However, replacing the oven’s heating element might be all that’s needed.
Replacement heating elements cost as little as $25, in addition to a possible installation charge.
But first, you need to know whether the heating element is causing the problem or if the entire appliance should be replaced.
What Is a Stove Heating Element?
In an electric oven, the heating element, also known as the baking coil, is attached to the oven’s back wall and located near the bottom. There is also a broiling element near the top.
An electric range also has burner coils. Replacing stove-top coils is easily done by unplugging an old one and plugging in a new one. In fact, these should be unplugged and washed and dried whenever necessary.
Signs of a Broken Heating Element
Do you think your oven’s heating element might be broken? Look for these signs when you suspect something is wrong:
1. The Element Isn’t Bright Orange
The heating element you’re checking should be bright orange when fully heated (about 10 minutes after it’s set to 350 degrees). This shows it’s functioning normally.
If it isn’t bright orange, or if only parts of it are, this probably means the element is burned out and needs to be replaced. You or an electrician can confirm with a continuity test.
2. The Element Has Signs of Wear
Look for burns, blistering or cracks on the heating element. You might need to remove the element to check more thoroughly.
3. Food Isn’t Cooked or Is Partially Cooked
This could mean the heating element needs to be replaced. However, it also could mean that the temperature sensor probe needs to be replaced.
Test the oven’s temperature accuracy and make adjustments if needed.
4. The Oven Is Dirty
Try cleaning the oven before replacing anything. If the grime has become too thick and embedded, you might need to replace the appliance.
5. Your Electric Bill Has Noticeably Increased
Could the heating element be on its last legs and over- or under-heating? An unexpected jump in electricity consumption could also be due to a faulty door gasket.
However, since an unexplained increase in your electric bill could be due to anything that uses electricity, you really should call an electrician or stove repairs service to verify that your oven is at fault.
Replacing your oven’s heating element might be what’s needed when the oven isn’t working properly. But remember, this isn’t always the case — especially when the range is over a decade old.
No appliance lasts forever!