5 Signs Your Oven’s Heating Element is Broken

Exterior closeup of a kitchen oven
Before you replace your range, make sure you don’t need to replace the oven’s heating element. (DepositPhotos)

Do you think it’s time for a new range? It could be. The average range’s life is 10 to 15 years. A new gas or electric model costs about $300 to $2,200, depending on its features.

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.


Closeup of an oven heating element
Your oven’s heating element is located on the bottom inside the appliance. (DepositPhotos)

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:

Partially lit oven heating element
This partially lit heating element needs replacing. (DepositPhotos)

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.

Partially cooked turkey in a broken oven
When food only partially cooks, it may be time to replace your oven’s heating element. (DepositPhotos)

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.

Inside a dirty oven
If your oven is too dirty to properly operate, you may need to replace the appliance. (DepositPhotos)

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.

Electrical bill on a table
If your electrical bill is unexpectedly high, it may be due to an under-heating oven and extended cooking time. (DepositPhotos)

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.

Frustrated man sitting on the kitchen floor beside broken an oven and a toolbox
When all repairs fail, it’s probably time to replace your appliance. (DepositPhotos)

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!

Further Reading:

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