How To Fix an Electric Stove That Isn’t Working

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Electric stoves, alongside the oven, are the heart of the kitchen. In most households, they are probably used every day as a key part of creating the day’s main meal. So when they stop working it can cause a panic and become a massive inconvenience. 

Thankfully there are a few easy things you can troubleshoot yourself before you have to call in an expert. It is important to remember that before you start troubleshooting for any issue, you should always start by disconnecting the appliance from its power source. If you have recently been able to use your stove, then you will need to let it cool down completely, too, before you start your checks. 

Troubleshooting for a Electric Stove 

1. Check the Power Source Receptacle

It is common for oil, grease and moisture to accumulate in the power receptacle and over time, this can cause a problem. The most common issue is arcing, which is an electrical short that may appear harmless but will eventually damage the heating element. One preventative method is to ensure you are regularly cleaning the element tips inside the receptacle.

If it is too late and the damage has already been done, you will need to replace the heating element and power source receptacle. 

2. Check there are no loose or burnt wires

While you are checking the power receptacle, it is a good time to visually inspect the  other components too, remember to check all electrical wires. You should be on the lookout for any loose connection, fault, or other signs of damage. 

If there are no signs of damage, loose wires can be fixed by reconnecting them securely. If you do come across a damaged wire, check which component it is connected to, and ensure that it is not damaged and in need of replacing as well. 

All faulty or damaged wires will need to be replaced. 

3. Burned Out Heating Element

If your stove is turning on but not producing enough heat then the next thing to check for is the heating element. The selector switch works by controlling the flow of electricity to its designated heating element. After selecting the heat setting the element should heat up quickly. If this doesn’t happen, then it may be an indication of a burnt-out heating element.

Start by visually inspecting the heating element, and, if it is dirty, you will need to clean it first. It is recommended that you clean your heating element regularly. 

If you have a conventional stove burner, it will be easy for you to see signs of damage such as blistering or breaks. If you have a radiant burner, you will need to lift up the ceramic top to get a better view of the coils before you can inspect them.

Troubleshooting a plug-in element is simple because you just need to raise it a little bit before you can pull it out to inspect. Ensure you focus on the prongs when checking for signs of damage. 

If, after your inspection, you are still unable to find any damage or faults, then it is a good idea to test the element for continuity with a multimeter to be sure it is the component causing the problem. Once you are sure that the heating element is the issue and needs to be replaced, it is a simple fix. 

  1. Ensure you have ordered the correct heating element. 
  2. Disconnect your appliance from its power source. 
  3. Gently remove the broken burner element.
  4. Replace it by pushing the new heating element into the socket by carefully wiggling the ends into the socket as far as they will go.
  5. Ensure the element is sitting completely flat. 
  6. Reconnect the power to your stove. 
  7. Test it by turning on the stove and seeing if the new element heats up. 

4. Faulty Selector Switch

As mentioned above, each heating element has a selector switch that is dedicated to it. These switches regulate the voltage and, therefore the heat, as well as turning the elements on or off. 

While it can be a tedious process, you can test these switches by swapping their element with another one that is working. This will help you identify if it is the element or the switch is the issue. If it is in fact the switch that is causing the issue it will need to be replaced in order for your stove to work properly again. 

5. Replace the Plug-in Burner

GE and Kenmore are two of the most commonly-used brands that have plug-in burners in their electric cooktops. If the plug-in burner needs to be replaced, it should be done with care. 

To replace the plug-in burner, start by grabbing the outer coil and lifting to detach it. Once it has been removed, clean out any gunk that has been trapped underneath it. You can install the new burner by sliding the springs into the terminal receptacle and pushing it forward to lock and secure into place.

Note on Cleaning the Top Burner Coils

One way to help prevent issues such as your stove failing to heat up is to clean the top burners regularly. Before you go and start scrubbing, it is important to note they are fragile and can get damaged easily if not cleaned correctly. 

If you have a radiant burner you are in luck, they are easy to clean. Traditional burner coils, on the other hand, require a bit more attention. These cooktops will have parts protecting the electrical wires attached to the element. They also have metal drip bowls to catch any grime and food that is dropped. 

While cleaning the burner coils, you should be very careful not to allow the element and the plug to get wet. That can cause all sorts of damage that often requires an expert to fix.

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