Why is My Electric Range Sparking?
Appliances can be mysterious, and–when they’re not working right—scary things! If you’re asking the question “why is my electric range sparking,” then you know exactly how true this sentiment can be. A sparking range can deliver a zap powerful enough to put a hole in a pot, to emit a shower of sparks until a fuse is blown, or to simply give off a few noticeable pops. No one wants to deal with dangerous sparking like this, so matter what the cause of your sparking range, this helpful guide will assist you in diagnosing why your electric range is sparking, and how you can stop your electric range from sparking for good.
Before You Start
Don’t forget that a sparking range means that you are having electrical issues with your appliance, and electricity is dangerous. Even an experienced handy-homeowner should take great care in working on an appliance with electrical issues. Unplug the range when you’re assessing the issue, and be careful when plugging it back in after service. Use a voltage detector or multimeter to be sure that you haven’t created any unexpected “hot zones” that might give you a bad electrical shock when touched.
If you don’t feel comfortable working on an appliance in this manner, call a range repair professional. If you do feel comfortable getting your hands dirty, follow some basic safety procedures: unplug the appliance when working on it, use a voltage detector of multimeter to test for hot areas, wear protective clothing and gloves, and keep a fire extinguisher handy for emergencies.
1: Check for Loose Connections
If your electric range is sparking, you need to be sure that the coil surface element is connected properly. Even light day-to-day use and the constant heating and cooling of components can cause looseness in the connection of the terminals. This can also happen when using oversized pots or pans on smaller sized burners. If your connection is loose, it can cause higher resistance or improper continuity to your surface elements, resulting in melted wires or arcing sparks that you are experiencing. If you are seeing sparks, check these connections first. In the future, be sure to look over these connections on a regular basis, such as when you are cleaning the cooktop.
2: Cracks or Bubbles in the Coil
If your electric range is sparking, it’s probably happening at the element coils. These coils are made of cast iron, and though they are built to last and to withstand high and fluctuating temperatures, they will not last forever. Especially if your range is older or sees heavy use, you may need to inspect your element coils for damage. When the range is off, check for signs of cracks, bubbling, or fissures in the surface of the coils. These elements cannot be repaired, to they will need to be replaced if they are worn out or broken.
3: Frayed or Broken Wires
You electric range is full of wires, so if it starts sparking, they should be one of the first suspected causes. Over years of use, wires can fray and protective sheathing can be damaged, causing arcing or sparks on your electric range. Pay particular attention to the wires that connect your elements to the appliance, as they are the most likely to fail from use. And since your electric range is a sophisticated appliance using high levels of heat, you should always replace worn out or frayed wires instead of attempting to repair.
4: Damaged Element Socket
Since your elements are the most-used part of your range top, it is important to carefully inspect the sockets in which they are seated on a regular basis. Through years of heavy use, movement of pots and pans, or just bad luck, the elements can come out of the socks and cause arcing or sparks. It’s easy enough to check to see if the elements are firmly in their sockets, and if they aren’t to try and create a better connection. If something is wrong with your sockets or your elements, and you are prevented from creating a better connection, you will need to replace one or both of the components.
5: Defective Cooktop Element
If your electric range is sparking and none of the above tips have helped, consider replacing your elements. Elements are built to last, and some may never need to be replaced. But if you are experiencing electrical sparks on your range, the culprit could be a defective cooktop element. Try replacing the sparking elements to see if this fixed your problem, as many element issues are undetectable by the naked eye.