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I'm staying in a hotel and have access to a "electric coil stove" for one of the first times.

I accidentally turned on the oven light and saw that the light was shining up through only one of the stoves:

View of stove top

There's only a port from the oven into the top right stove, and note that the stove is not on.

Here's a view from within the oven:

Inside of oven

Is there a hole here as a vent for the oven for some reason, or is this for the stove? I typically use a glass "flat-top stove" that doesn't have an oven underneath it. I've never seen a direct hole from a stove to the oven before, and have to wonder what the purpose is.

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A simple Google search yielded the following

https://www.shopyourway.com/m/questions/1019973

All ovens are vented one way or another. You would not want to heat up the air in a sealed chamber because of thermal expansion. It would explode due to the heat expanding because it has no way to vent. A vent is also needed to vent fumes and by products that burn off during the self cleaning process.

A vent is necessary and should not be blocked

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    I don't think that 'explosion' is a risk... There's always a way for the air to get out somehow. Especially as the oven door (almost?) always opens outwards. There may be an issue when the oven cools down, though. As the temperature decreases, the volume of the air enclosed would shrink (by almost half if falling from ~225°C to ~25°C, i.e. ~500K -> 300K). If the door is well sealed this could create a partial vacuum which would make it awkward to open the door. (c.f. opening a fridge door if the fridge was recently closed, but with a temperature difference that's ten times greater.)
    – Popup
    Jan 25 '19 at 9:22
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    ... contd. Another issue is humidity. There's normally a large quantity of water expelled if cooking food in the oven. This has to end up somewhere. Typically it end up being vented into the kitchen. I assume that this is not the case in e.g. combi-ovens. I believe that they have a separate condensing circuitry, and presumably some pressure-equalization mechanism.
    – Popup
    Jan 25 '19 at 9:26
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    You want an oven insulated, but not too well, or it's hard to control the temperature. The hole ensures good heat leakage in a not inconvenient or dangerous area. Mar 9 '19 at 23:55
  • A simple Google search yielded this answer.
    – Mikhail
    Aug 8 '20 at 16:24
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The vent is there to prevent stratification. In other words, to ensure the oven is heated evenly throughout. It causes a lot of issues, however, for people who are cooking more difficult fares (including those particularly sensitive to humidity).

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  • Welcome to Seasoned Advice. :) Can you share any online webpages that would cover this in more detail?
    – elbrant
    Jan 25 '19 at 5:54
  • @elbrant :I wasn't aware of it being an issue in ovens, but for buildings : en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermal_destratification . If you've ever heated a place with heat only on one floor (eg, wood stove), you have to crack a window on an upper floor so the heat will rise.
    – Joe
    Jan 25 '19 at 13:25
  • @Joe That make sense, thank you... I was really trying to help David develop his answer.
    – elbrant
    Jan 26 '19 at 0:16
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I assume it is to help with air flow. Heat the same air over and over again and it gets stale. It also lets the wonderful smells waft about the household.

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