Where There's Smoke, There's Fire: How Using The Right Oil Can Save Your Stove

Home & Garden Blog

There's a reason that most comfort food involves a bunch of oil and grease--it makes everything more delicious! Unfortunately, grease fires are very common, with 67% of home fires beginning in America beginning in kitchens. Even without damage to your home, a fire can easily cause damage to your oven and range hood, causing expensive appliance repair fees or even full replacements. Though there are many tips to prevent grease fires, one that is commonly overlooked is the type of oil used while cooking. Knowing the smoke point, flash point, and fire point of an oil can save your stove.

Smoke Point. The smoke point of an oil is the heat it takes for smoke to rise. Cheaper oils, like unrefined vegetable oils, have the lowest smoke point. That means they can take less heat than other oils. They tend to start smoking only around 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Oils that are solid at room temperature are next on the scale. This includes butter, margarine, and coconut oil, all of which smoke around 350 degrees. The highest smoke points belong to refined vegetable oils, especially ones rated "high-oleic."

Why care about the smoke point? Smoke can add a nasty smell to your kitchen. Worse, it carries carcinogens and other particles that can clog the vents in your range hood. A clogged hood will no longer vent properly, which could require extensive cleaning or repairs. Smoke also shows you're getting close to the flash point.

Flashpoint. The flash point is a temperature above, but near to the smoke point. It isn't actually liquid oil that ignites. It's the vapors that are produced while oils are boiling. The flash point is the temperature at which these vapors can catch fire. Simply turning down the heat or removing the fuel source will put out a fire at flash point temperature.

Ignition Point. This temperature is above the flash point and marks where the vapors from the oil will continue to burn for a short time even after the source is removed. This is the most dangerous temperature because flames will rise high, possibly burning your range hood or melting important pieces in an electric stove. Cover these fires with a lid or douse them in baking soda or salt to put out this fire.

The Takeaway. If you're planning to cook at a high temperature, don't be cheap with your oil. Always make sure you use the correct oil for your cooking. Unrefined vegetable oil should never be used at high heats. Stick to olive oil and high-oleic ingredients. Also keep in mind that adding food to the oil can affect the smoke, flash, and ignition points of oils. If you've had a stove fire, make sure to get your range checked by a company like A 1 Quality Appliance Inc, as even a small fire can damage your appliances without you noticing.


18 February 2015

Keeping Cool All Summer Long

Moving to a hot climate freed me from dealing with snow and ice in the winter. However, it also brought a lot more heat during the summer. I had resigned myself to paying big bills for cooling nine months out of the year when I found out from a friend that my air conditioner was struggling and need in of repair. Once a technician stopped by and gave my equipment a tune up, my cooling costs were nearly cut in half! This surprising discovery prompted me to head online and blog about my experiences. Even if you and your family only use the air conditioner a few times a month during the summer, you can benefit from my tips on keeping the equipment running smoothly and efficiently. You'll appreciate the combination of cooler indoor temperatures and lower monthly bills.