(ANGIE'S LIST) - With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, you may be preparing your home for family and friends.
You're cleaning and decorating and going over grocery lists and meal plans. But don't overlook one very important element that could cause a Turkey Day disaster.
"I went to a call three or four years ago where the turkey was actually locked in the oven," appliance repair expert Dustin Wheeldon said.
Wheeldon says such problems can be easily avoided.
"You don't have to overthink cleaning your oven. The more you do it on a regular basis, the less you have to do right before the holidays," he said.
If your oven has dials or switches don't spray cleaning fluid or water around them. Remove the knobs and soak them in the sink. And be sure to use caution when using the self-clean cycle.
"If you haven't used the self-clean on your oven in five years, probably not," Wheeldon said. "If you do regular upkeep and servicing the oven, using the self-clean every couple of months, then you'll probably be okay."
If you don't use your oven regularly, now is the time to test it.
"Find something that maybe isn't a turkey, but does have an extended bake time and see how close you are on the recommended time that it's supposed to be in there to see where you're at," Wheeldon said.
Angie Hicks of Angie's List says the door is an important part of oven maintenance that people often overlook, especially when it comes checking that the door seals tightly.
"If it doesn't, your oven is not going to be able to keep its correct temperature. If you find your door isn't sealing tight it's probably bent hinges or broken spring and those are easily repaired," Hicks said.
While many repair companies do offer emergency services on holidays, be prepared to pay top dollar. As for that turkey that was locked in the oven, Wheeldon was able to free it.
"It's always good to come in there and be able to save somebody's holiday for them," he said.
Angie's List says while it may help keep it clean, you should avoid using aluminum foil under the bake element in your oven. Foil is very reflective and can alter the temperature of your oven. As a result, you can overcook or under cook food.