Troubleshooting Burner Problems on Your Electric Cooktop

If you have an electric cooktop, it is a trusted way that you cook food. However, there may come points where your electric cooktop doesn’t work as reliably. This is frustrating, but depending on your problem, it can be something that is easy for you to troubleshoot. Whether it is one burner not working or all of the burners, here is what you should look for in order to make the right repair to get your stove up and running.

What to Test When No Burners Work

The electric cooktop was designed so that each burner is a separate entity. While there are some parts that can malfunction which will affect all the burners, typically most problems only cause one burner not to work. However, if all burners on an electric cooktop are not functioning, this is usually an indicator of some overall electrical malfunction.

Inspecting the Power Source

When all burners are not functioning, the first thing you will want to check is the electrical source to the stove. Some cooktops may be plugged into the outlet in the wall while others may be hardwired to your circuit breaker.

If your stove plugs into an outlet, you will first want to make sure that the plug is actually plugged in. There are times in which it may come unplugged for various reasons or the plug has come loose. A halfway plugged in stove will not get the electrical current it needs and may result in non-function. If the plug was securely plugged in, your next step should be to test the outlet. If there is no electrical current to the outlet or it is not at the levels that it should be, your stove will not function. This means the repair needs to be to the outlet itself rather than your stovetop.

For electric cooktops that are hardwired to the circuit breaker. Instead of checking any outlet, you will want to check the circuit breaker itself. Make sure the switch in your circuit breaker to your stove is in the “on” position and check for any blown fuses. If this indeed is the cause for your stove not functioning, you will also want to investigate how the breaker got flipped in the first place, as it can be a sign of other issues.

Inspecting the Power Cord

Similar to the power sources in your home, if there is a fault in your power cord that connects the stovetop, it will interrupt function to your stove. A power cord can be tested easily for continuity. However, what you will also want to inspect is the connections to the terminal block inside your electric cooktop.

To connect your power cord to the rest of your appliance, wires run from the cord and are connected to a terminal block. A visual inspection should be able to tell you if they are faulty or not. You may be able to spot loose connections, corrosion, or other damage that will interfere with proper operation.

Be sure to shut off electricity to your stovetop before testing the cord and the terminals. Your cord can be tested as a whole with a multimeter and you can test each connection at the terminal as well to find faults.

What to Test When Only One Burner Doesn’t Work

When it comes to problems with your electric cooktop, it is far more likely that one of your burners will stop functioning rather than all of the burners at the same time. Unfortunately, unlike all burners ceasing to function, it often means there is something wrong with the cooktop and its parts rather than an outside electrical issue. So while you may not need to make a repair if all the burners stopped, it is very likely you will need to when this problem manifests.

Inspecting the Heating Element

Each burner comes with its own heating element and its own connections to the stove overall. Your first step when one burner is not working should be to test that heating element. You will first want to make sure that the heating element is seated securely. The coils are plugged into a connector, and if that connection is loose, the element may not function. If the connectors on the end of the coil are bent or damaged, the heating coil will need to be replaced. You can also test these connectors with a multimeter to assure that they are still functioning.

If the heating coil itself checks out, your next step should be to test the terminal that those connections plug into. Using a multimeter, check to see if they still have continuity. If not, then the terminal itself will need to be replaced.

Inspecting the Burner Switch

Like each of your burners has a separate heating coil, so, too, does it have a separate burner control switch. This switch is responsible for controlling the flow of electricity. If the switch has gone faulty, you may find that no electricity flows to the coils, and thus no heat is produced. Alternatively, a faulty burner control switch can also manifest in the burner only functioning on the high setting because it lets too much electricity flow to the heating element.

Before testing the burner control switch, be sure to shut the power off to your electric cooktop via either unplugging it from the outlet or shutting off the electricity to the appliance from your circuit breaker.

The burner control switch for the faulty burner is typically located behind the control knob. Reaching this switch can vary depending on the style of your electric cooktop. You may want to consult your owner’s manual in order to find out how exactly to reach this part through disassembly.

Once accessed, you can trace the wires from the faulty burner to the burner control switch. It can then be tested for continuity. You may or may not see visible damage as the cause. Sometimes switches can just go out after years of use. However, replacing it is as simple as disconnecting the wires and reconnecting them to a new switch.