This week The Safety Institute requested that The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) initiate an investigation and a recall of Kenmore model 790 ovens for shattering glass doors, based on more than 300 reported consumer complaints since March 2011.
Over the last four years, the CPSC has received hundreds of such consumer complaints of glass failures during both oven use and non-use. There are reports of doors exploding while ovens are heating, pre-heating and in cleaning mode, as well as doors shattering while being opened or standing idle. Some consumers report having replaced their glass doors only to have this happen a second, third, and even a fourth time.
The Safety Institute reviewed the consumer complaints between March 2011 and July 2015 on saferproducts.gov and found approximately 337 incidents where the glass in a Kenmore oven door had exploded, shattered, or broken – most involved models beginning with the number 790. Many described the oven doors exploding violently, causing cuts and bruises. Others expressed concern about the potential for great harm to children who were in close proximity, or if they had been peering through the oven door to check on their food.
Here are some examples:
September 2, 2012 – Kenmore Gas Range, Model #79012991:
The glass door on our Kenmore gas range exploded, fragments cut my wife’s legs (I thought safety glass wasn’t supposed to cut; I guess oven doors aren’t supposed to explode either).
October 14, 2013 – Kenmore Electric Range, Model # 790.96429407:
The first time it happened I went to open the stove door, the handle fell off, and the glass shattered, when I called Kenmore they responded that there has been no recall on my range, and this was the first that they’ve heard of the problem, but there are plenty of similar incidents all over the internet. It appears that they just used screws that are too short to fully engage the door. This happened again today as it has many times since the first time. The oven was set at 425 degrees. I burned my hand during the accident. One day somebody is going to get seriously hurt, and then maybe somebody will care enough to fix t Many described the oven doors exploding with a great deal of force, causing cuts and bruises. Others expressed concern about the potential for great harm to children who were in close proximity, or if they had been peering through the oven door to check on their food.
January 16, 2014 – Kenmore Convection Oven, Model #790.97453804:
We bought our Kenmore oven model 790.97453804 in January of 2010, within the first year our oven door exploded shooting glass all over our kitchen and into the adjacent room. We raised a stink with Sears and tried to get a replacement oven, even the local manager fought for us but sears corp would do nothing but repair it. We were assured it wouldn’t happen again.
In our 3rd year of ownership the over door exploded again (this is the 2nd explosion). I called Sears and explained how once again, they were lucky we weren’t calling from a hospital and that they need to get this oven out of here. I even told them every incident that I would buy a different one from them if they would return this one, even if it cost more money I would spend the difference just to have something safe. I have small animals, young children. We have a 5 yr old girl (now 5). She loves to help bake and could you imagine if she were looking through the glass at the time of explosion? I can only imagine Sears would take us seriously if that would’ve happened. But why not take us seriously before an injury?
October 26, 2014 – Kenmore Double Oven, Model #790.97502001
Kenmore electric range front glass door exploded sending glass all over the kitchen – no one in room and no animals are in our house. The oven was NOT on and it shattered sending the glass from one end to another in the kitchen. When we contacted SEARS we were told by service writer – “there was no reason for it to happen if the heat was not on” – guess what–even if heat was on – it should not happen!! no technician is available for a few days and i know when they come they will not have our part with them to repair!!!
While registering their consumer complaint on saferproducts.gov website, consumers are able to enter the make, model number, serial number and pertinent information.
Out of the 316 Kenmore oven incidents that clearly listed the model numbers, 286 complaints noted the 790 model. In more than 30 of these complaints, consumers also mentioned that the oven handle had become loose or fell off. Many consumers observed that the screws securing the handle had been stripped, or were too small. Some people expressed concerns about the safety hazard of reaching for a hot stove with a potentially broken handle. In just about every instance of a broken handle, the glass subsequently shattered – this may be a contributing factor in the glass failure.
A majority also reported that Sears would not pay for the repairs out of warranty. Additionally, consumers complained that Sears would not pay when the incident occurred on a newly replaced door. Sears also charged consumers with expired warrantied for a service call, a repair and/or purchase an extended warranty in order to repair the damaged ovens.
Similar incidents are occurring with appliances manufacturer by such companies as GE and Frigidaire, but have garnered only a fraction of the complaints. For example, GE customers reported approximately 87 reports of glass doors exploding or shattering complaints; Frigidaire at 66.
Citing 6(b) provisions, the CPSC declined to comment on specifically on Kenmore ovens. Scott Wolfson, CPSC’s Director, Office of Communications, said:
“The kitchen is one of the most dangerous rooms in the home. From fires to burns to lacerations, there are numerous kitchen appliances and products that can pose a risk of harm to consumers. CPSC staff intends to follow up on reports of incidents with glass doors shattering and door handles breaking on a certain model of ovens. We appreciate The Safety Institute sharing their insights about this product with agency staff. Consumers should know that a safety standard is in place which requires glass to break into nuggets and not shards, if it shatters. CPSC urges consumers to continue to report incidents to our agency via SaferProducts.gov.”
The kitchen can be a dangerous place, but standing next to the oven isn’t – and shouldn’t be a dangerous activity.
According to Section 15(a)(2) of the Consumer Product Safety Act, manufacturers should consider that a product poses a substantial hazard if there is a pattern of defect caused by its design, composition, content, construction, finish, or packaging; if the number of defective products in the marketplace and in use is significant, or if injuries are likely or could be serious; if the injuries could occur with foreseeable use or even mis-use and if the exposed population is particularly vulnerable – like small children.
Based on the complaints, the Kenmore model 790 ovens certainly seem to fit the bill!