Do Convection Ovens Interfere With Pacemakers?

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Thank god for pacemakers! They reduce the risk of dying from or being hospitalized by heart problems by approximately 20%!

But there’s a small price to pay for this extended lease on life… we have to steer clear of certain things that might interrupt the measured electrical pulses that regulate our heartbeat.

Do Convection Ovens Interfere With Pacemakers

One of the things those of us with pacemakers are often particularly concerned and confused about in equal measure are convection ovens.

Are they safe, or will they cause dangerous interference? Well, the quick answer is no, but you’re right to be wary.

Let’s explore the topic in a little more detail and find out why exactly convection ovens generally aren’t an interference risk.

What Is A Convection Oven?

A convection oven is a simple design that only differs from traditional ovens in one way —

Fans! Instead of leaving the heat generated within the oven to do its thing, spreading through the cavity naturally, one or more dedicated fans circulate the hot air in order to cook food quicker and more evenly.

In effect, fan convection removes internal hotspots in ovens, meaning you never have to deal with half burned half raw food — This is why bakers love convection ovens!

Why Don’t Convection Ovens Interfere With Pacemakers?

To understand why convection ovens aren’t an interference risk for pacemakers, we first need to discuss what causes the interference.

Typically speaking, it’s only magnets and electronics that utilize strong electromagnetic fields that we need to worry about, and convection ovens use neither.

They contain bog-standard heating elements and one or more fans with small electric motors, so they’re absolutely nothing to worry about if you’ve got a pacemaker, but why then are so many of us concerned about convection ovens?

Convection VS. Induction: Where The Confusion Arises

I believe a lot of the fear around convection ovens and pacemakers is derived from the simple misconception that the terms convection and induction are synonymous.

Unlike convection ovens, induction stoves use lots of powerful magnets to generate heat, which of course can play havoc with your ticker tech.

Due to enhanced energy efficiency and the lack of open flames, induction is becoming a much sought after stovetop format, but that’s just the thing… it’s all stovetop-based.

Convection, by contrast, only ever refers to ovens with fans.

So you see, the two terms have nothing to do with one another, but as they’re often mistaken as interchangeable, the concern people have with one gets applied to the other as well. However, don’t let your guard down just yet!

When Are Convection Ovens A Threat To People With Pacemakers?

Convection ovens that are part of full ranges will be topped by a type of stove.

Most often, this kind of oven is paired with real fire burners, as both convection ovens and open flame stovetops appeal to people who really care about cooking, but it’s also possible that a convection oven will be topped with an induction stovetop.

In this scenario, the range unit will indeed interfere with the functioning of a pacemaker, so it’s essential that you know the specifications of a range before you use it to whip yourself up a meal.

But do bear in mind that if you end up in a house with a convection/induction hybrid range, you’re not in any immediate danger.

You’re only ever really at risk if you get too close to the electromagnetic field of the induction stovetop.

How Far Away From A Convection Oven With An Induction Stovetop Should I Be?

Medical experts recommend that you should never stand within two feet of an induction stovetop. Should you forget and get a little too close to one of these ranges, don’t sweat it.

Get out of there quickly and everything will be alright. The danger occurs if you’re close by for an extended period of time, especially if the pans are off center on the rings.

What Does Interference From An Induction Stove Do To A Pacemaker?

The problems occur when the electrical signals passing through your body reach the sensors of your pacemaker.

It reads them as heartbeats, and will then attempt to compensate and regulate your heart based on an issue that isn’t actually happening.

Having said that, not all types of pacemaker are affected equally by interference.

Studies have shown that those with unipolar pacemakers are at the most risk, while those with pacemakers that have bipolar configurations won’t experience as much interference from the same sources.

Convection Microwave Ovens: Another Kettle Of Fish

Convection microwave ovens are unique culinary appliances that combine the fan-circulation of traditional convection ovens with the heat-generating radiation of microwave ovens.

The radiation cooks food insanely fast, while the convection side of things ensures an even cook.

Sometimes, microwave ovens can indeed interfere with a pacemaker, although this isn’t quite as common as electromagnetic-induced interference.

Still, it pays to be cautious where our hearts are concerned, so if you ever need to use one of these machines, take at least a couple of steps back, or better yet, leave the room.

If you’re thinking about buying one of these items, I personally wouldn’t risk it, but as I said, as long as you’re careful, you may not run into any problems whatsoever.

In fact, certain small electronics, such as electric razors are considered a greater risk than a convection microwave.

Final Thoughts

Convection ovens are just traditional ovens with one or more fans in to help circulate heat and expedite the cooking process.

They don’t use any magnets, nor do they use any electronic components strong enough to influence a pacemaker, so you can use them freely.

The only times a convection oven becomes an issue for people with pacemakers are when they’re part of a hybrid range that combines a convection cavity with an induction stovetop, or when they’re paired with microwave technology.

In these scenarios, it’s in your best interest to stay at least 2 feet away.