Electric Oven Repair

Electric ovens on electric ranges have become more sophisticated, but you can still perform several electric oven repairs. This Fix-It Guide on electric oven repair tells how an electric oven works, what often goes wrong, how to identify an electric oven problem, and what parts and tools you will need to fix it. It then gives simple step-by-step instructions for how to test and replace an electric oven element, how to test and replace the temperature control, how to test and replace an electric oven selector switch, how to calibrate oven temperature, how to service an oven door, how to replace oven gaskets, and how to replace door-mounted gaskets. Also see the Electric Cooktop Fix-It Guide, the Gas Oven Fix-It Guide, and the Gas Cooktop Fix-it Guide.

How Does an Electric Oven Work?

An electric oven is a baking chamber. It’s either part of an electric range or a standalone appliance without the cooktop. It is a 240/120-volt circuit–240 volts for the heating elements and 120 volts for the accessories. A thermostat senses and regulates oven temperature. Time and temperatures are regulated by an electric timer motor or by a digital controller. Most electric ovens have two heating elements, the main one on the bottom of the chamber and another one on the top, typically used for broiling.

What Can Go Wrong with an Electric Oven?

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Components of a typical electric oven and cooktop.

One or both oven elements may burn out. The temperature control may malfunction. The oven selector switch may not work properly. The capillary tube (the tube attached to the oven wall that senses the temperature in the oven and activates the control that adjusts the temperature) may be out of adjustment. The temperature control may not be accurate. The door may not close properly. Refer to your owner’s manual and be sure not to void any warranty.

Caution!

In self-cleaning ovens, the capillary tube contains a caustic fluid. Wear rubber gloves and handle it gently.

How Can I Identify an Electric Oven Problem?

  • If the oven does not heat at all, make sure a fuse has not blown or a circuit breaker tripped at the electrical service panel and test the electrical cord. Test the oven heating element (see below), test the temperature control (see below), and check the oven selector switch (see below).
  • If the oven doesn’t hold the selected temperature, check the capillary tube and test or recalibrate the temperature control (see Calibrate oven temperature below).
  • If the self-cleaning cycle doesn’t work, re-close and re-lock the door, test the oven element (see below), test the temperature control (see below), and test the oven selector switch (see below).
  • If the oven door does not close properly, adjust the door or replace the springs (see below). If necessary, replace the door gasket (see below).

What Do I Need for Electric Oven Repair?

Replacement parts for an electric oven are available from the manufacturer and aftermarket suppliers as well as from local appliance parts suppliers. The tools you will need to fix an electric oven include these:

  • Screwdrivers
  • Wrenches
  • Nut driver
  • Crimp-on terminals
  • Oven thermometer
  • Safety goggles
  • Plastic scraper
  • Rubber gloves
  • Multimeter

What Are the Steps to Fixing an Electric Oven?

Caution!

An electric oven is a 240-volt appliance that can deliver a fatal shock. Always turn off power to the heater at the electrical service panel before beginning work, and verify that power has been shut off. Make sure others in the house know not to restore electricity prematurely. If you have any doubt as to whether electricity has been turned off, seek professional assistance.

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Remove fasteners attaching the element to the oven.

Test and replace an electric oven element:

  1. Unplug the oven or turn off power at the electrical service panel.
  2. Remove the screws or nuts that fasten the element to the back of the oven.
  3. Unscrew any support brackets and pull the element forward to expose the wiring.
  4. Remove the wires from the element terminals, being careful not to bend the terminals or let the wires fall back through the opening.
  5. Carefully remove the element from the oven.
  6. Inspect the wire terminals for burns or damage and replace if needed.
  7. Set a multimeter to RX1 (resistance times 1) and touch probes to each of the terminals. The meter should show continuity. If it doesn’t, the element should be replaced
  8. Use the same RX1 range to test for continuity to ground with one probe on a terminal and the other on the element. If the needle moves, there is a grounding problem and the element should be replaced.
  9. If you replace the element, make sure it is of the same size, shape, and resistance as recommended by the manufacturer. Reinstall in reverse order.

