Troubleshooting your Stove Top Problems (Part 1)
Common Stovetop Problems: Troubleshooting by Symptom
There is nothing worse than getting ready to cook and your stove top not working! You may have to forgo your dinner plans and pick up the phone for take-out, but this troubleshooting guide may save you a visit from a repairman!
Once you know the basics of how your electric range works, you may be able to pinpoint the problem without a troubleshooting guide. If you’re still uncertain, however, try narrowing down the potential causes by locating the symptom. Most oven or stovetop failures trace back to one of a few potential problems. Always start with the most simple or probable cause and progress toward more complex or less common causes. If the situation still leaves you perplexed or you do not feel up to fixing the problem you identify, consult a qualified service professional.
Nothing Works, or the Stovetop Works Inconsistently:
- Has the home breaker flipped or the fuse blown? Sometimes an electrical surge will interfere with the power supply, causing breakers and fuses to react to protect your appliances. Simply check your breaker or fuse box and replace or flip as necessary.
- Is the range’s power cord plugged in securely? Grasp it by the plug and wiggle slightly to determine a good connection. If your range is plugged into an extension cord, disconnect it and plug it into the wall directly! A range consumes too much electricity to run off any extension cord.
- Look over the power cord for signs of damage such as missing rubber coating with wires showing through, sharp crimps or evidence it is getting pinched while plugged in. Pull out the oven slightly if its position is causing the problem. Electrical tape is good for covering bare wires and preventing them from touching anything, but a range is too powerful to take chances. Have a technician replace the cord as necessary.
- If previous steps fail to fix the problem, it’s time to dig a little deeper. First unplug the appliance, then remove the back panel to access the area where the power cord enters the range. Inside, the cord wires connect to a terminal block. Look for loose, damaged or burned-looking wires. If wires are merely loose, wrap them around the screw terminal and secure by tightening. If you witness evidence of a little corrosion, like you sometimes see on car battery terminals, clean the terminal gently with a wire brush and reconnect the wires. Damaged wiring requires immediate attention from a professional.
- Does your range have an internal fuse or circuit breaker system? Typically situated under the top of the range, directly around the elements or on the sides of the unit, cooktop fuses and circuits can also blow or trip. So can the fuses for the oven – located at the rear of the compartment – and fuses controlling the self-cleaning function, timer, clock or other features, if so designed. To replace any fuse, simply unscrew it, turning it counterclockwise, and replace with the exact same type and size (electrical rating) of fuse. For circuit breakers, push the “reset” button or as indicated.
- Sometimes either the cord or even the electrical outlet is bad even though you can’t see it. In that case, a multimeter will quickly and easily show if the outlet is receiving current and if the power cord is carrying it. Consult a professional for further information.