Oven Calibration

More about oven calibration

Readers wrote in with comments about our story on oven temperatures, and how they’re not always as accurate as you expect them to be. Here’s some of what they had to say.

I read the article this morning re: Oven's real temperature can vary from reading. I had a similar problem when I purchased a new range, with digital readouts instead of the old dial type. When I checked the temperature of my oven with an oven thermometer, I discovered that there was a difference of 25 degrees F. My range is a Samsung.

I consulted the operation manual and there is a way to adjust the temperature of the oven, + or - for accuracy, as they are set when manufactured for temperature at sea level. It took some tweaking, but I increased the reading as per the operation manual. I followed up, using the oven thermometer, and it is now relatively accurate.

Hope this might help someone out. I thought that my new range was defective and would need repair, but was happy to discover that I was able to deal with the issue.

-- L. Stephenson

I have a comment, rather than a question, but I thought it important enough to contact you about it.In your column in today's Journal, the question and answer about oven temperatures omitted a significantly helpful fact.

Oven temperatures can in fact be re-calibrated at home, using the instructions provided in the manual that comes with most stoves/ovens.

I had the same problem with my stove: everything was taking longer to cook, and sometimes didn't come out right due to a lower temperature than the settings indicated. Baked custards always failed, for example.

I checked the manual and followed the simple instructions on how to re-calibrate, and now my oven works much more satisfactorily.

It's a Sears Kenmore self-cleaning oven and is nine years old, so I'm sure more recent models will have the information too.

I did the re-calibration in December 2009, and was annoyed that I hadn't looked it up much sooner! Perhaps an update in your next column in the Journal mentioning this function of most modern stoves will be helpful to other readers with the same issue.

Despite stoves supposedly being pre-set at the factory, it's very common for them to be incorrect, so we home-makers and cooks should all know how to fix it!

Thank you for your services over the years, I've been taking advantage of your expertise since 1967, when we arrived in Canada from the United Kingdom, and had to learn Canadian ways.

Merry Christmas!


-- Ruth Hempsey

First off, thanks for your letters. We love getting your feedback, and we’re here to answer your questions.

To learn more about the oven calibration issue, we dug around in several user manuals for modern ovens, and yes indeed, many ovens can be calibrated at home by following instructions in the manual. Every oven seems to have a different method (press two buttons for three seconds, fiddle with a knob, etc.), but rarely did the recommended technique seem onerous.

You’ll still need an oven thermometer to give you a reading you can work with, but if your oven can be easily calibrated at home using the user manual, it’s worth trying the fix yourself.

If you’ve misplaced your user manual, check the internet; it’s full of appliance user manuals. Finding a manual can be as easy as looking up the model number on the manufacturer’s website, or just googling the make, model and word “manual” together.

If the oven temperature is way off, it’s best to get in touch with a professional as there’s a chance there may be something seriously wrong with your oven.