Why Your Oven Temperature Keeps Changing: 8 Fixes
You’re probably here because your oven temperature has constantly been fluctuating, and you don’t know why. Your pastries say cakes come out done halfway or entirely burned, which is quite frustrating because undercooked food is dangerous for your health. You have come to the right place because we will tell you some of the factors causing the issues and possible fixes. Stick to the end.
Oven Temperature Changes
Baking has been around for a couple of thousands of years, although the ovens, if we can call them that, stayed in their primitive form until recently in the 21st century. The earlier oven was made of a deep cavity, sometimes a hole lined with hot burning coals or firewood. With such primitive technology, it was virtually impossible to control the oven temperature, and it took years to learn how to bake without burning food. The ovens offered no guarantee and every time one took to bake was like baking for the first time.
However, advancements in technology saw the invention of cupboard-shaped ovens as we know them now and the incorporation of various electronic and thermoregulatory elements in both the gas and electric ovens to control temperature. These components sometimes fail to operate as planned, which may cause temperature changes in your oven. Here are some of the reasons why your oven cannot maintain a constant temperature and how to fix it.
1. The Heating Element is Broken
A broken or a damaged heating element may cause temperature fluctuations in your oven. In the ideal situation, a broken heating element will not work at all, but it will work a little when broken before entirely resigning.
Most ovens feature two heating elements, one below and one above the food rack, although bigger ovens for commercial purposes may have three or more heating elements, depending on size. A faulty heating element will heat the oven in the first cycle and probably stop later before the food is cooked. It may also work slower than usual. This may cause a lack of a stable temperature inside the oven during the cooking process.
You can use your eyes to determine whether the heating element is working or something else is causing the problem. If the heating element in your oven is not hidden, turn on the machine as you would do while baking, but don’t close the door. See if the heating element glows red and if it takes more time than usual to heat up.
The only way to fix a broken heating element is to replace it with a new one. Visit your nearest home maintenance store or order an oven heating element online. You can replace the heating element yourself, but if you aren’t confident in your electrical skills, kindly enlist the help of professional HVAC personnel to do the fixing.
2. The Thermostat is Broken
If you have already inspected the heating element and it is working smoothly, the next culprit you should go after is the thermostat. A thermostat is that part of your oven that controls the internal oven temperature. Just like your thermoregulatory organs that work to maintain your body temperature constant despite the environmental fluctuations. The signs of a faulty thermostat are constantly burnt food or undercooked and potentially dangerous foods.
Your oven’s thermostat can misbehave for several reasons. The first reason is lack of sufficient power supply because of a faulty apparatus, say the oven switch or a broken cable. Check if your thermostat is misbehaving because of the failure of a different element. Use a multimeter to check for continuity.
The second reason is a broken sensor probe. A sensor probe is a short rod usually contained inside the oven tub, and you can see it jutting out. When the temperature rises too high, the sensor probe signals the thermostat to stop working, and if the temperature goes too low, the sensor rod stimulates the thermostat to start a heating cycle. You can check that the sensor rod is not bent or damaged in any other way.
You can easily get a replacement for your broken sensor rod through the trusted oven dealers and fix it yourself.
3. Faulty Electrical Connection
A malfunctioning heating element or thermostat are usually the culprits, and if you have checked and they are functioning properly, it may suggest that the appliance is not receiving a sufficient amount of electricity to operate correctly. The chance is that the oven elements related to a power supply such as power cables, plugs, or switches may be out of service.
Insufficient amounts of electricity will interfere with the normal work of your oven and will not be able to maintain a constant temperature sufficient to cook food properly. It would be best to inspect the power cable to see whether it is appropriately connected to the power socket. Please switch off the power socket, unplug the cable, and plug it into another socket because the power socket may not be working properly.
If that still doesn’t work, look out for peeling or breaking in the electrical cord, although, by default, it should last the entire life of the appliance. Dry your hands before attempting all these diagnostics to avoid the danger of electrocution. The issue can be fixed by replacing the power cord with a new functional one. Use spare parts from an accredited dealer only. Alternatively, send the oven back to the manufacturer for maintenance if the warranty is still valid.
