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Nov 30, 2009 02:30 PM

Where in the oven do you install an oven thermometer?

Hi! I'd like to install an oven thermometer into my oven, but I do not know where the best place to put it is. I bought an OXO Soft Works oven thermometer that clips between 2 grates. Which rack? Center or does it matter? Towards the door or in the back of the oven? Should I just move it around every time I cook for the next couple of weeks and take an average?

The main issue I have with my oven is that the far left corner seems to get hotter than the rest of my gas oven. I recently burnt sliced potatoes in the far left corner and had not quite raw ones in the front right. Sounds crazy, right? If I rotate the trays it seems to be okay. I'm trying to avoid spending money on the repair man, but is this something I need to address sooner than later?

Thank you in advance for your help!

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  1. this might be obvious, but if you put a thermometer in your oven, you'll still have to monitor your food and rotate as necessary.

    2 Replies
    1. re: tommy

      Yes, I realize that and rotating, although annoying, is something I can live with. I just want to know where the best place would be so I can get a handle as to what it going on in there. Plus, when it comes time for me to call the repair man, I'd like to be able to explain, with numbers, what is going on. But in the meantime, I just want to get a reading.

      1. re: loriirol

        if you just want a reading, and your goal is communicate numbers to a repairman (which you don't want to avoid if your oven isn't functioning as designed, unless it's old), just put it in the oven, take the temp, and then move it somewhere else, and take the temp there.

        when i had issues with my piece-o-sh*t Thermador double oven, i used 2 thermometers to show that the oven wasn't coming to temp. it didn't matter all that much where they were placed, but at the end of the day, the only place that matters is where you're putting the food, which is very likely right around the center of the oven somewhere.

        if you want to test that the far left corner is hotter than, say, the far right corner, then take one reading in one corner and another in the other.

        you might also consider doing some research on thermometers, as they all aren't created equally.

    2. Assuming you have an oven that has has a metal plate over the burner, check to see if there are any gaps where the heat from below can come through. Maybe this plate is simply not installed properly or it may be bent and /or warped out of shape

      As for the thermometer, place on the center rack so it hangs above the lower rack if this is where you do most of your baking. You want to know if your oven settings are accurate or running hotter/colder so you can make adjustments in lieu of repairs. If the temperature fluctuates or spikes too much, i.e., it starts out at your setting of 325*, but after some time, the oven temps rise or drop too drastically or have no choice but to have a repair made.

      1. Not much effort is put into designing ovens that have a uniform temperature through out. In industrial applications (lab and production) yes but home kitchen ovens no. A careful analysis using a matrix for positioning a high quality thermometer will show that. Typically the measuring device is put in the 4 corners (a little out from the sides) and the center and redone on perhaps the 2 levels you use most often. The ideal method is to place a probe like a thermocouple into a container full of salt. But most of us don't have all the tools so you make due with what you have. Your results will be very close.

        BTW, one advantage of a convection oven is the air movement minimizes the 'hot' or 'cold' spots. Having to rotate your cookie sheets is a sign that the door gasket is leaking or the thermostat is not maintaining good temperature control.

        When attempting to measure temperatures relative to location do not do it while cooking as the presence of a pot or moisture evaporation will skew the results. Do it with an empty oven and record location/temperature. Wait at least 30 min for the oven to stabilize before moving to the next location. The results will also be influenced by the room temperature so do your testing when the kitchen is reasonably stable.

        You might also check the calibration of your oven while your at it. Set the oven control to 200F or 250F and wait for 30 min. and record interior temp. Repeat at 50F intervals until 400F. For this the thermometer can be placed roughly in the center of the oven. This will help a lot if you are a baker. A bottle of wine helps this process to completion. [Drink it don't put it in the oven.]

        Good luck.