It was a lovely late-October day yesterday, just the sort of thing I’m seldom prepared for in September. With the temperature at sunrise in the upper 40s and then failing to break 70 all day, about ten degrees Fahrenheit below the seasonal norm, but with 80s and possibly 90 promised for the weekend, I was unwilling to crank up the furnace. (Besides, I’d just written a check for a sub-$20 gas bill, and I know I’m going to miss those.)
What to do? The brainstorm finally arrived: run the oven’s cleaning cycle and let the residual warmth waft through the premises. I couldn’t remember when I’d done it last, so I fished out the manual and looked at the back cover, where I habitually record the last service date.
Which was blank, which means I’ve never cleaned this sucker in the six years I’ve been here. “It didn’t look filthy,” I thought, and banishing thoughts of Sylvia Plath, I took a look inside. And it really wasn’t filthy: there was a little bit of scuzz across the bottom, and a fair amount of gunk on the door, but that’s it.
Then it occurred to me that I really should RTFM, and found this curt little note:
Soil on the front frame and outside the gasket on the door liner will need to be cleaned by hand.
Okay, fine. ScotchBrite in hand, I scraped off said soil, wiped up the residue, latched the door, and hit the magic switch. The stench was amazing: I had to fire up the attic fan, which basically defeated the whole idea of basking in the warmth.
And then I wondered: how much had this little experiment cost? The house was actually fairly warm when the cycle completed, up about 2.5 degrees from when it started despite the attic fan. I did the math: 3000 watts X 4.25 hours = 13 kwh = about $1.10 at the current (sorry about that) rate. I might have been able to run the furnace for less than that.
But no matter. The oven is clean. The burner pans, on the other hand, are kinda grungy, but they don’t have a cleaning mechanism other than good old elbow grease.