Curses, foiled again! Lining your oven can void the warranty

Consumer Reports News: October 07, 2011 10:08 AM

Mother doesn’t always know best as one woman recently discovered. Rae, who lines her oven with foil just like her Mom did, told our sister site, the Consumerist, that she lined her brand new Samsung oven with foil, popped in a pizza and the foil stuck to the oven cavity. When she called Samsung the representative told her she was out of luck and that her warranty was no good. Turns out she should have read her owner’s manual.

Lining the oven bottom with foil can void your warranty if the manufacturer advises against it in the manual or has stamped the warning on the oven cavity. This applies to gas and electric ranges. So even though reading the owner’s manual can be a snooze, we recommend it.

That’s what we did after hearing Rae’s story. We went down to the lab where Consumer Reports tests ranges and took a look at some of the Use & Care guides for the ranges we found there. We discovered various warnings, including: “Aluminum foil linings may trap heat, causing a fire hazard” and “Foil can trap heat or melt, resulting in damage to the product and a shock or fire hazard.”

Even Reynolds, which manufacturers aluminum foil, recommends against lining the oven with it, suggesting instead to place a sheet of heavy-duty foil on a rack beneath the food that’s cooking, with the foil only a few inches bigger than the pan above. This allows for proper heat circulation. And if the range has a warming drawer beneath the oven, some manufacturers say not to line that either because the foil can trap heat and throw off the oven’s performance.

If you’ve already made this mistake, it can be difficult to remove the foil. Try scraping away the foil with a plastic spatula, or as a last resort, carefully use a razor, according to, an online supplier of appliance parts. A customer service rep from GE’s hotline also suggested using a razor on a cool oven. But the engineers at Sears Kenmore say the only remedy is to replace the oven cavity.

We don’t know if Rae is in the market for a new range, but if you are, check our Ratings of gas and electric ranges. Most are self-cleaning so you wouldn’t need the foil anyway. Sorry Mom.

Kimberly Janeway

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