Pyrolytic ovens: your Frequently Asked Questions answered

January 10th, 2013

Appliance Talk Ovens

What is a pyrolytic oven?

A pyrolytic oven features an ‘automatic’ cleaning function that dramatically reduces your oven cleaning time. Pyrolytic cleaning heats the inside of your oven to temperatures upwards of 400°C, reducing grease and food residue to ash. Once the oven returns to a safe temperature and unlocks itself, this ash can be simply wiped away.

Fisher & Paykel Electric Wall Oven OB76SDEPX2

How does a pyrolytic oven clean?

When set to self-cleaning mode, the pyrolytic oven heats up to an extremely high temperature (approximately 500°C), and uses a combination of heat and pressure to reduce any food splashes on its interior to a fine ash that can be easily wiped away once the oven has cooled down, with no need for harsh oven-cleaning chemicals or intense scrubbing.

How long does it take to clean a pyrolytic oven?

It varies depending on how dirty the oven is, but the average pyrolytic cleaning cycle goes for 1-2 hours, plus the time it takes for the oven to cool back down.

Will a pyrolytic oven heat up my kitchen?

To compensate for the super-high temperatures used in the pyrolytic cleaning cycle, most pyrolytic ovens are manufactured with many additional layers of insulation.  This means that even in the midst of a super-hot pyrolytic cycle, the oven door should only be as hot to touch as a typical oven door when in use.

600mm/60cm Smeg Electric Wall Oven SAP399X8

Not only does this keep your loved ones safer, but the additional insulation keeps the pyrolytic oven’s exterior cooler during everyday cooking, though a certain amount of exhaust heat is still vented by the oven in both the normal and pyrolytic modes.

What about smoke and fumes?  Do pyrolytic ovens require external ventilation?

Pyrolytic ovens are installed into the home just like normal ovens, with no need for external ventilation.

The amount of smoke and fumes generated by a pyrolytic oven is dependent on how much material it needs to burn off – the dirtier the inside of the oven, the more smoke and fumes will be generated.  You can minimise the amount of smoke and fumes generated during a pyrolytic cleaning cycle by first giving the oven’s interior a quick wipe down to remove excess mess, such as puddles of sauce and large splashes of grease.

If there isn’t too much material for the pyrolytic oven to burn off, there should be very little smoke or fumes.  Some pyrolytic ovens integrate catalyts to filter their exhausts so that the air in your kitchen remains cleaner, but we’d still recommend running your kitchen’s rangehood during a pyrolytic cycle to keep your home well-ventilated.


Is a pyrolytic oven safe?

600mm/60cm Westinghouse Electric Wall Oven POR881S

As modern pyrolytic ovens heat to temperatures of up to 500 degrees Celsius, they’re designed to be very safe for you to use. Most pyrolytic ovens are manufactured with many additional layers of insulation, which ensures any residual heat is contained. The oven door will only be as hot to touch as a typical oven door.

During a pyrolytic self-cleaning cycle, the door is automatically locked, so you can feel safe using it around your family and children. Once the temperature has returned to a safe level, the doors will automatically unlock.


Do self-cleaning ovens turn off by themselves?

Once the full pyrolytic cleaning cycle completes and the oven returns to a safe temperature, the door will unlock and the oven will turn itself off.

Do pyrolytic ovens use more energy than regular ovens?

Most of the time, pyrolytic ovens function exactly like a regular electric oven, with the same kind of energy requirements for cooking.

600mm/60cm Electrolux Electric Oven EPEE63CS

The high temperature pyrolytic cleaning cycle does use slightly more energy than everyday cooking. We’ve estimated however that each pyrolytic cleaning cycle should use approximately $1 worth of electricity – much less than the price of an average can of oven cleaner. Some pyrolytic ovens even feature an ECO pyrolytic cycle, helping to keep your energy costs lower.


What’s the difference between pyrolytic and catalytic?

Catalytic – A catalytic oven (also known as a Continuous Cleaning oven) is fitted with catalytic oven liners. These porous ceramic panels are coated with a highly absorbent chemical and catch your oven’s everyday grease and food splatter. When they’re exposed to temperatures higher than 200°C, any absorbed fat or grease should be reduced to ashes that falls to the bottom of the oven, where you can easily sweep it away. It’s important that you use or heat your

Catalytic liners aren’t necessarily all around the oven, however, so they’re not as effective as a full pyrolytic self-cleaning cycle. You will also need to replace them every 3-6 months depending on how often you use your oven.


Pyrolytic – Unlike the continuous cleaning of catalytic, a pyrolytic oven features at least one specific self-cleaning oven program. It heats your oven cavity to temperatures in excess of 400 degrees Celsius and reduces grease and food residue to fine ash. Once a pyrolytic cycle is complete, you simply wipe this away with soapy water.

While pyrolytic cleaning may take 2-3 hours, it’s easily the most effective self-cleaning option, as the heat penetrates every part of the oven rather than a more general area. It saves you the effort of scrubbing every inch of your appliance. Another advantage is that the pyrolytic cycle can be conveniently set in off-peak times (overnight) to use less energy.


What other self-cleaning oven options are there?

Other than pyrolytic or catalytic cleaning, your next best option for a self-cleaning oven would be a model with a steam-cleaning feature, such as the Vapour Clean system of the SMEG Freestanding Smeg Dual Fuel Oven/Stove C6GMXA8.

By placing some water in the bottom of the oven cavity and heating it up to form steam, these systems soften and break down any hardened food matter on their interior, making it much easier to remove.  This is also one of the many benefits that come from cooking with a steam oven.

Got more questions?

Let us know, and we’ll do our best to answer them!

Mark joined Appliances Online in November 2011 and has since learned more than he ever expected to know about appliances. He enjoys looking for new and unusual ways for to solve everyday problems using typical household appliances. When he’s not toiling at the desks of Appliances Online and Big Brown Box, he tries to find time to write the next big bestseller and draw satirical cartoons, but is too easily distracted by TV, music and video games. Mark’s favourite appliance is the Dyson Groom Tool, as he loves the concept of vacuuming your dog. Google+

2 responses to “Pyrolytic ovens: your Frequently Asked Questions answered”

  1. Jill says:

    Hi how much to install a Bosch pyro oven. Also hv bosch steamer that I wld like to put in at the same time

  2. Mark Bristow says:

    Hi Jill,

    Professional electic oven installation (includes pyrolytic and steam models) by our qualified Handy Crew team currently starts at $250. Extra fees may apply if additional cabinetwork is required. Handy Crew will finalise the prices of any extra work for sign-off before the installation is commenced. If you think your installation may not be a straightforward one, please contact our team on 1300 000 500 to organise a free quote.

    To add an installation to your Appliances Online order, remember to enter your postcode on our site to confirm that installation services are available in your area. Then click Accessories And Installation Options on your chosen oven’s product page, and select Electrical Installation before completing your order as normal.



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