Can Electric Stoves Explode?


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Cooking disasters happen to everyone, but when items start exploding, the experience can become traumatic. While kitchen explosions are rare, they are possible. If you do experience an explosion from your electric stove, know you are not alone. 

Electric stoves can explode if the coil range element on your stove becomes loose and develops broken wires, develops a damaged element socket or coil, or may just be defective. The result can be as small as a spark or as big as an explosion. 

Read on to learn what to do if your electric stove explodes, signs to watch out for, and how to fix your stovetop if it becomes damaged.

Can electric stoves explode?

How Common Is It for a Stove to Explode?

Fortunately, it is not very common for a stove to explode. There have been no studies done on the number of electric stoves that have exploded. While this makes the issue harder to investigate, it also means the issue has not caused enough concern to warrant a study. 

However, there are studies on injuries caused by stoves. A study done by The American Journal of Emergency Medicine shows that over 43,000 people injure themselves annually with stove related accidents. However, about 51 percent of the injuries were burns. 

A stove explosion could cause serious injury. This study shows that most stove related accidents are burnt hands from touching a hot stovetop. 

Types of Electric Stove Tops and How They Work

  • Coil Burners – These are the type of burners you typically see on older stoves. They consist of a cast-iron cylindrical coil. The burners are most likely to result in sparking or explosions. 
  • Glass Cooktop – Glass cooktops use a thin ribbon element embedded into an insulating material and installed under a ceramic glass surface. You often see this cooktop on newer appliances. It is beneficial because it is often easier to clean. 

How to Electric Stoves Work? 

Electric cooktops use a wire covered by a coil. Electricity runs through the wire heating up the stovetop. Glass cooktops use an internal coil to heat the surface. Typically electric cooktops turn bright orange or red when on so you know they are hot. 

Pros and Cons of Electric Stoves

Pros of Electric Stoves: 

  • Your kitchen can stay cooler compared to using a gas stove. 
  • Glass cooktops provide easier cleaning. 
  • The flatter surface provides more stability for pots and pans. 

Cons of Electric Stoves: 

  • They cook food slower. 
  • They use about three times more energy than gas. 
  • No power, no stove.

What Can Cause an Explosion?

  • Loose or Broken Wires – Wires connect the coil range element to your stove. When these wires become loose, sparks can result. The big sparks can cause an explosion. Loose wires can result from general wear and tear on the stove. Make sure to avoid using heavy pots or big pans on small burners. 
  • Damaged Element Socket -The socket of the coil range element might become damaged. While this can result in a spark or explosion, it is a relatively easy fix. Replace the socket, and you’re good to go. 
  • Defective Cooktop –  If the wires and element socket seem to be working correctly, the stovetop might be defective. In this case, you will need to replace the cooktop. 
  • Damaged Coils – The coils on your burner may wear out and need replacing. If your coils develop bubbles or cracks, the damaged cast iron may lead to sparking. 

Signs to Watch Out For?

  • Sparking – If you ever notice your stovetop start to spark, turn off the burner immediately. These sparks could be the first sign that something on your stovetop needs replacing. 
  • Wear and Tear – It is smart to inspect your stovetop frequently for damage. The best time to do this is when you are cleaning. 

How Much Damage Can a Stove Explosion Cause?

It depends. If you catch the problem early, you may only experience small sparks. However, in a severe case, the surface coil element may cause an actual explosion damaging the stove, your cookware, and causing injury. 

Here is an example of what it looks like when the surface coil element explodes: 

What You Should Do if Your Stove Explodes?

  • Seek Medical Help if You Are Injured – First and foremost, you should make sure you are not injured or seek help if you are. The next immediate step would be to make sure the burner is turned off to prevent further harm. You can also disconnect the stove from its main power source or turn off the breaker. It is also smart to keep a fire extinguisher handy just if the stove starts to spark again. 
  • Do Not Use Your Stove Again Until It Is Fixed – If you are not an electrician, you should hire a professional to fix the issue. Sparks or explosions from your stove can be very dangerous, and it is important to fix the trouble, so it does not occur again. 

How to Fix Your Electric Cooktop

  • Disconnect the Stove – Before doing anything, you are going to want to disconnect the stove from its main power source. This will ensure you can safely repair the damage. 
  • Find What Is Broken – You can not fix your stovetop until you know which element is broken. It is important to figure out which piece of equipment malfunctioned to prevent future issues.
  • Replace the Coil Range ElementYou may need to replace the whole coil range element. You can buy a replacement S-Union 4 Pack MP22YA Electric Range Burner Element Unit Set on Amazon for $35. 
S-Union 4 Pack MP22YA Electric Range Burner Element Unit Set - 2 pcs MP15YA 6

Here is a tutorial on how to replace the coil range element: 

Three possibilities that could be causing your problems: 

  • The Switch – If the switch is not closing, it will not allow heat to flow to the burner element. 
  • The Burner – Electricity flows through the burner from the switch. 
  • The Circuit – This measures the level of energy needed to heat the burner properly. 

Some wires connect all these elements that should be inspected as well. Faulty wires may be causing the burner to spark or explode. 

Here is a video detailing how to troubleshoot and fix your electric stove:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndQU7RtqfRw 

You can test elements of the stovetop to figure out what part is broken. Here is a video explaining how to conduct a coil element test: 

Conclusion

Electric stoves can explode. However, this is an uncommon occurrence. With general maintenance, you should be able to prevent an explosion in your kitchen. 

Prevent a stovetop explosion by: 

  • Checking for loose or broken wires. 
  • Avoiding the use of heavy pots or pans on small burners. 
  • Checking for damaged coils. 
  • Carefully monitoring your stove for signs of problems like sparks. 
  • Perform maintenance on old or over-used appliances. 

If you do experience a spark or explosion: 

  • Turn the burner off and unplug the stove. 
  • Check all elements of the electric stovetop for problems. 
  • Call an electrician or fix the issue yourself. 
  • Once repairs are complete, monitor for any further issues while enjoying your electric stovetop. 

While exploding electric stoves are rare, they are possible. It is important to take preventative measures like maintenance to prevent an explosion and cause harm. While you might think you are an expert after reading this post, we always recommend consulting someone with experience to ensure your safety.

Chris Hewitt

Chris is a Texas-based freelance writer who loves the outdoors and working in his garage. When he's not enjoying the Texas sun, he can be found tinkering with all sorts of things in his workshop.

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