Waffles are a treat at breakfast — if the waffle iron works. This Fix-It Guide on waffle iron repair tells how a waffle iron works, what often goes wrong with a waffle iron, how to identify a waffle iron problem, and what you need for waffle iron repair. It then gives simple step-by-step instructions for how to disassemble and test a waffle iron, how to adjust the heat control, and how to service the heat control. It also refers you to Fix-It Guides on related small appliance repairs as well as components. Breakfast is ready!
How Does a Waffle Iron Work?
Waffle irons are designed to cook waffle batter at changeable temperatures. In some units, the temperature control is permanently attached to the appliance; the unit cannot be immersed in water for cleaning. Those with removable controls often can be immersed with the controls detached. Some units with built-in controls have removable electric cords and some have built-in non-removable cords. Waffle irons have two cooking surfaces with internal heating elements; cooking temperature is regulated by a built-in thermostat. In some cases the elements are exposed (you can actually see them turn red hot) or covered (you can’t see the element, but you can feel the heat).
What Can Go Wrong with a Waffle Iron?
Many things can go wrong with a waffle iron. Fortunately, most of the units are relatively simple in design and simple to fix. For example, the electrical cord may malfunction. The heating element may be broken. The terminal pins on detachable cords may be faulty. The thermostat may malfunction. Internal wiring may have a short circuit. Other internal parts may be damaged or not working properly.
Make sure you read the waffle iron owner’s manual before trying to clean it. Some can be immersed in water (though typically not put in a dishwasher) while others have nonstick surfaces that only require wiping with a damp cloth. Don’t immerse any part of the unit in water unless the manufacturer says it’s okay.
How Can I Identify the Waffle Iron Problem?
In most cases, the problem is obvious. The cause of the problem may be a little more difficult to identify.
- If the appliance does not heat, make sure that power is on at the outlet and test the electrical cord; replace it if needed. If this doesn’t work, disassemble the unit and test the heating element.
- On appliances that have removable power cords, inspect the terminal pins (see below). Test the thermostat; if it doesn’t work properly, carefully use contact cleaner and a brush to remove any food residue.
- If the appliance heats on one side only, test each heating element and replace it if it is defective. While you have the unit open, check the internal wiring (see below).
- If the appliance does not heat to the proper temperature, check the thermostat contacts. Some waffle irons have an adjustment to reset the temperature ranges; you’ll need the owner’s manual to do this job.
The majority of problems with waffle irons are caused by excess food. Pancake batter is especially tough on controls, seeping into crevices, then cooking into a hard mass. As most waffle irons have a no-stick surface, make sure you clean the cooking surface with a small brush or other non-metallic tool.
What Do I Need for Waffle Iron Repair?
With basic tools and a multimeter you can test and replace many components on electric waffle irons. Replacement parts can be purchased from the appliance manufacturer or various aftermarket suppliers. These are the tools you’ll need:
- Small file
- Fine sandpaper
- Brass brush
- Contact cleaner
What Are the Steps to Waffle Iron Repair?
Disassemble and test a waffle iron:
- Unplug the unit from the electrical outlet.
- For waffle irons with a removable cord, use contact cleaner, fine sandpaper, a small file or emery board, or a brass brush to carefully clean the terminal pins located where the cord connects to the appliance.
- Remove screws and/or clips to access controls on the unit or the removable cord. Clean the controls with contact cleaner, sandpaper, or file, being careful not to damage them or loosen parts.
- Remove screws and/or clips to access the heating element. Use a multimeter to test for continuity and replace any faulty element.
- To adjust the heat control, follow the steps below.
- To service the heat control, follow the steps below.
Adjust the waffle iron heat control:
- Use a candy thermometer to verify the appliance’s actual heat against its indicated heat. Simply pour batter into the waffle iron, insert the thermometer and turn on the unit.
- Adjust the heat indicator on the control or adjust the temperature-adjustment screw (if available) to match the unit’s actual heat.
- Recheck the actual temperature against the indicated temperature and readjust as needed.
Service a waffle iron heat control:
- Unplug the waffle iron control and open the housing. Set a multimeter on RX1 (resistance times 1) and touch the thermostat terminals with the probes. In the on position, the meter should read near zero ohms.
- Clean any contacts to remove food or corrosion, then polish with fine sandpaper or steel wool. If the contacts have only a little debris, use contact cleaner or compressed air.
- If the waffle iron heat control still doesn’t work correctly, replace it with an exact replacement part.