Steamer Repair

This Fix-It Guide on steamer repair tells how a steamer works, what often goes wrong, how to identify a steamer problem, and what parts and tools you will need to fix it. It then gives simple step-by-step instructions for how to disassemble the appliance, how to test the heating element, and how to test the resistor. This Fix-It Guide can also be used for rice cooker repair. In addition, it refers to electrical receptacle repair, electrical cord repair, heating element repair, and how to service switch contacts.

How Does a Steamer Work?

A steamer is a small appliance designed to steam foods, primarily vegetables. A rice cooker is a steamer designed specifically for steaming rice, but many can be used to steam other foods as well. All steamers use enclosed heating elements. Some include a thermostat. Simple steamers have a rotary timer that turns off the elements after a set time. Other units have a sensor that knows when the water has boiled off in the pan and automatically switches to a lower heat setting.

What Can Go Wrong with a Steamer?

The electrical cord may need replacing. The heating element or resistor may be faulty. Switch contacts or other appliance controls may become dirty.

Fix-It Tip

Save the appliance owner’s manual. In addition to operating instructions and troubleshooting tips, some manuals include recipes.

How Can I Identify a Steamer Problem?


Obviously, a steam cooker makes steam. Don’t place a steam cooker under kitchen cabinets because excess steam can damage them.

What Do I Need for Steamer Repair?

 Rice Cooker/Steamer Repair

Spray contacts as needed with electrical contact cleaner.

Because steamers are simple in operation and inexpensive to replace, replacement parts may be difficult to find. First, try the manufacturer, then aftermarket suppliers. Larger hardware stores will have replacement cords and maybe some enclosed heating elements. Here are the tools you’ll need to fix a steamer/rice cooker:

  • Screwdrivers
  • Wrenches
  • Small file
  • Electrical contact cleaner
  • Multimeter

What Are the Steps to Steamer Repair?

Disassemble and test a steamer:

  1. Unplug the cooker from the electrical receptacle. If the appliance has a plug-in cord, remove it.
  2. Remove the cover and the pan.
  3. Turn the steamer over and remove the fasteners holding the base.
  4. As needed, test the heating element, resistor, and service switch contacts (see below).

Test a steamer heating element:

  1. Disconnect the heating wire from one terminal.
  2. Set the multimeter at RX1 (resistance times 1) scale to measure resistance.
  3. Touch the tester probes to the two terminals. The heating element is okay if the meter reads near zero ohms.

Test a steamer resistor:

  1. Remove the lead to the heating element.
  2. Set the multimeter at RX1 (resistance times 1) scale to measure resistance.
  3. Touch the tester probes to the two terminals. The resistor is okay if the meter reads approximately 20 ohms.

Test and service a steamer switch contact:

  1. Press down on the lever arm to verify that the switch contacts make full contact.
  2. If the switch does not make full contact, use a small file to file the contacts.
  3. As needed, spray the contacts with electrical contact cleaner.

Fix-It Tip

The best preventive maintenance is thoroughly cleaning the appliance after every use. Food buildup can cause avoidable mechanical and electrical problems.