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DIY Oven Element Troubleshooting And Repair

If you own a home, then you likely consider the appliances in your house to be essential to everyday life. This is especially true of your oven if you cook family dinners on a daily basis. The appliance is likely to cost you a few hundred to a few thousand dollars when purchased new, with installation costing an extra $100 to $ 250. If you splurge for one of the more costly ovens, then you certainly do not want to replace the appliance if it suddenly breaks on you. Repairing the oven is a much more cost effective alternative, and the information in this article can help you to troubleshoot an oven burner that is not working properly.

Test the Broiler

Many ovens, especially the more costly ones, have two different sets of elements within the oven. These elements are made out of either nichrome or a steel alloy, and they allow the oven to both bake and broil the food placed inside. The elements have two different prongs or legs on the back that secure into a type of plug. This plug supplies energy to the element so it can be turned into heat. Sometimes, there is something wrong with the element or the plug part of the oven. You can test to see if this is the case by turning on the broiler to see if it comes on.

If the broiler comes on, then unplug your oven and gently press the non-working oven element into the plug piece. Sometimes, elements wiggle loose from their regular position and this stops either the right or left side of the device from making contact with the electrodes in the plug. This interrupts the electrical circuit that allows electricity to flow through the element. After pushing in the element, plug the oven in and turn it on.

Inspect the Element

If pushing the element in does not work, then unplug your oven and remove the element for inspection. A light tug on the piece will usually release it from the plug port. Once it is removed, look along the metal for signs of excessive wear and tear. Bubbles, obvious breaks, cracks, oxidation, and burn marks may mean that the element is no longer functional. You can test for function by securing a multimeter device to each end of the heating element. This tests for electrical continuity. Some multimeters will beep to inform the user that there is good continuity, while others will show a specific ohm reading. Consult the multimeter manual to see how the device works. 

If the multimeter indicates that there is poor continuity across the element, then you will need to replace it. Fortunately, oven elements are usually quite inexpensive. However, the parts come in different shapes and sizes, so make sure to consult with an oven parts supplier to make sure you are buying the right part.

Check the Fuses

If your previous broiler test indicates that the broiler and the oven elements are not working, then there may be an issue with the fuses connected to these parts. Many newer ovens have separate fuses connected to the burner and oven elements. These fuses help to keep the oven safe by detecting the amount of electrical current or voltage that flows to each burner. If the voltage exceeds normal levels, then the fuse will interrupt the electricity running to the oven or stovetop to prevent a fire from occurring. 

To check oven fuses, you will need to look at the owner's manual that came with your oven. The manual usually contains an electrical diagram that shows where the fuses are located. You may need to remove the back cover from the oven, so unplug the appliance, remove the cover, and look for the fuses. Gently pull on them and look through the clear plastic to see if the metal pieces inside are burned or broken. If they are, replace the blown fuses. If not, replace the fuses and think about contacting a repair specialist or an oven parts supplier to help you locate the oven problem. 

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