Homeowner Helpers: Replacing your oven door gasket is an easy DIY

If you’re about to cook a big turkey dinner for Thanksgiving, this is likely the best time to check your oven door gasket to make sure it doesn’t need replacing.

The gasket is there to make sure your oven door seals properly so that your oven operates as efficiently as possible.

A worn-out gasket could mean an oven that has to work harder to heat to the set temperature or that takes longer to cook your food. Extra cooking time might not be a big deal for a batch of cookies that bakes in 15 minutes, but think about how that would be compounded for a slow-cook turkey — your serving time could be seriously delayed.

When to replace

How do you know if your oven door gasket needs replacing? If you’re experiencing the following issues:

  • Your oven won’t heat to the right temperature;
  • Food is cooking unevenly;
  • Food is taking longer than it should to cook…

then a worn-out gasket is likely the culprit and a visual check will probably confirm it. If the gasket is cracked, torn, looks worn or is frayed, it should be replaced.

You can also tell that your oven has a poor seal if you can feel an unexpected amount of heat escaping from around the door.

Where is the gasket?

For most stoves, the gasket is located in a channel either along the frame of the oven, as shown by the red arrow above, or on the door itself, as shown by the black arrow. Typically, it will be either a braided fibreglass or rubber. These types of gaskets, in these locations, are easy to replace if you follow a few simple steps.

Some ovens, however, have a door that is divided into two sections with the gasket installed in between the back and front panels of the oven door. If you have this type of oven, it’s best to call in a professional to change the gasket for you.

How to replace the gasket
  1. Check your owner’s manual for the correct replacement gasket. Most home improvement stores will carry them or see if you can buy it online from the manufacturer.
  2. You will need:
    * needle-nose pliers
    * non-abrasive cleaner such as mild dish soap & a cloth
    * possibly a screwdriver
  3. Make sure the oven is cool. If you have an electric stove, unplug it or shut off the breaker. If you have a gas stove, shut off the gas valve.
  4. The old hose is most likely affixed either with pins or clips that fit into small holes around the gasket, screws, or is simply form-fitted into the channel. The ends may be fed through a slightly larger hole or may be fastened with metal plates that need unscrewing. The ends are a good place to start and the gasket should detach fairly easily. If not, carefully wedge the pliers or screwdriver underneath to gently coax it out. If you break any pins or clips while removing, use the pliers to pull them out.
  5. Once the old gasket is removed, clean out any grease or food residue in and around the channel. Make sure the area is completely dry before installing the new gasket.
  6. To install the new gasket, if it is held by pins or clips, start at one end with the first pin hole and work your way around. If the gasket is form-fitted, fold the gasket in half to find the middle, place that in the centre at the top of the frame and work your way around the corners, pressing the gasket into the channel. For the ends, use the pliers to tuck them into the larger holes or to push the two ends together or screw on the metal plates.
  7. You can then plug the stove back in or turn the gas back on.

You may notice that the new gasket keeps the door from shutting properly at first. The gasket will become more flexible with use and you may find it helpful to lock the oven door shut overnight to encourage a better fit.

A word of caution regarding gas stoves: If at any time you smell gas, leave the house immediately, without turning anything off or on, including flashlights. Do not re-enter your home until you are given clearance by emergency workers.

Here’s a video showing how a gasket is replaced:

Originally published Sept. 17, 2018

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