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Oven not heating? It tends to happen at the worst times, whether right before family dinner or while baking cookies. When an oven doesn’t heat up, it usually means there’s a defective part. Identifying the right piece of your oven to replace can be a little difficult though. Fortunately, there are six common reasons why your oven won’t heat to the right temperature.
Why Your Oven’s Not Heating
In most cases, fixing an oven’s heating problems can be simple and take an hour or less. You don’t need many tools, and you can order replacement parts easily online. As a homeowner, you can save yourself some money by learning to fix an oven that won’t heat all on your own.
Before you get started, you’ll need two basic things:
- Oven owner’s manual
You may need other household tools depending on your oven model, age, and problem.
Need help finding a specific part or accessory to fix your oven? Odds are you can find them in this section of Amazon.
Defective Heating Element(s)
A defective heating element is the most common issue for an oven that won’t heat up. Electric ovens typically have two heating elements, one on the bottom and top. Discovering whether an element is working is as simple as looking at it.
Properly functioning heating elements turn bright red when in use. Depending on your oven, you might be able to check both heating elements by setting the oven to preheat or prebake.
If one or both heating elements fail to turn red, then you’ll need to replace them. If you’ve replaced the defective element and the oven still won’t heat, you may have an electrical issue. You can rule out an electrical problem by using your multimeter to test the wires that the heating element connects to.
To replace a defective heating element, follow these simple steps:
- Turn off the breaker to the oven and unplug it from the electrical socket, just in case.
- Locate and remove the screws that hold the element to the back of the oven.
- Carefully remove the old element(s).
- Connect the new heating element(s) to the electrical connectors (if applicable).
- Secure the new element to the back of the oven.
- Plug your oven into the electrical socket and switch the breaker on.
- Set the oven to bake mode. If it heats correctly, you’re done!
Here’s a short video guide to give you a rough overview of replacing a defective oven heating element.
Defective Temperature Sensor
Electric ovens usually have a temperature sensor that constantly monitors the interior temperature while the oven is in use. A defective sensor can cause the oven to fail to heat and maintain the proper temperature.
Related: Need to save on utility bills this summer? Check out these tips!
If your oven doesn’t seem to have a temperature sensor, looking for a temperature-sensing bulb instead. If the bulb is burnt out or loose, the oven won’t heat properly. Securing or replacing the bulb can be a simple fix that won’t cost you a fortune.
Defective Oven Igniter
If your gas oven isn’t heating up like it should, whether to the proper temperature or at all, a defective oven igniter might be the issue. Before you start your inspection and testing, make sure to pull the oven out to turn off the gas.
The igniter is usually towards the back of the oven. In most units, you can unbolt it from the oven floor without much of a hassle. Once the igniter is removed, pull out your multimeter. Place a probe in each terminal. If the multimeter doesn’t register below 1,100 ohms, the igniter needs to be replaced.
Dead Thermostat or Selector Switch
If your oven isn’t heating at all, a dead thermostat or selector switch could be the culprit. The thermostat controls the oven temperature, much like your home’s thermostat. If it’s sticking or defective, it won’t allow the oven to heat up. That can be bad news for your cookie plans!
A defective selector switch can prevent you from changing your oven’s settings. You’ll have to consult your owner’s manual to locate this part. Once you’ve found the selector switch, you can replace it. Pull the knob off and unscrew the selector switch beneath it.
In order to find the right replacement selector switch, you’ll need to know about your thermostat too. To find a selector switch online, all you need if your oven’s model number. Replace both the new selector switch and thermostat and make sure everything works as intended.
Bad Heating Element Relays
Bad heating element relays could be the cause of an oven failing to heat properly. The number of heating element relays will be the same as the number of heating elements. If your oven has two heating elements, for example, it will have two relays as well.
Much like the heating elements, the relays can go bad over time. Unfortunately, not all ovens are built the same. As a result, replacing the bad heating element relays could be extremely difficult. You won’t know if that’s the case until you consult your oven owner’s manual though. If you aren’t confident you can replace the relays on your own, it’s best to hire a handyman to handle the repair.
If your oven’s not warming up to the right temperature, it may just be improperly calibrated. Check your owner’s manual to find the calibration dial on your specific model oven. Once you’ve found the dial, you should be able to adjust the temperature using the screw. Turning the screw counterclockwise will decrease the oven’s temperature and vice versa.
Typically, turning the calibration dial half a turn will adjust the oven’s temperature by 25 degrees. It may take a little fine tuning; properly calibrating your oven is a bit of trial and error.
Conclusion: Oven Not Heating
Identifying why your oven’s not heating doesn’t require an expensive professional. Under most circumstances, you don’t need to buy a brand new oven either. A new part can significantly extend the life of your own. For example, my first home was built in 1969. As of 2019, it still had the original General Electric oven. It just goes to show that a little elbow grease can go a long way in extending the life of your primary kitchen appliances!
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