerous reasons behind your oven’s glass breaking (trust us, it happens more than you’d think). That said, all reasons revolve around the same thing – compromised glass integrity that worsens due to the stress caused by heat exposure.
Wear and tear
Since your oven’s glass is constantly subjected to heating and cooling, the glass weakens over time and eventually might crack or break.
Something hitting the glass.
Tiny cracks develop when something inside the oven (such as a pan) hits the glass.
These cracks eventually give out (because of the weakening caused by the continual heating and cooling process) and cause the glass to crack. This process can take a while, perhaps, even years.
If you use abrasive cleaners, stop. Even though they are portrayed as a miracle, the paste in these abrasive cleaners has small abrasions that cause small cracks in your oven’s glass. These cracks eventually expand and weaken and cause the glass to break due to extreme heat and cold exposure.
Author’s note – instead of using abrasive cleaners or oven cleaning accessories in general, use a hot, wet cloth to wipe any spillage after the oven cools off.
Reasons to avoid using your oven if the glass is broken
As we said before, we do not recommend the usage of your oven if the glass is broken. But don’t worry; we come bearing reason (multiple reasons, in fact).
Unwanted heat exposure due to your oven’s broken glass is perhaps the most important reason. This phenomenon has the power to start a chain reaction, wherein a spark can lead to a fire if the heat reaches flammable items.
In this case, things will spiral out of control, and the fire can spread throughout the kitchen.
Damaging the outer glass
Since the inner glass acts as the thermal barrier, when that heat barrier is damaged, there is no protection for the outer glass (which is more of a looking glass than a thermal barrier).
So, when the heat builds up, it spreads to the outer glass because the inner glass can no longer contain it. Therefore, the damage spreads from the inner glass to the outer glass. This exposure to heat leads to the weakening of the outer glass, which will eventually cause it to break.
Moreover, your food will take longer to cook because the inner glass will not contain the heat in the oven. An easier way would be to fix your oven’s inner glass as soon as you find the cracks to avoid replacing both glasses.
Weakening the other components
This point is along the same lines as the last point. When your oven’s inner glass is broken, all the heat load it handles gets transferred to the other elements of your oven.
While you may assume that the oven is still functioning normally, the other components get increasingly weakened and susceptible to breaking down due to a lack of heat retention.
How can you prevent glass breakage?
The most vital thing you need to do is check your oven’s glass every time before use, so you can locate the damage (if any) before it gets out of hand and affects the other elements of your oven.
Moreover, a little caution does not hurt. So, ensure that you use the oven with care and do the following –
- Only put utensils that fit the oven without touching the sides (for instance, no spoons).
- Solely use oven-safe utensils (to avoid damaging the oven’s functioning).
- Avoid using abrasive cleaners and only use oven-friendly cleaners (such as a hot, wet cloth).
- Do not use the oven door to push utensils inside the oven (since the glass will get scratched).
- Also, avoid slamming the oven door.
Repairing your oven’s glass panel
This part is the one that will cost you money. If you have no experience fixing appliances, we suggest calling a professional.
Replacing your glass panel is a good option, not just in case of broken glass but also if your glass is permanently dirty. That said, ensure that you only use tempered glass as the replacement.
If you are confident about fixing your oven’s glass yourself, you will need the following to replace the glass panel –
- A new glass pane that is cut to size
- Adhesive or a high-temperature silicone sealant
- Screws and a screwdriver.
The first step is putting your safety first. So, switch off your oven (even though you are not working with wires) for minimal risk. Allow your oven to cool completely by leaving the oven door open for an hour.
Moreover, wear work gloves and shoes to avoid getting injured by broken glass.
The replacement process is easier if you can remove your oven door completely. However, if your oven’s model does not allow it or if you are working alone, you can skip this step.
- Grab your screwdriver and remove all the screws securing the glass pane and holding it in place.
- Remove the broken glass carefully.
- Clean the surrounding panels or the glass retainer frame.
- Use a generous amount of adhesive or sealant while applying it to the back of your new glass.
- Place the new glass in position and screw it to the retainer frame or the surrounding panel to secure it.
- If you use sealant, allow it to be fully set by waiting for a day (24 hours) before using your oven.
1. What is the function of the glass on the oven door?
While the oven glass ensures safety and offers a clear view inside the oven, the more important role of the glass is that it acts as a thermal barrier that withstands, retains, and controls the heat inside the oven to allow food to cook.
2. What glass is used in an oven?
Ovens use tempered glass (instead of standard glass) because it is four times stronger and more heat-resistant than standard glass and is safer (since it does not break into sharp glass pieces).
3. Why did my oven glass shatter?
While it may appear that your oven glass shattered spontaneously, the actual reason behind this is the emergence of tiny cracks on the glass that eventually expanded and gave out due to the constant heating and cooling of the oven.
What have we learned? While you can use your oven if the glass is shattered, you shouldn’t (especially if the inner glass is broken). It is important to put safety first and avoid using your oven until the glass is repaired to prevent injuring yourself, damaging your oven, or starting a kitchen fire.
We leave you with one motto with regard to broken oven glass, “Replace it before it blows up in your face.”