Slow cookers, also called crock pots, are simple yet ingenious devices for people on the go. This Fix-It Guide on slow cooker repair tells how a slow cooker works, what often goes wrong, how to identify a slow cooker problem, and what parts and tools you will need to fix it. It then gives simple step-by-step instructions for how to disassemble and test a slow cooker. This Fix-It Guide also refers to electrical receptacle repair, electrical cord repair, heating element repair, appliance controls repair, and more for more help on slow cooker repair.
How Does a Slow Cooker 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 with a Slow Cooker?
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 a Slow Cooker Problem?
- If the slow cooker doesn’t heat, first make sure the power is on at the electrical receptacle. Check the electrical cord. Check the heating element and the appliance controls.
- If the cooker has a thermostat, service it as you would a switch. Test the heating element and replace it if it is faulty.
- If the cooker heats on one temperature only, test the switch and the thermostat. Test the heating element and replace as needed.
- If the cooker overheats, check the thermostat and replace it if it is 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 Do I Need for Slow Cooker Repair?
Replacement parts are available through the manufacturer or a small appliance parts store. The tools you’ll need for dis-assembly and testing include these:
What Are the Steps to Slow Cooker Repair?
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.