Why Is My Oven Not Heating Up?
John Turpin is our resident home service repair expert here at Service Direct. He’s got the knowledge and experience to help homeowners like you make sense of most home repair issues. And with Service Direct, we connect you with top-tier service professionals to help with any repairs needed.
The Most Common Gas & Electric Oven Issues
Have you noticed things are taking longer to bake? Are your roasts not quite cooked in the center or has your oven stopped heating all together?
Generally speaking, ovens are pretty simple machines at their core but issues with them can still arise over time, especially if the oven is used a lot. Before you reach for the phone to schedule an appliance repair appointment, John Turpin, our in-house home appliance service and repair pro might be able to help with the following DIY info and tips. But, before you break out the toolbox, let’s take a crash course in safety and how ovens work.
It’s absolutely critical to always take appropriate safety precautions. When working with flammable gas and high voltage electric appliances, be mindful of your technical and legal limitations.
Repairs to the devices themselves are generally allowed in all US jurisdictions, however working on the gas and power sources often require professional training and licensing.
Before you begin any work on appliances yourself, always shut off the main gas and/or power source. If you feel uncomfortable or are unsure how to proceed, remember we have a nationwide network of dependable, qualified service professionals ready to help. Contact us anytime to connect with a local appliance repair expert.
Overview of Ovens & Their Components
The four most common household oven types you will encounter are toaster, convection, electric and gas ovens.
Although at first glance these might all seem different, they fall into one of two main categories, gas and electric. With a few exceptions both these oven types are made up of similar key components, including a main control (or switch) board, temperature sensor, broil element, as well as a baking element. Convection ovens have an additional convection fan (sometimes supplemented with a third heating element) at the back of the unit. This fan circulates air around for a more even heat distribution, resulting in faster and more consistent cooking.
Now that you have an overview of the key components that make up your oven, the following is a troubleshooting summary guide for handy homeowners to fast track diagnosis. For more detailed information, skip down to the full outline by scrolling or by clicking the section headings.
1. Power Supply
Start by turning it off and on again. Now, check breakers, fuses, plugs and wall sockets. Seemingly obvious, these are among the most common causes of appliance failure.
2. User Manual
Owner manuals contain helpful troubleshooting and maintenance info specific to your particular oven. Here you can also check the descriptions of error codes.
3. Control or Switch Board
Oven control or switch boards could be the problem, especially if it your oven’s not displaying any information or codes. Using a multimeter, you can check if the board is receiving current.
Incorrect temperature readings will prevent the control board from regulating heat properly. Make sure the thermostat is free and not touching the side of the oven.
5. Oven Calibration
When temperature sensing bulbs are incorrect by less than 50 degrees, refer to the user guide to recalibrate the oven thermostat. Cracked or leaking components need replacing.
6. Faulty Heating Elements
Gas and Electric elements both wear out over time. Before ordering new ones, look for visible damage to the igniter and electric element wiring.
John’s DIY tips for homeowners can save you time and money troubleshooting your oven whether you end up needing a repair specialist or not.
In-depth Oven Not Heating Reasons & Troubleshooting
Now that you have an overview of the key components that make up your oven, let’s look a bit more closely at how each component affects your oven’s ability to heat up properly. Depending on the issue you may be able to resolve it yourself, if not, schedule an appointment with one of our local experts.
1. Power Supply Issue
Although simple, a tripped breaker, blown fuse, loose plug or dead socket could be the cause of your oven not heating. The most common resolution for electronic issues are “plugging it in” as well as “turning it off and on again” so you may as well try these first.
Both gas and electric ovens rely on electricity to operate their control boards and regulate heat delivery to their respective elements. As such, the first thing to do is check your breaker box and verify dedicated kitchen or oven breakers are still in the “on” position. If everything looks in order, the issue might be related to a blown fuse or the power outlet, which you can test using a voltage meter. Provided there is current and/or readings are above 200 volts, the problem is likely elsewhere.
2. Consult the User Manual
From basic to cutting edge high-tech, you’d be surprised at all the practical information buried in your appliance owners guide.
Before troubleshooting your oven, check the user manual for any maintenance or repair guidance. Some ovens will display fault codes that indicate what and where the problem is. Depending on the issue, a simple reset might do the trick. If this doesn’t help, or your display is faulty, move onto the next section.
