A burned-out bake or broil heating element is the number one cause for your electric oven failing to heat up. So, if your roast isn’t sizzling, your bread isn’t rising, or your soufflé isn’t soufflé-ing, your first oven troubleshooting step should be testing the bake or broil element to determine if it is defective. Fortunately, uninstalling, testing, and replacing the element is not a complicated process and is easily accomplished by the average do-it-yourselfer.
How to replace bake or broil heating elements
While the exact steps to access a bake or broil element will differ depending on the appliance model, here are some general instructions you can follow:
- Before you begin any disassembly of the range or oven, be sure to shut off the power supply to the appliance or unplug the appliance’s power cord to prevent shock.
- For stand-alone ranges or slide-in ranges, you will probably need to move the appliance away from the wall to access the rear panel or panels. Built-in ovens will need to be uninstalled from the cabinet.
- Depending on the model, the bake or broil element may need to be uninstalled through the rear of the oven. To do this, you will first need to remove one or more rear panels. Next, disconnect the two wires attached to the element’s terminals. Unthread the mounting screws and pull the element straight back to remove.
- If the element wires lack enough slack, you may need to uninstall one or more rear access panels just to disconnect the wires, while on other models, you will be able to pull the element away from the rear interior wall of the oven in order to detach the wires. If you’re able to avoid removing a rear panel, just be careful not to let the detached wires slip behind the rear interior oven wall after detaching them from the element terminals.
- To access an element from inside the oven, you will probably want to fully remove the oven door for greater ease. The most common way to do this is to fully open the door, rotate the hinge locks forward, then position the door in the “broil” position and lift the door up and out.
- Next, you will want to remove all of the oven racks.
- The bake element is usually located beneath a panel on the bottom of the oven. Unthread the panel mounting screws and lift the panel up from the rear.
- Unthread the screws securing the element, pull it forward enough to disconnect the wires, if applicable, and you can fully remove the part.
- The broil element is normally secured to the top interior of the oven with a support bracket. As with the bake element, unthread the screws securing the bracket, then pull the element forward enough to disconnect the wires if you haven’t already disconnected the wires by accessing the rear of the appliance.
- When reinstalling the elements from inside the oven, first reconnect the wires to the terminals, then position the mounting plate against the rear interior oven wall and thread the screws. The broil element’s mounting bracket will need to be secured to the top of the oven interior with screws.
- If necessary, reinstall the oven’s bottom panel by aligning the front edge first then lowering the rear. Thread the screws to secure.
- Replace the oven racks.
- Reinstall the oven door by inserting the hinges into the hinge slots at a forty-five degree angle, fully open the door, then rotate the hinge locks back.
- For models where the elements are installed from the rear of the appliance, slide the element straight in through the slot in the rear frame, then thread the mounting screws and attach the wires to the terminals. Replace and secure any access panels.
- With the installation complete, push the range back against the wall or into place in the counter opening, or reinstall the built-in oven in the cabinet.
- Restore the power supply to the oven or range, or plug the appliance’s power cord back in.
Testing an oven heating element
When you select the bake or broil function, the oven control allows voltage to travel to the bake or broil element, closing the circuit, and causing the element to heat up. There are a number of reasons a bake or broil element won’t heat apart from the element itself being burned out: the element receptacle could be damaged, there could be a loose or burnt wire connection, or the element switch could be defective.
So how can you tell if the element itself is the problem? First check to see if there are any visible breaks in the element or blistering. If it does, you will need to replace it with a new one. If the element looks okay, you can test the element with a multimeter to determine if the part has continuity – a continuous electrical path present in the component.
To test the element:
- When using an analog-style Ohm meter, make sure the meter is calibrated by pinching the red and black probes together while setting the needle to “zero”.
- When using a digital meter, rotate the selector dial to the lowest setting for Ohms of resistance.
- Remove the bake or broil element from the oven or make sure it is isolated from the electrical circuit.
- Touch the red probe to one of the element’s terminals and the black probe to the other terminal.
- If the meter display shows a result between zero and fifty Ohms of resistance, the element has proper continuity and should be functioning. If the analog meter’s needle doesn’t move or the digital display does not change significantly, then the element does not have continuity and is defective.
Find the right electric oven parts with Repair Clinic
Repair Clinic stocks all the replacement parts you need to keep your electric range or oven fully functional, including bake elements, broil elements, oven sensors, oven door switches, control panels, and terminal blocks. Type the full model number of your range or oven into the Repair Clinic website search bar to reveal a complete list of compatible appliance parts. You can then use the part category and part title filters to narrow the results to identify the exact part you need. While Repair Clinic carries parts that fit ranges and ovens from all the top brands, including Amana, Bosch, GE, Thermador, Electrolux, LG, Kenmore, Samsung, and Whirlpool, you’ll want to make sure you’re selecting a component that is a direct match for your specific model.