Hello, I am wondering if an electric wall oven requires venting to the outside. I have a client that refuses to replace their current old ovens because the new ones don't have exterior ventilation, and I am trying to find information about whether this is really required or not. I assume it isn't since most new models don't have this feature, but I don't have any explanation as to why not!
Jodie ~ Chicago, Illinois
Jodie, the simple answer to your question is that most electric wall ovens do not require venting to the outside of your house, and that's a good thing, because most new ovens don't even have the option for exterior venting. Unlike some older models of wall ovens that are able to vent to the outside, most newer wall ovens just vent the exhausted air back into the house. To me, this makes about as much sense as kitchen range hoods that don't vent to the outside, and I am unsure why appliance manufacturers have gone in this direction.
The vents on wall ovens are needed to let steam escape from the oven, which prevents you from baking soggy muffins or a wet loaf of bread. Unfortunately, heat and odors also escape from these vents, which causes the problem of hot, smelly air being vented back into your kitchen. This leads many homeowners, such as your client, to covet their old exterior vented wall ovens and refuse to upgrade to newer, more energy-efficient models. You can find lots of online comments from unhappy consumers who did not know when they purchased their new appliance that it was unable to vent to the outside. Of course, once these unhappy consumers are hit in the face with a blast of hot air, or their kitchen smells of burnt food, then they are irate.
Aside from some secondary venting options, the best way to minimize the annoyances of interior oven vents is to keep your appliance clean. Regular cleaning and the use of an oven liner are two ways to help reduce burnt food odors that escape from your oven and invade your kitchen. Other than that remedy, you may have to advise your client that she will probably be happier with her old wall oven.