What are the most common problems with electric ovens? Learn about four potential issues, what might cause them, and how to identify these causes.
What are the Most Common Problems with Electric Ovens
Several factors can cause an electric oven not to work as it should. Four of the most common issues people experience with their ovens are listed below. Keep reading to learn what problems people most often have with their electric ovens and clues to the root cause.
1. The Oven Doesn’t Get Up to Temperature
The main clue that your oven isn’t getting up to the proper temperature is that your food seems to take longer to cook or is coming out of the oven undercooked. You can use an oven thermometer to double-check that the temperature is, in fact, the issue.
Often, an oven not heating indicates a problem with the temperature sensor. It may be faulty, or it may be touching a wall inside the oven.
The oven will not heat properly. If the sensor is touching an interior wall of the oven, it cannot accurately measure the temperature inside the oven. It is a simple fix to reposition the temperature sensor so it is no longer in contact with a wall.
If all is well with the position of the temperature sensor, or if you reposition it and the stove still isn’t heating, the sensor may be faulty.
A faulty temperature sensor is a bit trickier to detect and requires some specialized equipment. Investing in an ohmmeter and deciphering the sensor’s resistance might be challenging. The easier option would be to call a professional for affordable appliance repair.
Suppose the problem isn’t with the temperature sensor. Put your oven thermometer on the center rack of the stove, set the temperature to 350 degrees, and leave it for half an hour.
If the measured temperature is significantly off from the 350 degrees it should be, call a professional to repair it.
If, however, the temperature reading is only off by a little, it is possible to change the calibration of the oven. How to do this will differ depending on whether the oven has knobs or a digital panel. It usually requires pulling off a knob if the oven has them or holding a specific two keys on a digital oven.
Once re-calibrated, re-run the temperature test, and repeat the steps until the stove is close to the set temperature.
2. The Oven Won’t Turn On
If an oven doesn’t turn on, there are several possible reasons why. One of the most common causes for electric ovens not turning on is a faulty heating element. These elements are the coils at the bottom and top of the oven that create the heat needed for baking.
Turn the stove on and open the door to check whether a heating element is working. The heating elements should glow bright red or orange. If they’re not glowing, they may be burnt out, and there may also be visible signs of damage, such as blisters or holes.
A broken thermal fuse is another possible culprit when an oven will not turn on. The thermal fuse is a safety feature. When the stove overheats, the thermal fuse trips, and the stove shuts down.
To determine whether the thermal fuse has tripped requires testing its continuity using a multimeter. Or an appliance repair company can send a professional to test it and replace it if needed.
Once a thermal fuse has tripped, it cannot be repaired or reset. Install a new thermal fuse for the oven to work again.
It is also always a possibility that the oven has tripped a breaker or there is a blown fuse. This problem is easy to check for and remedy. However, if using the stove continues to trip breakers or blow fuses, an electrician will need to address the electrical problems.
Another possible area of concern is the temperature control thermostat. It regulates the temperature inside the oven. If this part breaks, it needs replacing.
Though a faulty oven control board is rarely the case, it can also cause an oven not to turn on. It is the part that controls all of the electrical workings of the oven.
3. The Oven Doesn’t Heat Evenly
An oven that doesn’t heat evenly is one of the most common problems. A simple test can determine whether this is true. Try baking a batch of cookies. If the cookies do not bake evenly, the stove is not heating evenly. A large sheet pan that fills much of the oven is ideal for this test.
Several problems can cause uneven heating in an oven. First, take a look at the heating elements in the oven and see if there are dark spots in the glowing red element. Another possible issue is that only one of the elements is working.
There should be one at both the top and bottom of the oven, and both of them should glow red while the oven is heating. If either the bake or broil element isn’t working, the oven will heat unevenly.
Sometimes, the heating elements have just come loose. When the oven is cool, try gently wiggling the elements. Sometimes, this motion is enough to reestablish the element’s connection with the power.
One easy-to-fix problem is if the oven sits unevenly. Use a bubble level to determine whether the oven is sitting evenly on the floor. If it’s not, adjust the front feet of the oven to make it sit levelly.
The fan can be another issue that causes uneven heating. If the fan sounds louder than usual or seems to be running more slowly than it usually does, it could be the cause of the uneven heating. When the stove is cool, try turning the fan by hand. If there is any resistance, the fan needs replacing.
4. The Oven Doesn’t Self-Clean
While an oven that won’t run its self-clean cycle is not a critical problem, it can be an annoyance. No one wants to scrub the inside of their oven by hand when it is supposed to clean itself. There are several possible causes for this malfunction.
One common reason for a self-clean function not working is that the door lock mechanism is not working. While the oven is running its self-cleaning cycle, the door automatically locks as a safety measure. Whether it’s because the lock pin is bent or misaligned or for some other reason, if the door is not able to lock, the self-clean cycle will not run.
The self-clean function will also not run if the oven temperature is too high. Allowing the oven to cool down for a while longer after cooking and before beginning the self-clean cycle will solve this problem.
A faulty safety thermostat is another possible culprit in an oven that won’t self-clean. This thermostat is what prevents the stove from overheating. A malfunctioning temperature sensor or cooling fan can cause a safety thermostat to trip. Some thermostats can be reset by pressing a small button or inserting a paperclip into a hole in the center. Check the owner’s manual for how to reset the safety thermostat.
Some of the reasons why an oven doesn’t turn on or heat also apply to the self-clean cycle. The stove cannot get hot enough to clean itself without a functioning heating element.
If the temperature sensor is not working correctly, it may read the temperature as too hot and shut the oven down. If the cooling fan is defective, the range can get too hot and trigger safety measures that shut it down before it’s clean.
It could also be as simple as not choosing the right option to activate the self-clean feature. Check the owner’s manual for information on starting the self-clean cycle.
What is the Expected Lifespan of an Oven?
An electric oven will last around 13 years on average. A gas oven will last slightly longer – 15 years on average. Like with any appliance, the more it is used, the more quickly it will wear out, but if it is around that age, it may be time to think about replacing it.
Is an Electric Oven Worth Repairing?
There comes a time when oven repair is no longer the best option. That time is often when it becomes more expensive to repair it than replace it. If the oven is reaching the end of its expected lifespan, or if it has been breaking down a lot, it may be time to replace it rather than fix it. Get a quote to determine the best course of action.