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Class Action Investigation: The Self-Clean Feature on KitchenAid and Kenmore Built-In Ovens is Convenient, but it may Break Your Oven

Back in the days before the internet and gourmet coffee, cleaning your oven was a major hassle. You had to mix a cleaning solution, spray it all over the oven, get on your hands and knees and scrub, scrub, scrub until all the gunk and build-up from weeks (years?) of cooking was gone. That’s how you cleaned your oven. But then came self-cleaning ovens. You close the door to your oven, hit the “self-clean” button and you’re done! Easy, right?! The feature works by heating the oven to incredible temperatures in order to burn off baked-on food, grease, and everything else that makes your oven look so …… not clean.

Built-in KitchenAid ovens manufactured by Whirlpool include this supposedly helpful feature. But as hundreds of consumers have learned, not only does the self-cleaning feature on KitchenAid built-in ovens not work, it may break your oven or even hurt your family.  As a result, the firm is considering filing a class action against KitchenAid in connection with its defective ovens.

Some built-in KitchenAid ovens suffer from a significant manufacturing defect that causes the unit to malfunction after it has self-cleaned, and to eventually fail completely. Specifically, the tremendous heat generated during the self-cleaning cycle may cause the oven’s thermostat, fuses or other electrical components to short. Hiding these heating elements underneath the oven floor and above the oven ceiling represent a great improvement over older ovens, but this also means that it’s more difficult to vent the heat from those elements and keep air circulating. Self-cleaning, often with temperatures that go over 1000°, is a particular problem. The elements and the oven just get so hot — much, much hotter than the 350° to 500° range of normal baking — that sometimes fuses pop and control panels burn out. As a result, ovens often cannot command themselves to unlock after completing a cleaning cycle. Other functions may also become impaired. At the end of the day the result is the same — your expensive oven stops working, sometimes at the worst possible moment.

Newer KitchenAid built-in models suffer from a more dangerous flaw – the incredible temperatures generated during a self-clean cycle may cause the oven’s glass to “explode,” sending shards of glass flying throughout the room. The problem has become so dangerous that major media outlets have slowly begun to pick up on this troubling phenomenon. Your oven failing to work as promised is one thing – having your oven explode while your children, friends or family are in the immediate area presents a far greater concern. Whirlpool claims that they extend warranty coverage for these issues; however, labor often is not included and can lead to hundreds of dollars in repair costs.

Kenmore ovens sold at Sears are no different. Kenmore built-in ovens include a “Clean Oven” option that often results in permanent failure of the oven’s electrical components, as well as exploding glass windows. Oftentimes Sears will cover the cost, or a portion of the cost, of replacement parts, but consumers are still left holding a substantial repair bill.

Built-in ovens, like most major appliances, are a major investment that consumers expect to last for years. Kenmore and KitchenAid ovens fail to meet these reasonable expectations and instead subject consumers to dangerous and life-threatening conditions. No one should expect their oven to break after only a year or two of use, and certainly not as a result of using a self-cleaning feature that is included in all ovens sold today.

The attorneys at Cafferty Clobes Meriwether & Sprengel LLP recognize the strain that a faulty oven can place on your home, as well as your pocket book. If you or someone you know owns or previously paid to repair a KitchenAid or Kenmore built-in oven that malfunctioned after using the self-cleaning feature, please contact as to discuss your rights.