Ultimate Fix-It-Yourself Manual: Large appliances--Ranges / electric

Left cooktop element controls; Door gasket. Note: Details of repair and disassembly may vary, depending on appliance model. If your electric range differs markedly from this one, see Appliance repair basics.

In an electric range, the flow of current through the heating elements is controlled by switches, a thermo stat, and a timer. If your range malfunctions, check the owner’s manual to make sure you’ve been using it correctly. Some range problems can be identified by sight, sound, or smell. Damaged wiring or parts often appear burned and emit a burning plastic odor; loose connections may buzz or hiss and give off a metallic smell.

Before investigating a problem, shut off power to the range (see For your safety). A range uses 240- volt power for beating and 120-volt power for the clock and lights, and is controlled by two circuit breakers or fuses at the service panel.

Self-cleaning ovens use high heat (around 900°F) to burn off residues. Special controls keep the oven door from opening during the cleaning and cool-down periods. Continuous-cleaning ovens have a rough catalytic coating that burns off spills as you use the oven. Never scrub this coating or clean it with a conventional oven cleaner. Instead, wipe up spills as soon as the oven cools; burn off baked-on deposits at 400°F with the oven empty.

A terminal block links the power cord to internal wiring. To test cord, unscrew it from the block as shown. To replace a burned block, unscrew all wires and take out mounting screws.



Before making a repair, turn off power to the range at the service panel by tripping the circuit breakers or pulling the fuses. Don’t unplug a range before turning off the power; if a wire is loose, you can be shocked severely by just moving the range to pull the plug.

Make sure a heating element is coot by carefully passing your hand near it before cleaning or removing it.

Don’t try to open a self-cleaning oven until the cleaning cycle is finished; opening the oven for even an instant can cause severe burns. Let the stove cool for at least half an hour longer.


Gaining access:

To open control panel, remove screws and brackets from sides, then pivot panel forward onto a towel. If easy to reach, open back instead. CAUTION: Turn off power to range at service panel before opening any part.

To open back, move range away from wall. Wearing work gloves, remove screws from around edges of the access panel or panels. On most ranges, this gives access to controls as well as to most wiring.

Open hinged cooktop by lifting at front corners. On some models, you have to push top toward rear before lifting. If the top doesn’t have pop-in-place braces, support it in raised position with hinged rod located against side panel.

To remove oven door, open it partway and pull it up and off hinge arms. (On older models, remove screws holding hinges, being careful not to let hinges fly up and chip range.)

To reach front-mounted controls, raise cooktop and take out screws holding cover plate on top of them. (On other models, remove screws at sides of the front panel, then lift entire front panel up and off spring clips.)





No top or oven elements heat; no light

Single cooktop element won’t heat

Oven element doesn’t heat

Oven temperature: incorrect or uneven

Condensation in oven

Oven door won’t close tightly

Sell-cleaning oven

door won’t latch or won’t open

Self-cleaning oven won’t clean

Oven vent smokes during self-cleaning

Oven light out

Clock or timer doesn’t work

Receptacle doesn’t work

Indicator light out

Power off at outlet or faulty power cord

Burned terminal block

Faulty element or element receptacle

Faulty control switch

Improperly set timer

Faulty element

Faulty thermostat

Faulty selector switch

Faulty timer

Faulty wiring or connector

Thermostat not calibrated properly

Misaligned oven door

Worn or damaged oven gasket

Clogged oven vent

Faulty thermostat, or sensing tube touching oven

Clogged oven vent

Faulty hinge spring or misaligned oven door

Worn or damaged oven gasket

Faulty safety switch

Faulty door latch

Faulty selector switch

Oven too hot

Oven door not latched

Faulty element

Faulty timer

Faulty thermostat

Faulty selector switch

Faulty door latch

Faulty smoke eliminator wall

Burned-out bulb

Faulty switch

Faulty socket

Blown appliance fuse

One fuse or one circuit breaker tripped

Faulty clock-timer

Blown appliance fuse

One fuse or one circuit breaker tripped

Faulty receptacle

Burned-out bulb


See General Troubleshooting

Inspect and replace

Clean contacts; test and replace

Test and replace


Test and replace

Test and replace

Test and replace

Test and replace

Check for bad wires and loose connections


Check and repair.

