Leaving An Oven On Overnight – What You Need To Know

There are many times that we need to cook something for a long period of time, mostly meats and large birds such a turkeys, but as they take so long by the time it comes to eat it it may be a bit too late in the day. So a great way of getting around this is to cook the food overnight or atleast from early morning.

Leaving an oven on overnight is usually safe especially if you are cooking something such as meats in a dish. You want to make sure the temperature is on low as to minimise risk and if you can check on the item every few hours. Not all foods can be left to cook overnight.

In this article, I am going to talk about if it is safe to leave an oven on overnight, what you should know before doing so and what foods are best for cooking overnight.

Is It Safe To Leave My Oven On Overnight?

In certain cases, it is safe to leave your oven on overnight, as many people do this to slow cook pork, brisket, and other large meats that need to cook low and slow. Cooking something overnight is usually safe because you are cooking it on very low heat. Even if it is on a higher temperature it is usually safe to cook food overnight in the oven. 

This is not much different than cooking a Thanksgiving turkey all day, yet some individuals get wary of having the oven on all night while they are sleeping. This is because electrical failures could occur, and the chances are you may not deal with a malfunction until it is too late. Food could also possibly catch on fire if left unattended. 

According to the National Fire Protection Association, an unsupervised oven is on top of the list of the most common preventable causes of fire hazards in a home: 

  1. Cooking
  2. Children playing with fire
  3. Smoking
  4. Heating
  5. Electrical
  6. Candles
  7. A fireplace
  8. Dryers
  9. Flammable products in garages
  10. Christmas trees

As seen from the list above, cooking is a large cause of accidental fires and has led to an enormous 40 percent of house fires. The NFPA recommends never leaving a stove unattended, keeping a three-foot barrier between you and the hot stove, and keeping a fire extinguisher handy. Does this mean you cannot keep your oven on at night? 

If you are going to leave an oven on overnight, an electric oven is safer than gas because it is powered by electricity and, as such, does not emit carbon monoxide. Gas ovens should never be left on overnight and should definitely not be used to heat your home. Instead of heat, you will put yourself at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. 

Will My Oven Set On Fire If I Leave It On Overnight?

This is a common question in that, if a fire should occur in the oven overnight, the chance of putting it out right away is slim to none. If there is something that is flammable or easy to ignite, such as grease or crumbs of leftover food, a fire could start if the items ignite. Grease in particular is highly flammable and, if left unattended, can spark flames. 

Luckily, stoves today are tested constantly to make sure that the temperature of the stove remains at a certain level and does not continue to increase with time. This testing includes all stoves – electric and gas – so that they are safe if left on for a long time. However, it is not the stove that catches fire, but the food or grease left in or on top. 

Fires could also start if the oven door is left open and the oven is left on overnight. Electric ovens may catch on fire from broken wires or an electric surge, and if the door is left open the fire could melt the oven knobs and spread at an alarming rate. Those incidents, however, are probably rare when it comes to leaving an electric stove on. 

Some people have left the oven on and the door open to create more warmth in the downstairs area, but this is something that should be avoided. If anything is lying near or around the oven, the heat could catch the debris on fire. You should not leave your oven on overnight with the door open for heat, as this is when fire could occur.

Will My Oven Turn Off Automatically?

Some oven manufacturers have been including an automatic shut off feature within the ovens for decades. You can check this easily by reviewing the oven’s manual or checking the manufacturer’s Web site and looking up your oven’s model number. If you find that your oven has this feature, it should also tell you the turnoff time of the oven. 

Most ovens with automatically turnoff capabilities were incorporated in the mid-1990s in both electric and gas ovens. Some of these features have a timer that lets you set how many minutes you want your oven left to cook your food. Once the oven automatically turns off, it may require that you manually turn it back on to work. 

Most ovens and ranges today will automatically shut off after twelve hours, giving you peace of mind that your family is safe and your energy bills do not skyrocket by leaving the oven on for a full day. However, oven models that do not have a clock or timer (this is rare, but may still occur), will not have the ability to have an automatic shutdown. 

There are also devices sold on the market today that can be used to automatically turn off your oven if you are worried about cooking foods slow and low throughout the night. Many of them are affordable and have other features, like a smoke and motion detector, wifi connections, adjustable settings, and other alerts to keep your family safe: 

  • Simple Touch C30004
  • Fire Avert Electric or Gas Auto Stove Shut-off Safety Device
  • Wallflower Smart Monitor for Electric Stoves
  • iGuardStove Intelligent Stove Shut Off Device
  • CookStop Stovetop Fire Prevention
  • HomeSenser Automatic Stove Turn-Off with Pre-Programmed Time Caution

How Long Can I Leave My Oven On For 

As long as your oven door is left closed and your oven is not faulty or unreliable, you can leave your oven on for an extended period of time – twelve hours or more – without worry. The rule of thumb is that it is quite dangerous to leave the oven on and the door open for an extended period of time, due to possible fire and carbon monoxide issues. 

That being said, if you leave your stove on for longer than twelve hours, the door is kept closed, and there is nothing around or near the stove itself, you are probably safe to have it stay running for the extended period of time. Running your stove at a low temperature, around 212 degrees Fahrenheit, can be safe for days or even weeks.  

Overall, ovens are designed not to catch on fire, so you can more than likely leave it on for hours on end and be perfectly safe. Problems occur when something inside the oven sparks a flame or there is something faulty with the oven itself. If your oven spontaneously bursts into flames after a few hours, this is a serious flaw in the device. 

Just remember that leaving your oven on costs money, either on your electric or gas bill. In addition, installing a carbon monoxide detector could be a smart move if you are leaving your gas oven on overnight to avoid the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.