I never leave the electric oven on when I am away even just for a 5 minute trip. I really don't leave anything on though if I am going to the store. I even have most things plugged into power strips so I can just unplug the strips in each room before I leave. Call me paranoid... But my aunt lost everything in a fire when she left a dryer. Fires are a huge anxiety of mine.
I will leave my oven (electric) on if I'm baking something that takes hours; I've never worried about it and don't think it's dangerous unless there is something seriously wrong with your oven. Sometimes I slow-bake roasts, etc. at a low temp. all day.
A gas oven is another matter. I am afraid of gas stoves after two bad experiences.
I have a gas oven too and am nervous leaving it on. Mind you, I'm paranoid of fires. the building DH's business was in burned down and our pickup was one of those that exploded in our driveway (they are currently being recalled for faulty cruise control switches).
I won't run the washer, dryer, or dishwasher either when I'm not home. Coffee pot has a timer, but I won't leave it plugged in!
Oh, and my 1 year old crockpot shorted out a few years ago while I was at work and scorched the cookie sheet it was sitting on. Luckily I was paranoid of fires and put it on the cookie sheet!
i have left mine on when i was just running to the market or something.
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My mother would always set the oven to start at a certain time on a Sunday morning while we were at church and the house never burned down.
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Oven's are designed to be self containing, so unless yours is broken somehow (which then you wouldn't really be able to bake anything anyway) it is absolutely fine to leave the house while it is on. If there were any fires that started they would stay inside the oven until they lost air and died. As someone else said below, it is no more dangerous than leaving electronics on in your house.
I have a gas stove and only leave it on when I know I will only be gone for 5-10 minutes. Like most of you, I get too nervous! :) Then, again, these have made me think about it a little more...I have been cooking with this oven for 5 years and it has NEVER caught on fire or anything yet, why would it to run out of the house for a little while????
If I had a gas oven, I probably wouldn't risk more than just running over the road for a couple of minutes. However, I have an electric oven and quite often stick something in to roast or bake, then go out to do stuff. I work on the assumption it's no more dangerous than leaving the computer or the TV switched on, or even on standby and I always do that when I go out (yes, I know that's really environmentally unfriendly!)
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