Check and repair

Clean vent.

Test and replace

Reposition tube.

Clean vent

Check and repair

Check and replace

Test and replace

Check; repair or replace

Test and replace

Let cool for 30mm.


Test and replace

Test and replace

Test and replace

Is Or have serviced.

Test and replace

Check; repair or replace



Test and replace

Check and replace


Replace fuse or reset breaker at service panel.

Test and replace


Replace fuse or reset breaker at service panel.

Check and replace

Replace bulb unit

[Degree of difficulty: Simple---Average --- Complex --- Volt-ohm meter required]

Control-panel accessories:

Accessories can be reached by either opening the control panel or removing the back panel, depending on the model and the back’s accessibility. CAUTION: Cut power to the range at the service panel before fixing accessories.

To change fuse governing clock-timer, receptacle, and other accessories, raise cooktop. Unscrew fuse; screw in same-amp replacement.

To replace broken or burned clock-timer, take off leads, unscrew timer from panel, and lift off. (Or depress side clips and pull through front.)

To replace faulty receptacle, depress clips at sides in back and pull through front of panel. Remove leads. Install an identical replacement.

Replace burned-out indicator light from rear. Pull it down and off peg-like plastic mount. Replace entire light unit if bulb is burned out.

Oven light socket and door switch:

To replace oven light socket, remove bulb cover inside oven. Open back panel and remove socket leads. Depress socket clips; push socket part way into oven; then pull out from inside oven.

To test door switch, pry it out and take off leads. With VOM on RX1, clip probes to switch terminals. Look for infinity reading when you push plunger in, zero when you release it.

Oven door and vent:

A loose oven door or a bad gasket may cause low or uneven heating. If an oven overheats, make sure its vent is clear.

Don’t cover the vent, oven floor, or a with foil. Heating problems may also caused by the thermostat.

To replace oven door gasket on many older non-self-cleaning models, simply unhook ends from holes on front of oven. Install identical new gasket by hooking ends in holes.

To replace gasket clamped between cabinet oven liner, remove side screws (or nuts in re-liner) and pull liner forward slightly. Fit new gasket over liner: slide liner in and reinstall screen.

To adjust frame-attached springs, remove storage drawer. Wearing gloves and goggles, move anchor to new hole, or re-hook spring in new hole on anchor. Keep tension equal on both springs.

To adjust springs inside door, remove door take off its inner panel. Grasp each spring with locking pliers to unhook and reposition it. W safety goggles in case spring slips loose.

Inspect oven vent, usually located beneath the cooktop element. Raise cooktop (or remove compartment and drip pan). Then unscrew and lift of vent duct. Remove debris with tongs.

Adjust door warp by loosening screws holding inner panel. Push down on door while twisting it from side to side; then carefully retighten screws. Check by closing door and looking for gaps.

Testing cooktop elements:

If an element doesn’t work, first check that it’s securely plugged in. (Make sure that the element is cool before touching it.) When testing an element for continuity, always test it for a ground fault too. If the element is OK, remove its receptacle and check it for damage. If necessary, check the element’s temperature-control switch (far right) and the wiring between them.

To avoid problems, keep elements and drip pans clean and don’t line drip pans with foil; use fiat-bottom cookware.

To remove element, lift it up and pull it out of receptacle. (Some elements are wired directly, with screw terminals inside a ceramic or glass case held closed by easily removed clips.)

Test single-coil element for continuity with VOM on RX1. Touch probes to both terminals; meter should show partial resistance, typically between 10 and 70 ohms.

Test double-coil element with VOM on RX1. Touch one probe to terminals joined by bar (common terminal); probe each remaining terminal in turn. Look for partial resistance on both.

To check element receptacle, remove drip pan and take out mounting screw. Pry off any card board insulator. Clean dirty contacts with a wire brush or by scraping. Replace a damaged unit.

Test element for ground fault with VOM on RX100. Touch one probe to sheathing of element, the other to each terminal in turn. Look for constant infinity reading (no continuity).

