Let’s start by pointing out the obvious: oven doors are not supposed to explode. They’re supposed to keep hot air in while letting us view the food cooking inside. Yet hundreds of customers with Kenmore ovens have reported shattered doors to retailer Sears, and Sears and the Consumer Products Safety Commission have reacted with a collective shrug. Past one year, issues like this are officially the customer’s problem.
WPLG in Miami began looking into the doors when a viewer complained about the issue to their consumer problem-solving reporter. While the good thing about tempered glass is that broken items break into many small, rounder pieces instead of jagged shards, she has still been finding pieces of glass in the kitchen since the explosion incident.
Her research turned up hundreds of other customers in the last few years who have had similar problems with their ovens, mainly Kenmore models with model numbers starting with 790. The Safety Institute, a watchdog group, asked the CPSC to look into the reports.
Sears, owner of the Kenmore brand, counters that sudden breakage like this can happen due to mistreatment of the door or other accidental causes. In a statement to the TV station, Sears explained:
Breakage beyond the first year following purchase is most likely due to damage caused to the glass during use. Damage to the glass can be caused by a number of things including using the door to push in an oven rack or an object striking the glass-both examples may cause a weakness and lead to failure over time.
In addition, the company called the station’s attention to the door-specific instructions in the manual of affected models:
Read the following recommendations:
1. Do not close the oven door until all the oven racks are fully in place.
2. Do not hit the glass with pots, pans, or any other object.
3. Scratching, hitting, jarring or stressing the glass may weaken its structure causing an increased risk of breakage at a later time.