Keep the Heat Where It Belongs
There is an adage that says most major appliances will probably need to be replaced around the 10–12 year mark. That's assuming you do any required maintenance and keep your appliance in good working order.
If you think it is not a financial ordeal to replace your washer/dryer/stove/dishwasher/refrigerator, then the next time you are at a home improvement big box store, saunter over to the appliance section; the price tags have changed significantly since you purchased your current model. Still, there is no getting around it; all of those appliances will have to be replaced eventually.
If you are a little light in the wallet or can't seem to pull the trigger on a major purchase, you have another option: extend the life of your appliance. While yours may not be broken, catching up on maintenance and replacing worn-out parts can possibly get you another decade out of it. Fortunately, there is much you can do yourself to help your appliance limp along as far as possible.
One of the easiest appliances to repair and maintain is your kitchen's range. There are few moving parts; many have no motor to burn out and are not that complicated. The downside to working on your range is that, unless you have been diligent, the inside might be kind of nasty. Hopefully, you are the kind of person that keeps your range spic and span.
One of the items that does eventually wear out is the seal around the oven door. It is much like a weather seal on your front door. Its main job is to keep heat escaping from the gap between the oven door and the main body of the oven. Keeping heat in means you can bake more evenly, and you won't waste energy replacing the heat that has escaped.
The seal on the oven door is simple: you close the door, and it flattens between the door and oven body. That seal is what keeps the oven hot and your kitchen cool. If your range is getting long in the tooth, then replacing that seal is one of the easiest DIY projects in your home. Replacing it will not only save energy but keep the inside of your oven at a more constant temperature and perhaps make shutting the oven door a little quieter. Here is the simple process for replacing it:
1. Prep the Oven
I cannot stress this enough. Your project will go much smoother (and be more pleasant) if your oven is clean. I highly recommend taking the opportunity to run the self-clean cycle if it has one, take off the stove burners and clean that entire burner under area; this may involve lifting the top lid on the stove like the hood of a car. Pull your range away from the wall and clean behind it. Trust me; it needs it.
Once the self-cleaning cycle is done, and the oven has cooled down, wipe it down until it is clean and sparkling. This might also be a good time to put a level on the top of your range and level it if needed.
Gather the only tool you will need: a pair of needle nose pliers.
2. Remove the Old Seal
The seal on the oven door will usually have some sort of fabric covering. It encircles the entire area where the door meets the oven.
Follow the seal around with your finger until you come to the part where both ends meet. Begin there and grip one end with the pliers and pull. Start gently and increase muscle power until the seal begins to pull away from the oven.
The seal is held against the oven body by little metal clips on the backside of the seal that pops into holes or slots evenly spaced around the oven body. If your seal is really old, you may have to yank a little harder. Don't worry about breaking it; it is headed for the trash anyway.
3. Clean the Seal Area
You already cleaned your stove, but there was no way to remove the grit and grime that has worked its way under the seal. Using your cleaner of choice, clean the seal area and wait for it to dry.
4. Install the New Seal
Open the new seal. Many ranges require a specific seal, or you can always try a much less expensive universal seal. If it is too long, you can trim it without issue. Too short, and you are going to have to get a new, proper-sized seal.
Begin at the area where the old seal joined ends. With the clip side of the seal facing the oven. Push the first clip into the hole/slot on the oven body. The clips should go in with a firm push of a finger, but keep something like a flathead screwdriver around just in case it needs a little help.
Continue to hold the first few clips in with one hand while inserting the remaining clips with the other. The weight of the dangling seal will pull the clips out until you get about a quarter of the way finished.
Ideally, the ends should meet up perfectly after you have clipped in the seal completely around the oven. If it is too long, cut the extra part off with scissors after the last clip, leaving enough so that the ends match up and there is no gap between ends.
5. Test the Fit
Open and close the oven door numerous times to help the seal conform to its new shape. It will likely feel a little different from your old door since the cushioning effect is new.
After you have the feel of it, close the door and bring the oven up to baking temperature. Hold your hand close, without touching, to the area where the door meets the oven. Feel if there is any heat escaping. Likely, there won't be. If there is, remove and reseat the seal until it keeps the heat in. Toss the old seal in the trash.
Live Long and Prosper
Replacing the seal on your oven door just helped breathe new life into your old range. While there may be other issues to address, a new seal will help keep your old oven friend in the kitchen a few years longer and a major charge off of your credit card.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.