Can Leaving the Oven on Cause a Fire in Your House or Office?

When it comes to slow roasting, stewing, baking, or even getting the thanksgiving turkey well done, nothing can compare to the oven.

It is one of the quintessential things of having a perfect kitchen. You don’t know when you might crave a chocolate chip cookie. And the oven makes it perfect every time.

Can Leaving the Oven on Cause a Fire

But when it comes to cooking your food nice and slow, with a crispy crust, you might need to keep the oven on for a very long time. The question arises, can leaving the oven on cause a fire?

Well, to answer that, we have to go through a few things. Let’s dive into it, shall we?

Can Leaving the Oven on Cause a Fire

More often house fires are caused by the oven. Why? Because it caught fire after leaving it on for a very long time and the dirt and grease helped ignite it. But what if you leave the oven on with nothing in it? There are many ways that it can be kept on and won’t catch fire. Here are the scenarios that will help you understand more about keeping your oven on for a long time. 

How Long Can You Leave the Oven on Unattended

Ovens are made to slow cook your dish. You just can’t rush it. Slow cooking makes the food cook thoroughly. Making it juicy, succulent, and tender. 

This mainly works for bigger pieces of meat, brisket, the big Thanksgiving turkey, or a slow roast. All of these foods need to be cooked in low heat for a long time. 

Modern ovens, gas or electric, have timers on them. You can set it to turn off to your preference. Normally the oven will turn off after 12 hours by itself. 

But if you leave something inside the oven, you are giving it a little bit of fuel to ignite. No matter the size of the food, it will eventually catch fire. So leaving something in the oven unattended is not a good idea. 

If there is nothing in the oven, you can leave it on for a very long time. But the oven door should be closed shut. Otherwise, the heat will lurk out and anything that is surrounding the ovens area might catch on fire. Which will eventually lead to a house fire. 

Can You Use a Gas or Electric Oven to Warm Your House

 Both electric and gas ovens are meant to be used with their doors closed. While the gas oven emits carbon monoxide, it is not a good solution to warm your house with it. 

Electric ovens, on the other hand, don’t emit carbon monoxide. But that doesn’t mean you can leave the door open. Leaving the door open of an electric oven also does the same thing as a gas oven.

Both the ovens will create enough heat to ignite a fire in their surroundings. And if there is grease and dirt in the oven, it is a bonus for the fire. 

According to the National Fire Protection Association, ovens are on the number one list of causing house fires. So no matter what kind of oven you use, it is not suggested to use it to warm up your house. Especially leaving the door open will cause a fire more often than leaving the door shut. 

Can an Oven Turn Off by Itself After Cooking

From the mid-1900s, ovens came out of the factory with an auto-turn-off feature. It is set to a 12-hour time limit for an oven to function.

Also, you can set your own timer to shut it off when you want it to. It is one of the best features to have in an oven. 

Especially when you are slow-cooking or roasting something. You can go worry-free and set a timer and the oven will shut down and keep the food warm. 

But leaving your house with the oven turned on and food inside it is a hazard. The grease from the food might ignite the fire and will eventually bring down the house. 

If you are cooking at a very low temperature, like 250 degrees, the oven won’t be on fire. And if you are around it, it is perfectly fine. Although ovens turn off by themselves after 12 hours, at a low temperature they can go on for days. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can an oven cause a house fire?

Most house fires are caused by either the heaters or the ovens. Specially ovens unattended and the door left open. If you are using your oven to warm up your house in the winter, it is not a good idea. The cribs, grease, and dirt in the oven can ignite a fire that will start to spread like wildfire in your house. So better keep it shut when the oven is on and not use it as a house warmer. 

Is it OK to leave the oven on when not home?

No. An unattended oven is a hazard. Though it seems a good idea to leave the oven on cooking your food, it is a fire hazard. You don’t know when the grease will catch on fire. And if you are not around to check on it, it might explode and burn the whole house down. This is especially true for gas ovens. Electric ovens are a bit safer than gas ovens as they have a lot of functions for precautions. 

Can you leave your oven on if you are at home?

If you are slow-cooking something at a 250 degree Fahrenheit temperature, and you are around, you can keep your oven on. In low temperatures, there is very little chance of catching fire. And an oven can be kept on for over 12 hours at this temperature. It is perfectly safe. 


Ovens are the best thing that ever happened. Maintaining it and using it carefully will give you the right outcome. In no circumstances an oven should be used as a room heater. Not only they are hazardous to your health, but also your life. It is meant for cooking behind closed doors and should be used so. Also, clean them often. Because the grease and crumbs work as an igniter which will cause a fire even if your oven is not on for a long time. 

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