Slow cookers (sometimes known by the brand-name Crock Pot) are simple yet ingenious devices for people on the go. You just can’t get slow-cooked flavor from a microwave. Slow cookers can be turned on in the morning and offer hot chili, Swiss steak, or another satisfying meal for dinner. Because they are so simple, there is little that can go wrong with them. Let’s take a look inside.
How Does It Work?
A slow cooker is a small appliance with a ceramic pot, a heating element, and a metal shell for slow cooking foods in liquid. The wire element made of Nichrome encircles the metal liner that transfers heat to the crock. The tight lid and low, steady temperatures reduce evaporation and promote thorough cooking. Most slow cookers have a removable pot for easier cleaning–and easier access to internal parts.
What Can Go Wrong?
Actually, little can go wrong with this simple appliance. The cord can need replacing. The thermostat, heating element, and switch can be faulty. And the crock can crack.
Most slow cookers have a maximum power rating of less than 300 watts, making them relatively safe to leave on all day or overnight. However, make sure the unit is placed on a surface that can withstand spills–just in case contents boil over.
How Can I Identify the Problem?
If the cooker overheats, check the thermostat and replace if faulty.
If the cooker leaks, check the crock for cracks and replace the crock or cooker as needed.
Slow cookers are inexpensive to replace compared to buying a replacement heating element or controls. If these components are faulty, try repairing them yourself before buying a new element or controls. If the element or controls are damaged beyond repair, it may be most cost-effective to buy a new slow cooker.
What Parts, Materials, and Tools Do I Need?
What Are the Steps to Fixing It?
Disassemble and test a slow cooker:
- Unplug the appliance from the electrical receptacle.
- Remove the pot, inspect it for cracks and replace the pot if necessary.
- Turn the unit over and remove the base that is held on by screws, clips, or nuts.
- With the base off, remove wire connectors and test the electrical cord.
- Access and disconnect the electrical leads to the heating element(s) and test.
- Replace the electrical cord or heating elements as needed and reassemble.