How to Fix a Range or Oven That Won’t Start
The kitchen range and oven combination is probably the most important appliance in the room. It helps you create delicious meals and snacks for your entire family. But what do you do when you have a range or oven that won’t start? In the case of modern appliances, it can be difficult to understand just what causes a specific problem. With so many interconnected components, it can be tricky to pinpoint the issue. This guide will walk you through the most likely reasons for a range or often not starting, so read on for more information.
Before Getting Started
Remember a few safety tips before getting started: always unplug the range or oven before servicing the inside cabinet, and always shut off any natural gas supply to the appliance. Be sure to wait until the appliance is cool to service it, wear protective eyewear and clothing when necessary, and don’t be afraid to call in an oven repair professional when needed.
With these safety considerations in mind, let’s work on fixing a range or oven that won’t start.
First: Check Fuses
If your oven has internal fuses, a wiring or component problem could have caused a fuse to blow. A blown fuse is an indication that a component has shorted or failed, and the problem will need to be corrected. Most ovens that use fuses will have an indication of the circuits that are affected by a particular fuse. If an oven fuse has blown, then you should inspect the oven element and the associated wiring to determine the cause before replacing the fuse. Do not change the rating of the fuses. The same will apply to a fuse labeled for a surface burner.
Second: Element Check
Your range and oven heat up using three primary element systems: the broil element, the bake element, and the surface burner element. Each of these should be checked in turn to determine if they are the cause for your oven or range not starting up.
The broil element is found at the top of the oven and is used for very high-temperature heating, and should thus be checked first. If the element is not glowing hot when in use, inspect the element for blistering, cracking, or signs of damage. If you don’t see visible signs that the broil element is broken, you can access the oven cabinet to check that all wire and socket connections for the broil element are intact. If they are, a continuity test will be necessary to see if it is the source of the problem. This would be a live voltage check, and should only be completed by a professional.
The bake element is responsible most of the heating in an electric oven, and should thus be checked second among all the elements. If the bake element is cold or does not glow red during use, it is probably defective. As with the broil element, check for signs of visual damage. If you don’t see any, you can access the oven cabinet to check that all connections and wiring for the bake element are secure and undamaged. If there are no signs of fault, the only way to isolate the bake element further is through a live voltage continuity test, which should be performed by a professional.
Finally, the surface burner element should be checked last. Surface burners come in three types: coil, solid, or ribbon coil (for smooth top ranges). All of these make use of a heating wire that operates on an electric current to produce heat. These elements should be visually inspected, as with the other element types. Inspect the terminal ends for signs of corrosion or heat damage, and replace any terminals that appear to be faulty. You can check surface burner element with a multimeter after removing them.
Third: Oven Burner Igniter
The oven burner igniter, or hot surface igniter, opens the gas valve and ignites the gas. As the igniter heats and glows, it also causes the oven safety valve to open and release the gas for ignition. This normally takes about a minute. Igniters can be both flat or round in shape, and are very fragile.
If the burner does not light, then you should check the hot surface igniter. If the igniter does not glow, then a live voltage check is the only way to determine if power is getting to the igniter. Again, this is a live voltage check and should be performed by a professional. If power is present, the igniter may be open circuit and can be checked for continuity with a multimeter. If the igniter is glowing, but the burner doesn’t light, the igniter may not be activating with enough energy to open the valve. This check would should also be performed by a professional.
If the igniter is deemed defective, it will have to be replaced.
Fourth: Temperature Sensor
All modern ovens contain a temperature sensor that controls the temperature in the appliance. If the temperature sensor is faulty, it can be the reason that a range or oven won’t start. A temperature sensor is usually located inside the oven, near the top of the rear wall. Although most modern ovens will display a fault code if the sensor is bad, you can check resistance in the sensor with a multimeter. The only caveat is that you will need to know the proper resistance for the sensor at room temperature to assess whether it is working or not.
Last: Safety Valve
The safety valve, also known as the gas valve, is a component that ensures gas is not released until the igniter is hot enough to light the gas. While this part can fail, it is not usual as it is an integral part of the safety system of the appliance. If the hot surface igniter doesn’t glow, you should first verify that you have voltage to the circuit. As with several other checks in this guide, this is a live voltage check and should only be completed by a professional.