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Kitchen Ranges

Unreliable Oven Temperature
Electric Ranges
Gas Ranges
Keeping the Right Flame

Troubleshooting Electric Ranges
The range is not working at all
One of the top elements doesn't heat
A top element doesn't cook well
You can't get the oven to heat
The top rear element doesn't heat
The oven doesn't hold the temperature you set
The oven lamp doesn't work
The timer doesn't work
The oven door won't stay shut
Condensation forms inside the oven
The accessory receptacle on the control doesn't work
The oven stops self-cleaning

Troubleshooting Gas Ranges
A surface burner doesn't light
The pilot flame doesn't remain lighted
A burner is burning erratically
Oven stops lighting
Oven heats poorly
Things bake unevenly in the oven
Oven overheats
Burners are producing soot
You smell gas

 

A kitchen range has electric elements or gas burners that provide heat to the cooktop and oven. Most gas ranges also have some electric features, such as a clock and lights, and sometimes an electric pilot.

  • If your electric range or the electrical parts of your gas range don't work, first check the fuse or circuit breaker.
  • Be sure the power cord and terminal block on a freestanding range aren't defective. Replace them if necessary.

Unreliable Oven Temperature

Unreliable oven temperature is a common complaint. The thermostat that maintains oven temperature is part of the oven control. If the thermostat fails, have the entire control replaced. But if it's only out of calibration, you may be able to adjust it.

  • To gauge the problem, place an accurate oven thermometer in the center of a 350 degree oven.
  • After 20 minutes, check the reading.
  • If it's more than 100 degrees too high or too low, replace the control.
  • If the difference is less than 100 degrees, pull the oven control knob off and locate the calibration screw-either inside the hollow control shaft or on a movable disc on the back of the knob.
  • Tighten or loosen the screw; keep testing until the temperature is correct.

Electric Ranges

The cooktop heating elements of most modern electric ranges simply plug into a receptacle, allowing for easy cleaning or replacement. The same is true of the baking and broiling elements.

  • In some ovens, you'll need to unscrew the brackets from the oven wall and then unplug the element.
  • You may need to pull gently forward and then remove the wires from the terminals.
  • Finally, lift out the element.
  • If an element isn't working, check for breaks or bubbles on the smooth surface of the element.
  • Also check for corrosion on the terminals, as well as for broken connections and scorched wires or insulation near the element receptacle.
  • Safety Tip: Turn off the power to the range or, if necessary, to the entire circuit before making any electrical checks or repairs.

Gas Ranges

Whether on the cooktop or in the oven, a gas burner that doesn't work may lead you to a pilot that has gone out. Pilots may be gas or electric (in the latter, a spark ignites the gas). Both types are easily relighted (see your owner's manual). A gas pilot that continually goes out calls for cleaning and adjusting and perhaps gas company help.

Keeping the Right Flame

The flame of a cooktop or oven burner should be a bright, steady blue. If it's not, you'll need to change the air-gas ratio by adjusting the burner's air shutter.

  • To reach the shutter for a cooktop burner, lift off the cooktop.
  • You can adjust an oven burner's shutter from the compartment under the oven.
  • If the flame is jumpy, loosen the screw securing the shutter and gradually close it until the flame burns properly.
  • If the flame is a mixture of blue, yellow, and white, increase the air supply by gradually opening the shutter.
  • When the flame is properly adjusted, tighten the screw.
  • CAUTION: If you smell gas and the pilots are lighted, get out of the house immediately and call the gas company from a neighbor's house.
  • Be sure to turn off the power to a gas range if you'll be working on its electrical parts.


Troubleshooting Electric Ranges

The range is not working at all.

Check for:

  • No power reaching the range.

Remedies:

  • Check the fuse box/circuit breaker.
  • If you don't find a problem, call an electrician.

One of the top elements doesn't heat.

Check for:

  • Defective element, wiring, terminal block or switch.

Remedy:

  • Check each part for continuity and replace it if necessary.

A top element doesn't cook well.

Check for:

  • Wrong sized pan.
  • Damaged element.
  • Defective element, wiring, thermostat or selector switch.
  • The time is not set properly.
  • Defective timer.

