Numerous consumers report exploding Kenmore oven

Bizarre incident may be more common than you think

"All of the sudden there was a pop," Erica Brown said. "And then I could hear the glass cracking and hit the floor."

When she ran back into the kitchen, she discovered the glass oven door on her Kenmore 790 had exploded.

"You can see all the glass in between this and the front glass," she said while pointing to the front of her oven.

Brown said the explosion happened during the self-cleaning mode. Her gut reaction was to double-check the instruction manual.

"I'm replaying in my head what I did and I looked in the instruction book again. I did exactly what I was supposed to do and it broke," she said.

In a four year time span, hundreds of people have complained to federal regulators of a similar issue, the bulk of which involve Kenmore 790's.

That's according to The Safety Institute, a watchdog advocacy group that last summer called on the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to launch an investigation and initiate, "a recall of Kenmore model 790 ovens for shattering glass doors, based on more than 300 reported consumer complaints since March 2011."

The non-profit added, "The Safety Institute reviewed the consumer complaints between March 2011 and July 2015 on 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."

Local 10 News searched through CPSC's complaint database and found dozens of people complaining about exploding oven glass doors.

One man told regulators the glass from a shattered oven door got partly embedded in his wife's foot.

Another told the CPSC of his Kenmore 790 glass door exploding adding, "I am thankful our kids were in their rooms and the dog was with us…we truly think a recall should happen before someone gets hurt."

"I don't want this oven," Brown said. "I don't feel safe you know with my kids. I think people should be aware. Obviously it's happened to other people, but I had no idea."

CPSC is in charge of making sure products are safe. Despite the numerous complaints they simply told Local 10 Neww' "Call Christina" team in a statement, "We take all incidents involving shattering glass seriously.  There are standards in place for consumer products that use glass which should lead to the glass breaking into nuggets and not shards, if the product shatters."

Those "nuggets" are the result of tempered glass, explained Pierre Mayrand of Glass Doctor in Miami.

Tempered glass is designed to break into many small pieces, a safety feature that makes the glass far less dangerous than fewer, larger shards of glass.

In a statement, Sears said if your Kenmore glass oven door explodes within the first year of purchase it could be due to imperfections in the glass and would be covered under the manufacturer's warranty. After a year, it is on you. They blame damage possibly caused to the glass during use.

They did not respond to questions regarding the cost of repair and whether given the number of complaints if the company would be willing to absorb the costs associated with repair.

Brown opted for a new oven from a different manufacturer. She didn't want to risk paying to replace the glass only to have the frightening incident possibly repeat itself.

"Apparently it's a known issue and Sears is aware," Brown said. "Sears should take responsibility and recall the stoves that are out there or replace the doors. Do something to fix the issue, because that's not safe."

Sears' advice includes not closing the oven door until all the oven racks are fully in place and to not hit the glass door with pots, pans, or any other object.

Click here to report product safety issues to the CPSC.

Statement from Sears:

The Kenmore brand places the highest priority on the safety of our products and those who use them. Ovens and ranges are specifically designed to withstand the high heat involved in cooking.

Within the first year of purchase, on a very small number of units, failure in the glass may be due to imperfections in the glass at installation and would be covered under the manufacturer's warranty.  Breakage beyond the first year following purchase is most likely due to damage caused to the glass during use. Damage to the glass can be caused by a number of things including using the door to push in an oven rack or an object striking the glass-both examples may cause a weakness and lead to failure over time.

As a precaution, and for the safety of our customers, the Kenmore brand (and the industry in general) uses safety glass that is specifically designed to "pebble" into small pieces with rounded edges to help prevent injury if the glass breaks. This is the latest technology and while the sound may startle a homeowner, Kenmore ovens and ranges comply with industry (UL) Safety Standards for Household Ranges.  Some additional information which may be helpful is the reference to the glass pulled from our owner's manual, below.

Owner's Manual, page 26:

Special Door Care Instructions - Most oven doors contain glass. Glass can break.

Read the following recommendations:

1. Do not close the oven door until all the oven racks are fully in place.

2. Do not hit the glass with pots, pans, or any other object.

3. Scratching, hitting, jarring or stressing the glass may weaken its structure causing an increased risk of breakage at a later time.