Fixing An Oven That Can’t Get Up To Temperature
Imagine the frustrations and embarrassment you would go through simply because your electric or gas oven cannot get up to temperature.
You have invited some guests for dinner only for your pies to come out of the oven half done, and you have to pop them in for a few more minutes and keep the guests waiting. Or, you’re running out of time, and you cannot rush to work hungry, but your oven will not just grill the steak in time.
Fortunately, all these problems caused by the oven not getting up to temperature have possible solutions.
You just need to have good inspection skills and fix the issues once you lay your hands on the cause. You can also get good HVAC personnel to do it for you, since it’s much safer and they have much more experience.
Here are seven possible fixes to for an oven that isn’t getting up to temperature…
1. Bake Element
The baking element and the broiler are at the core of baking because they are the main sources of cooking heat, with the element giving 90% and the broiler providing the remaining 10%. If your dinner comes out half raw, with a burnt top and undercooked bottom, the baking element and the broiler should be the first culprit. The baking element is usually located on the oven cavity floor and the broiler somewhere on the top portion.
The baking element is visible from the front, so don’t worry about dismantling your appliance. Inspect it with a torch to see whether it is bent, blistered, or damaged in any other way. If it looks intact, you need to inspect it with the power on. Switch on the oven and put it at the baking temperature for sixty seconds. It should glow a radiant red and should be visible without a torch. A damaged bake element will glow warm faintly or switch on and off constantly.
The element may be loose or burnt, in which case you should tighten the screws or get a replacement. However, if the element looks intact but is not heating sufficiently, proceed to the next step. Inspect the elements and boiler power connection. Be very careful because electrical connections require a licensed electrician.
Electric ovens use electricity to run and may not heat sufficiently if the electrical connections are damaged. Begin with switching off the power socket, then unplugging the cable to prevent electrocution while examining electrical connections. Use a screwdriver to loosen and open the back cover screws to expose the wiring that leads to the broiler and the baking element. You can always use a torch to inspect the wiring from the inside when opening the back cover is not possible.
Typically, the wiring will run from the control board to various parts of the oven. Note that the wiring leading to the bake element goes or the way down to the bottom while the broiler wiring stops halfway down. Inspect the cables for any coiling, breakage, loose covering, or any other thing that may be interfering with proper electrical conductivity. If it looks damaged, you can replace the electrical wiring with a new one or call your electrician.
If the wiring looks fine, you’re out of luck because you need more advanced tests and fixing. You will have to test the power lines to the heating elements for continuity with an altimeter. You can also use an ohmmeter to determine the level of resistance. Low levels of resistance indicate that the element and the broilers need replacing. You can purchase new ones from accredited dealers and fix them yourself if you’re good at electrical connections. If not, call in a qualified HVAC team to do it for you.
2. Oven Control Thermostat
The next element to target when your oven does not get up to temperature is the thermostat. The thermostat is an extension of the main control panel that regulates the oven’s internal temperature through the broiler, bake element, and other temperature sensors. The thermostat uses electricity to sense whether the temperature is below or above the set minimum and then triggers the baking element or the cooling fans to raise or lower the temperature up to the set minimum.
A damaged thermostat may fail to raise the temperature as intended; thus, the knob indicates the minimum temperature you set, but the temperature is actually lower inside the oven. In most cases, the problem is usually caused by a damaged sensor rather than the whole thermostat. Other times the appliance will not get up to temperature because the electrical connections that serve the thermostat are damaged.
To check the power lines, start with unplugging the power cable from the socket for safety purposes. A multimeter will help you check the continuity of the wires to ensure that they are not broken. Replace the damaged or broken wires immediately. If the thermostat itself is damaged, get a replacement from a certified dealer and fix it immediately.
If the three mentioned elements are functioning correctly, then the oven needs a temperature adjustment. Most modern oven brands have an adjustment screw or knob usually located behind the thermostat. Get two oven-class thermometers and use the adjustment screw to re-calibrate the oven temperature according to the accuracy of the thermometers. You can adjust the temperature by as much as 50 degrees Farenheight depending on the type of thermostat.