3. Control or Switch Board
Depending on the brand and type of oven you have, it will use either a digital control board or analog switches to control the heat elements, cooking timer and other components that regulate the oven.
Newer, more high tech and expensive brands including Bosch, KitchenAid, Miele, Samsung and Whirlpool are more likely to implement digital control boards. They offer advanced features like automated self-cleaning and presettings that simplify the baking and cooking process.
Higher sophistication means more complex circuitry as well as higher number of potential failure points. In contrast, simpler designs more commonly found in older units of brands like Amana, Frigidaire, GE, HotPoint and Maytag have fewer features but also less points of failure.
Regardless which type your oven uses, the main purpose of this component is to communicate between and send energy (gas and/or electricity) to the other components. You can verify the flow of electric current using a multimeter. If a display has stopped working altogether, it will need to be replaced. However, if it appears to be working normally, the next point of failure to consider is the thermostat.
4. Thermostat or Temperature Sensor
Regardless of whether your oven’s control board is digital or analogue, a functioning thermostat is required to manage the temperature accurately.
The control board relies on the thermostat and/or temperature sensor bulb to determine how much gas or electricity needs to be delivered to the relevant heating elements to maintain the desired temperature.
First, ensure your thermostat is not touching the oven wall, which can lead to distorted readings. Next, using a multimeter, you can check that the oven thermostat is in fact receiving power. If not, you may have a wiring issue or a faulty thermostat that needs replacing.
5. Oven Calibration (Thermostat Sensing Bulb)
Thermostat sensing bulbs (mostly found in gas ovens) are filled with liquid that expands with heat to mechanically operate thermostat contacts and regulate energy delivery to the elements.
If a bulb is more than 50 degrees out of calibration or if it’s damaged or leaking, it will need replacement. Place a cooking thermostat in your preheated oven and compare the temperature reading to your displayed setting. The bulb’s sensor works electrically, so you can check it for faults by measuring its resistance using a multimeter. At room temperature a measurement of approximately 1,100 Ohms is expected. If the reading is significantly off a replacement is in order.
If the thermostat appears to be working, it may just require recalibration. Referring to the user manual will help you locate exactly where to find the calibration dial (usually below the small shaft or behind the temperature knob). Once located, tightening or loosening the screw will adjust the thermostat as required.
6. Faulty Heating Elements
Unless you have a convection oven, most ovens usually have a heating element at the top, often referred to as a broil element, and another one at the bottom, commonly known as the baking element.
To check whether they are working, set your oven to preheat for baking which should send power or gas to both elements simultaneously.
On an electric oven you are looking for the elements to transition from dark to a bright red-orange glow. If one or both of the elements are struggling to reach temperature, they might be due for replacement. Similarly, if either of them aren’t heating up at all, the issue could also be related to the wiring that delivers power to the respective element. Loose or burnt power supply wires will usually appear visibly damaged near the heat source. Remember to always switch off the main power before touching any appliance wiring and be sure to get the necessary advice and professional help as needed.
Gas elements are slightly different in that heating issues could be related to the gas feed or the igniter. If you smell gas that hasn’t ignited in over 10 seconds, turn off the oven and contact a certified repair specialist for help. The problem is most likely related to the igniter and it is best to be cautious to avoid danger or injury. Otherwise, weak or absent flames could be caused by blockages in the lines or the burners themselves as well as faults with the mechanical valve that regulates gas flow to the elements. As always, it is critical to turn off gas and electricity mains before replacing parts.
Common Outlet Wiring & Repair FAQs
Which oven brands do your appliance repair technicians service?
Our trusted technicians should be able to fix most brands of ovens, including the following:
When do I need a license to work on my oven?
Gas and Electricity can be dangerous. Unless you are trained and qualified you should never conduct maintenance or repairs to mains. If you’re unsure, contact a professional.
The control panel is displaying an error code, what should I do?
Some modern ovens are quite high-tech with many different preset cook/bake settings and automatic self-cleaning features. Refer to the user manual for details about the particular code, suggested next steps, or how to clear the error codes.
When is it safe to work on a faulty oven myself?
Provided you take the necessary safety precautions and feel comfortable, swapping out elements, igniters, wires and control panels on your oven can be a DIY project you could undertake.
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