Testing cooktop switches:

When diagnosing a cooktop switch, cut power to the range at the service pane], open the back panel, and look for obvious faults like burned or loose wires. To test the switch (Step 1 below), simply compare the readings it gives to those of a switch that works. If the readings differ, replace the faulty switch.

1. On a working switch, remove leads from L1 and L2 terminals. With VOM on RX1, probe all pairings of terminals at each heat setting; note readings. Compare with suspect switch readings.

2. To replace switch, hold an identical new unit next to old one and transfer leads to corresponding terminals one at a time. Then detach old unit and attach new one.

Testing and replacing oven elements:

Bake and broil elements are controlled by a selector switch, a thermostat, and often a clock-timer . A visible sign of a faulty element is pitting caused by internal grounding.

Poor heating can result if an element has a loose or bent support. To prolong the life of elements, protect them with foil when using oven cleaner and never use the oven as a room heater.

To remove a cool bake or broil element, lift off door, take out screws holding element to back of oven, disengage any brackets, and pull forward. Then unscrew wires from element terminals.

Test element with VOM on RX1. Touch £ probes to both terminals; meter should show some resistance (roughly 10 to 40 ohms). Also test the element for a ground fault.

Oven controls:

The oven selector switch governs whether current flows to the range’s bake, broil, timed-bake, or (if present) self-clean circuit. A thermostat controls the temperature, usually with a liquid-filled sensing tube in the oven cavity. Oven thermostats should be accurate to within 25 degrees; if an oven thermometer shows a thermostat is off by 25 to 50 degrees, adjust it by one of the methods below. Replace a thermostat that’s off by more than 50 degrees.

The clock-timer controls the timed-bake and self- clean circuits. If an oven with a timed-bake circuit doesn’t heat, be sure the timer is correctly set before testing the controls. Any control with an electronic circuit board should be serviced by a professional.

Test selector switch with VOM on RX1. Consult chart on range’s wiring diagram for pairs of terminals to test (a typical chart is shown). With switch in each position, remove one wire from each pair and probe both terminals. Look for zero reading when chart indicates closed contacts, infinity when it indicates open ones. (For more on testing selector switches.)

If thermostat adjustment is in knob, loosen screws holding disc; then turn disc toward Raise or Lower setting. Each mark on scale (or notch on disc) typically equals 10 degrees. Retighten screws; test results with an oven thermometer.

It thermostat adjustment is in shaft, insert thin screwdriver into adjusting screw at base. Holding shaft steady, turn screw clockwise to raise temperature, counterclockwise to decrease it on most ranges. A one- eighth turn equals about 25 degrees. If results are opposite those expected, turn screw in the other direction.

Testing and replacing the thermostat:

1. Set VOM on RX1. If a thermostat has two terminals, disconnect wires and clip probes to terminals. With thermo stat control knob on Off, look for infinity reading; on 300° F, look for zero reading. Otherwise, replace thermostat. If a thermostat has more than two terminals, consult chart on range’s wiring diagram and test as you would a selector switch.

2. Replace thermostat & and sensing tube as single unit. Unclip and handle tube gently to avoid breaking; liquid in tube on self-cleaning ovens is caustic and can burn skin. On some ranges, tube follows complicated path. When replacing, tape string to end of original before pulling it out. Transfer string to new tube; then guide new tube into oven, pulling it with the string.

- - -

Self-cleaning ovens:

These ovens have a safety switch that locks the door for up to half an hour after cleaning ceases. If the door won’t open afterward, wait 15 minutes and try again. If the vent smokes during self-cleaning, the smoke eliminator in the vent may be faulty. (Heavy soil also causes smoke.) Take out the mounting screws and replace the vent unit.

To replace gasket on door of self-cleaning oven, remove screws holding inner window panel on door and lilt it off. Take off old gasket; insert a duplicate. (In some models, inner and outer door panels must be taken apart and door handle removed to reach screws holding inner window panel.)

To check latch, remove tray under cooktop by taking out screws around perimeter. Replace bro ken spring or switch; if another part is faulty, replace entire assembly. To remove latch, take out screws holding it in place inside oven.

Test safety switch with VOM on RX1. Remove one lead from switch; clip probes to both terminals. Look for zero ohms reading with latch open, infinity with latch closed.

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