4. Defective Temperature Sensor
Temperature sensors are known to misbehave even in new kitchen appliances. A qualified oven technician will first test the temperature sensor before proceeding with other diagnostic steps. The temperature sensor tracks down internal temperature changes and communicates with the main control board to adjust accordingly.
Like malfunctioning body nerves, a faulty sensor will take inaccurate readings and send them to the central control body. This potentially hazardous situation will interfere with constant temperature maintenance. For example, the sensor may constantly register very low readings while the oven is operating at the set temperature and trigger the control board to increase the heating, leading to burnt food.
Start the inspection by unplugging the power cable to avoid electrocution and using a multimeter to test the temperature sensor. Alternatively, you can use an ohmmeter to check the resistance.
A faulty oven temperature sensor can be validated by measuring the resistance at the end of its probe inside the oven tub. Wait for your appliance to cool down before attempting this troubleshooting technique to avoid being burned. Place an ohmmeter at both ends of the sensor probe and look at the reading. A properly functioning probe should have a reading of around 1100 ohms. Anything below that points to a broken temperature sensor. Remember that the higher the resistance, the higher the temperature needed to bake.
5. Oven Fan Breakdown
The fan usually has two functions inside an oven. The first function is to evenly spread the temperature to all parts so that your baking comes out cooked uniformly. Use a fan to distribute the temperature in this technological advancement era? Yeah, sure. The signs of a malfunctioning fan are unevenly cooked food because the heat stays on one end of the oven, and the other side remains cooler, especially in large ovens.
The second function is cooling the oven to maintain the set temperature. When the temperature sensor records an extremely high temperature, it sends the readings to the control board, which triggers the fan to start working to cool down the internal temperature of an oven up to the set maximum.
Start with unplugging the oven from the power plug. Find the fan and push the blades with your hands to see whether the motor is working properly. Also look out for loose or broken fan blades. You can replace a broken fan as a DIY project.
6. Blocked air vents for gas ovens
Unlike their electric counterparts, gas ovens feature air vents that help with hot air’s smooth flow and even flow inside the appliance. Temperature changes can occur when some objects block the air vents, say when you overload the racks. Some people, probably due to limited time, pack lots of dishes in the oven simultaneously, which may block the air vents, effectively altering even movement of hot air across the oven.
You can fix this issue by removing anything that is blocking the air vents. Place just enough dishes to fill the capacity in the middle of the rack and add more when those are done. Don’t overload the gas oven.
7. Failed Convection Motor
The apparatus that pushes the hot air coming out of the vents is called a convection motor. The motor is responsible for the consistent circulation of heated air inside the oven to ensure that your food cooks evenly by eliminating cool and hot zones. If the convection motor is broken or not functioning correctly, some areas inside the oven will be cooler or hotter than others. Conduct this inspection with extreme caution because you could burn yourself.
Convection motors are some of the most durable parts of an oven, and it’s rare to find such cases. However, the motors fail just like any other electronic parts. Age and wear can have their toll even on the most resilient elements of an oven, and the convection motor may be running too slowly to be effective.
The issue can be fixed by servicing the motor or replacing it with a new one if it is completely broken. You should let your technician do the job because it is safer that way.
8. The oven board failure
Look at the back of the oven’s control panel for a printed circuit board. PCB works similar to a phone’s motherboard and should last the entire life of the oven in ideal conditions. However, problems can occur, especially if you live in an area that experiences power surges or other conditions that may cause electrical shorts in the oven’s components. A broken-down oven board may cause oven temperature changes.
The oven board is a sophisticated piece of equipment to fix unless you’re a professional technician. Depending on the type of damage, the oven board may or may not be repairable. A professional can isolate the damaged components and replace them with new ones using clever techniques. However, the damage may be too much to repair; for example, the oven may be badly burned due to power shortage, needing a total replacement.
There is no one single way of fixing temperature fluctuations or changes in an oven. Temperature changes emanate from the failure of various electronic and thermoregulatory elements such as temperature sensors, oven board failure, blocked air vents, faulty electrical connection, broken heating elements, and convection motor failure. The fix will depend on the cause of temperature fluctuations.