6 Reasons Why Your Gas or Electric Oven Isn't Heating
When it comes to cooking a meal, your oven is the heart of the operation. In this article, I am going to show you what to check if your oven won't heat up. We will discuss both electric and gas ovens.
Anytime that you are working with electrical wires, make sure you use proper procedure. Always consider your safety before attempting a repair on an appliance. Before you begin a project, make sure you are qualified to do so. When working with gas-powered appliances, always shut the gas off before attempting a repair.
How to Tell Your Oven Is Heating Completely
To determine if your oven is cooking at the correct temperature, all you have to do is get a basic temperature gauge that can withstand the oven temperature. Place it in the oven and set the oven to 350. Give it time to heat up and check if your oven is at the correct temperature or if it needs to be adjusted.
Finding Out Why Your Oven Isn't Heating Up
Six things to check:
1. The electric heating elements (baking and broiling).
2. The electric temperature sensor or bulb.
3. The gas ignitor at the back of the oven compartment.
4. Thermostat or selector switch.
5. Calibration dial.
6. The relays.
- The owner's manual for the oven.
- A multimeter. This will allow you to conduct a few simple tests. A multimeter reads both the amount of voltage or ohms that is traveling through wires.
1. One of the Heating Elements Is Defective
When an oven won't heat, the most likely problem is a defective heating element. An electric oven has two elements, one on the top for baking and one on the bottom for broiling. It's easy to tell when an element is burning out or not working: A functioning element glows bright red.
Here's what to do if your oven is warm, but not the correct temperature:
- Check the heating element you want to use. Sometimes when an oven is set at "prebake," both heating elements turn on. It's possible that one element is working and the other is not.
- If one element isn't working, you will need to replace it.
- If you install a new element and the oven still doesn't work, you may have an electrical issue. This is where your voltage meter will come in play. You will need to test the wires that lead to the heating element hook-up to the heating element. There could be a bad wire or loose connection that is causing your element to not work. See the illustration below for details about where to aim the voltage meter.
2. The Oven Temperature Sensor or Bulb Is Out
Many electrical ovens have a temperature sensor that monitors the oven temperature constantly. If the sensor becomes defective, the oven may not heat correctly. Most sensors have a digital display on the oven. Before you replace a sensor you believe is defective, make sure to check the oven elements and wires first.
Ovens that do not have a sensor use a temperature-sensing bulb to control the temperature of the oven. Make sure this bulb is not loose or burnt out.
3. Your Gas Oven's Ignitor Is Out
If your gas oven isn't heating correctly (or at all), check the bake ignitor first.
- Safety first! Pull your oven away from the wall and shut off the gas.
- The ignitor will be located at the back of the oven compartment. Remove the ignitor by unbolting it from the oven floor.
- Use your multimeter to detect continuity of power. Take one probe and place it on one terminal, then place the other probe on the second terminal. Your multimeter should register between 0-1100 ohms. If your multimeter does not register in this range, then your ignitor has lost continuity and needs to be replaced.
- You could have a bad gas safety valve also, so include that in your check also.
4. The Thermostat or Selector Switch Are Burnt Out
If your oven still isn't heating, check the thermostat and selector switch.
- The selector switch is what changes your settings, such as oven or broiler.
- The thermostat may be sticking or defective.
5. Your Oven Needs to Be Calibrated
If your oven is not at proper temperature, it may need to be calibrated. This can also help with ovens that run too hot.
- The calibration dial will be located on the back of your temperature knob or down at the bottom of the small shaft. You should be able to see an adjustment screw on the dial. This screw is where you can adjust the temperature. To increase the temperature of the oven, turn the screw counterclockwise. To decrease the oven temperature, turn the screw counterclockwise. In most ovens, a half of a turn should increase/decrease the oven temperature by 25 degrees.
6. Bad Relays
Another issue that can prevent an oven from heating is bad relays. If your oven has two heating elements, you probably have two relays. They can burn out over time. Refer to your owner's manual for proper instructions, as some may require a maintenance person to fix.