Test and replace an electric oven temperature control:

  1. Unplug the oven or turn off power at the electrical service panel.
  2. Open the oven control panel by removing fasteners or clips around the perimeter. If any of the terminals appear discolored or burned, replace the temperature control (steps 7 through 9 below).
  3. If the control has more than two terminals, identify which terminals to test, using the diagram located on the rear panel, inside the storage drawer or control panel, or in the owner’s manual.
  4. Set a multimeter to RX1 (resistance times 1). Disconnect one wire from the terminals being tested, and clip on the tester probes. Set the oven temperature dial to 300°F.
  5. If the multimeter doesn’t indicate continuity, replace the control following steps 7 through 9, below.
  6. Remove the capillary tube from its supports in the oven and push it through the rear wall. Then, from the back of the range, pull the tube out of the oven.
  7. Unscrew the two temperature control screws in the front and remove the control from the back of the range.
  8. Label and disconnect the wires, replace any burned wire connectors.
  9. Connect the new control and screw it in place. Push the capillary tube through the back and into the oven, then clip it to its supports.

Test and replace an electric oven selector switch:

  1. Unplug the oven or turn off power at the electrical service panel.
  2. Open the control panel (see above) and set a multimeter to RX1 (resistance times 1). Disconnect one wire from each pair of terminals being tested, and check for continuity in each position.
  3. To replace the switch, remove any screws from the front of the control panel and pull the switch out the back. Label and disconnect the wires.
  4. Replace the switch with an exact replacement part.

Calibrate electric oven temperature:

Fix-It Tip

Some ovens have a calibration ring on the back of the temperature-control knob. On others, temperature adjustments are made with a screw inside the control-knob shaft. If the capillary tube touches the oven wall, reposition it on its support clips. If the capillary tube is damaged, replace it and the temperature control switch with exact replacement parts.

  1. Test oven temperature with an oven thermometer in the oven and by setting the temperature control to 350°F. Wait 20 minutes, then check the temperature every 10 minutes for the next 40 minutes and calculate the average.
  2. If the result is off by less than 25°F, the control is normal. If it is off by 25° to 50°, recalibrate the temperature control with the following two steps. If the temperature is off by 50° or more, replace the control.
  3. Remove the oven control knob.
  4. If the knob has a ring with marks indicating decrease and increase, loosen the screws and turn the knob to move the ring in the appropriate direction, then re-tighten the screws.
  5. If there is no ring, hold the control shaft still with adjustable pliers. Insert a thin screwdriver, and chip away the factory seal. Then turn the inside screw clockwise to raise the temperature or counterclockwise to lower it. A one-eighth turn should adjust the temperature about 25°.

Service an electric oven door:

  1. To fix a cocked door, open the door and loosen the screws securing the inner panel. Hold the door at the top and twist it from side to side to seat it securely on its hinges.
  2. Partially tighten the door screws; do not over-tighten screws on a porcelain door because the surface may chip.
  3. Test the seal by inserting a piece of paper between the seal and the top corners of the oven. The seal should tightly grip the paper.
  4. To replace cabinet-mounted springs, remove the storage drawer and the oven door. Unhook and replace the springs. Replace both springs even if only one is broken.
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Some oven door gaskets are clipped in place with a special fastener.

Replace electric oven gaskets:

  1. Unplug the oven or shut off power at the electrical service panel and pull the oven away from the wall.
  2. Remove the gaskets by unscrewing or un-clipping any retainers.
  3. Locate and loosen the oven liner bolts from the back of the unit.
  4. Partially remove the oven liner by rocking it back and forth. Disconnect the gasket from between the liner and the cabinet.
  5. Place the new gasket behind the oven liner rim.
  6. Reinstall the oven liner and reattach it to the back of the oven.

Replace electric oven door-mounted gaskets:

Fix-It Tip

On self-cleaning ovens, the gasket is held between the panels of the oven door and can be replaced only by taking the door apart.

  1. Unscrew the door hinge arms and remove the door.
  2. Remove inner panel and edge screws as needed. You may need to carefully bend tabs to remove the cover.
  3. Remove any screws holding the window assembly to the panel.
  4. Remove the window assembly to reveal the gasket attachment.
  5. Remove the gasket between the window assembly and the inner door panel.
  6. Install the new gasket in reverse order or by following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Fix-It Tip

To adjust a loose-fitting gasket, use your fingers or the tip of a plastic scraper to wedge the excess between the door panel and the window assembly. Starting at the top of the door, push the gasket in, tightening the screws as you go.

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