3. Temperature Sensor
The thermostat uses a temperature sensor to measure the temperature of the oven cavity and make appropriate adjustments. Your thermostat may be operating correctly, but the temperature sensor or bulb in some ovens is faulty or burned out. Ensure that you check the temperature sensor before rushing out to buy a replacement.
Most modern ovens have the temperature sensor placed on the back wall of the oven cavity, next to the broiler element on the top wall. They will usually display an error code on the user interface when the temperature sensor malfunctions, so you cannot easily miss it. Please familiarize yourself with the user’s manual and get one from the website if you lost the handbook that comes with the oven.
You can also plug out the appliance and check whether the temperature sensor produces the correct amounts of resistance. Poor resistance may explain why your oven is not getting up to temperature.
4. Electronic Control Board
Most modern ovens for home use feature an electronic control board much like the motherboard on your computer or smartphone. An ECB functions much like an appliance’s brain and controls the functioning of the machine through the broil and bake functions. It will tell the appliance when and how to lower or raise the temperature. The control board is also responsible for managing the oven safety gas valves and should be checked if the oven is not getting up to temperature.
The manufacturers usually intend that the electronic control board will last the entire life of the appliance. However, it’s not failproof and may malfunction along with other components, probably due to electrical surges. Ensure that you get the main control board checked by a qualified electrician who will determine whether you will only replace the malfunctioning transistors or replace the whole control board. They can also rule out damage and point out lower voltage output.
5. Blown Fuses
Remember that the oven, apart from the cavity, is made up of a number of electrical components, including wiring, switches, transistors, and fuses. Fuses are installed in some of these components to protect against short-circuiting and power surges that may destroy your oven and even cause accidental kitchen fires. Your oven may not get up to temperature if some of these fuses blow.
The newer brands will warn you of a problem by displaying an error message on the user interface, but you will have to check the fuses manually if you own the older versions. Begin with unplugging the power connection and navigating your way to where the power fuses are located. The fuses are labeled, so don’t worry about getting lost during the diagnostics.
The next step is identifying what made the fuse blow before replacing the fuse. If you don’t, it will just blow without explanation like the previous one. Look at the wiring for any signs of burning, bulging, or twisting. When all is clear, replace the fuse with another original fuse of the same rating from the oven brand or an accredited dealer.
6. Gas Oven Igniter
Your gas oven may not get up to temperature if the bake igniter is malfunctioning or totally out. You should begin your probe by dragging your gas oven from the wall and moving the gas valve to the off position. You may be using a gas oven, but remember that most use electricity to start a fire on the burner. Therefore, a broken electrical connection or a malfunctioning igniter will produce smaller fires, if any at all.
Once you access the igniter, get an altimeter and place the two probes on either side of the terminals to check for continuity. Typically, the optimal functioning of a gas oven igniter is 1100ohms, and if the altimeter is showing lower figures or no figures at all, then you need to replace the igniter. You can also check the proper functioning of the gas valve while on it.
7. Faulty Gas Oven Burners
We’ve listed all the complex diagnostic procedures and almost forgotten this straightforward trick. If your gas oven is not getting up to temperature, you may have a misbehaving stove burner or gas tube supply to blame. Click the power switch to the ON position and observe the burner. The burner may produce a low flame or whispering noise of raw gas if it is entirely out.
You may have to dismantle some gas ovens that have their burners placed far inside the oven walls. Open the hatch covering the broiler section, and you will see the ignition system and the burner on the broiler chamber’s top portion. Ovens that lack broilers are more challenging to handle. You will have to take off the cover plate on the bottom of the oven and remove the flame spreader to access the burner elements.
A certified gas HVAC technician can also diagnose the problem better than you and can replace the damaged burner with a new one. Gas ovens using LP gas may have some issues with the gas tanks, although all gas supply valves should be inspected for clogging or breaking. Ensure that there are no naked flames nearby to avoid igniting the raw gas in the air.
The problem of gas and electric ovens not getting up to temperature does not have one uniform solution. The solution will depend on the cause of the problem, say a blown fuse which you can replace with a new one from a recognized dealer. Ensure that you switch off electrical connections and gas supply valves while attempting the possible fixes for safety purposes.
Have a great day!