Remedies:

  • Use flat-bottomed pans that just cover the element.
  • Replace the element.

You can't get the oven to heat.

Check for:

  • The oven is in its self-cleaning cycle.

Remedy:

  • The extremely high power requirement during cleaning may prevent the stove from working.

Remedies:

  • Check each part for continuity and replace any that are defective.
  • Reread the instructions and reset it.
  • Replace the timer.

The top rear element doesn't heat.

Check for:

The oven overheats.

  • Clogged vent.

Remedy:

  • Clean the vent.

The oven doesn't hold the temperature you set.

Check for:

  • Damaged door gasket.
  • Thermostat isn't calibrated correctly.

Remedies:

  • Replace the gasket.
  • Call a qualified contractor.

The oven lamp doesn't work.

Check for:

  • Burnt out bulb.
  • Defective switch or wiring to the bulb socket.

Remedies:

  • Replace the burnt out bulb with the same type of oven bulb.
  • Test the wiring and switch and replace defective parts.

The timer doesn't work.

Check for:

  • Incorrectly set timer.
  • Blown fuse in timer.
  • Loose connections.
  • Damaged timer.

Remedies:

  • Check the instructions and reset it.
  • Check the 15-amp fuse in the timer circuit.
  • Turn the power off and check the other connections for continuity.
  • Replace the timer.

The oven door won't stay shut.

Check for:

  • Defective hinge or spring.

Remedy:

  • Replace the defective pan.

Condensation forms inside the oven.

Check for:

  • Clogged vent.
  • The door doesn't close properly.
  • The oven doesn't preheat properly.

Remedies:

  • Clean the vent. If there is an air filter, clean or replace it.
  • Check the gasket and door hinge springs.
  • Preheat the oven with the door ajar.

The accessory receptacle on the control doesn't work.

Check for:

  • Blown fuse.
  • Defective wiring.

Remedies:

  • Check the 15-amp fuse in the accessory circuit.
  • Check the wiring and replace any damaged wires.

The oven stops self-cleaning.

Check for:

  • Unlocked door.
  • Defective door switch, wiring or thermostat.

Remedies:

  • Try starting over again.
  • Call a qualified contractor.


Troubleshooting Gas Ranges

A surface burner doesn't light.

Check for:

  • The pilot light is out.
  • The gas isn't on.

Remedies:

  • Follow the instructions for relighting the pilot on your particular range.
  • Call the gas company.

The pilot flame doesn't remain lighted.

Check for:

  • The pilot port is clogged.
  • The range is in a drafty place.

Remedies:

  • Use a small wire to clean the port.
  • Try to prevent drafts near the range.

A burner is burning erratically.

Check for:

  • The burner is clogged.
  • There is an incorrect mixture of gas and air.

Remedies:

  • Clean the burner ports.
  • Call the gas company.

The oven stops lighting.

Check for:

  • The oven pilot light is out.
  • Defective thermocouple.
  • The gas isn't on.

Remedies:

  • Follow the instructions for relighting the oven pilot on your particular range.
  • Replace the thermocouple.
  • Call the gas company.

The oven heats poorly.

Check for:

  • An incorrect mixture of gas and air.
  • Defective safety thermocouple.

Remedies:

  • Call the gas company.
  • Replace the thermocouple.

Things bake unevenly in the oven.

Check for:

  • Damaged door gasket.
  • Clogged exhaust vent.
  • Defective thermostat.

Remedies:

  • Replace the gasket.
  • Clean the vent.
  • Call the gas company.

The oven overheats.

Check for:

  • An incorrect mixture of gas and air.

Remedy:

  • Call the gas company

The burners are producing soot.

Check for:

  • An incorrect mixture of gas and air.

Remedy:

  • Call the gas company.

You smell gas.

Check for:

  • The pilot is out.
  • The gas line is leaking.

Remedies:

  • Ventilate the room and relight the pilot.
  • Call the gas company.
  • Ventilate the room, extinguish all flames and don't turn on any electric switches.
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