The Dangerous Mistake You Might Be Making With Your Stovetop

A pot with lid on a glass stovetop

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When it comes to cooking, there are, of course, ample dangers to be aware of. From overcooking and risk of fire, to burns of varying degrees (on both your food and your skin), if you aren’t smart about your kitchen appliances and practices, you could be putting yourself at risk, perhaps without even realizing it.

While most kitchen mistakes are avoidable, there are a few actions you may be making with your stovetop that aren’t even on your radar. And perhaps one of the most dangerous is putting a hot lid face-down on your glass stovetop.

From changing your behavior to having more awareness in general, here is what you need to know about why and how you can be safer in your kitchen (especially if you have a glass stovetop).

Meet the Expert

Ron Shimek is the president of Mr. Appliance.

How Safe Is Your Kitchen, Really?

Fire safety is something that is engrained during childhood: “Don’t touch the stove!” “Be careful! It’s hot,” or “Always wear an oven mitt!”  These are all variations of the same principle: It is good to take caution when you are working with a hot surface like a stove, oven, or anything else in your kitchen.

That being said, the basics are often self-explanatory, but sometimes we make mistakes or get away with things we don’t actually realize are incredibly dangerous.

Glass Stovetops: What Are the Risks?

Glass stovetops have become increasingly popular over the past decade. Not only are they less bulky than traditional stovetops, but they offer a sleek appearance that not only matches the more popular kitchen decor and style, but they are easy-to-clean—unbeatable when it comes to upkeep.

However, there is one big downside to glass stovetops if you aren’t careful: they can crack. But this only happens if you’re not careful.

As with any shift in temperature, the transition from cold to hot can create some damaging effects. Think about when you put a hot frying pan under cold water—this creates steam because of the quick temperature shift. But more importantly, it can cause the pan to warp because it moves from such a high temperature to such a low one so quickly.

While warped pans won’t necessarily break, they will never cook the same because the surface is uneven. Along the same vein, a stovetop will face serious damage with abrupt changes in temperature. This is why you should never put a hot lid face-down on a glass stovetop.

Why Should You Avoid Putting Anything Hot on a Stovetop?

Beyond the temperature changes, which, of course, can cause the surface to weaken, a hot lid on a stovetop can create a ‘seal’ between the two surfaces. As the hot air rises, it gets trapped, creating a push-and-pull effect that can severely damage the stovetop surface and cause it to break under the added pressure.

“The basics of this risk revolve around the power of the vacuum effect," says Ron Shimek, President of Mr. Appliance. “When you place a hot lid (that has condensation in it) on a glass cooktop, depending on the amount of heat and the time left in this position, the trapped air creates a suction and poses a real risk of cracking or even shattering the glass cooktop.”  

But this doesn't just happen with hot lids and hot surfaces. In fact, placing a cold lid on your glass stovetop can cause damage, too—it all depends on the temperature variation between the objects and surfaces and how they counteract.

“It’s so important to be aware of what you place on any cooking surface, but in this instance, it is crucial to avoid placing anything hot OR cold on your glass cooktop while cooking,” Shimek continues. “Also, don’t ignore a cracked cooktop for your and your family’s safety.” 

Shimek advises checking in on your stovetop intermittently to ensure that it’s cooking consistently and that there are no electrical problems. If you find that you have concerns, a service professional is a good investment just to prioritize safety and avoid unnecessary risk.