Common cooker problems, common faults found in cookers and ovens, faults and fixes
Common cooker problems, common faults found in cookers and ovens, faults and fixes
Over the years, the basic design of ovens and cookers has remained the same and this can help most people identify common cooker faults. Of course, there are various innovations and features that have been added. However, the principles that govern the functioning of these appliances are essentially the same. The salient exceptions are the types of ovens that utilize some form of microwave technology, and are beyond the scope of this article.
In case of serious issues with an oven or cooker, it is always recommended to hire the services of a well qualified service engineer. This ensures your personal safety as well as makes sure that there is no damage to your oven during the repair process. However, understanding the basics of oven and cooker fault finding can help you diagnose some of the more common cooker problems.
Safety Tip: Always make sure that your appliance has been switched off and unplugged from its electrical outlet before you proceed with the oven and cooker fault finding process. The use of protective equipment is always highly recommended.
My Oven does not Heat Up
A specific type of problem occurs when the oven fan appears to be working and the thermostat light is visible but the oven just does not appear to be able to generate any heat (In the case of an oven without a fan, only the thermostat indicator is visible.) Generally speaking, this type of condition is caused by a failure in the fan element or one of the oven heating elements.
In most ovens, the heating elements are located at the bottom (bake heating element) and the top (broil heating element) of the appliance. Checking on these elements can be quite simple; there is distinct red glow visible when both elements are functioning correctly. The presence of an electrical problem that is preventing one of these elements from working can be determined with a voltage meter. A loose connection or a bad wire supplying power to these heating elements can interfere with their functioning. Usually, the heating elements or the wires may have to be replaced in this situation.
This type of problem could also be related to a tripped thermostat. In this case, you should switch off the oven and allow it to cool down to room temperature. You may now attempt to turn the oven back on.
Also check to make sure that your timer is at the Manual position; if it is set to Auto, there is every chance that your oven will not heat up.
If you are dealing with a gas oven, you must first check to make sure that gas is being supplied to the oven. A heating problem can also be caused when the bake igniter burns out or ceases to function correctly. Another factor that could be responsible is a faulty gas safety valve.
My oven constantly overheats and burns anything placed in it
Primarily, this type of problem indicates a malfunctioning thermostat. Check the bulb to make sure that it is not loose. This bulb can come loose and it is necessary to make sure that it is tightly secured. If the bulb has burned out it may have to be replaced.
Electrical ovens utilize a temperature sensor to ensure that the oven functions at the correct temperature. This is usually located within the oven cavity and may need to be replaced if it is defective. Typically, the sensor consists of a chamber that is filled with a gas. The gas contracts and expands in response to changes in temperature within the oven, and it is responsible for regulating the state (on or off) of the thermostat. If you are replacing the sensor, care must be taken to make sure that it is handled correctly. This is an extremely sensitive part and may be easily damaged.
My oven door does not close properly or has fallen off
This problem may be caused when the door latch is not properly aligned or is stuck in the closed position. If you own a self-cleaning oven, this could be a result of a failure within the switch or motor that is responsible for controlling the latch. This motor can be accessed by removing the back panel of your oven. In case there are visible burn marks on the motor or the wires, they will need to be replaced.
Problems with the oven door could also be related to defects within the rubber/silicone door gasket or seal. If the seal has been damaged or slipped loose, it will have to be reattached or removed.
Another factor causing this condition could be a defective door hinge or problems with the oven door runners. A problem with the door runners can damage the alignment of the hinges and they may run off track. As a result, they are placed under excessive pressure that can cause them to snap. It is generally advisable to replace both door hinges and runners in case of damage.
In case of extreme damage to some of these parts, the oven door may actually fall off.
My Oven burns kitchen units placed near it
In the case of an older oven model, this type of problem may be caused when the oven door fails to close properly while it is operating at high temperatures. As discussed earlier, this is usually caused by defective oven door runners or a broken door hinge. Overheating may also be the result of a defective oven thermostat.
If you have a relatively new oven, this may have little to do with any real flaws within your device itself. This might indicate a lack of ventilation or improper installation where there is not enough of a gap between the fronts of the oven and other furniture in the kitchen.
In either of these situations, the heat escaping from the oven door has the potential to singe any furniture constructed from a material that is susceptible to damage from high temperatures. Adequate ventilation around the oven is necessary; avoid placing any wooden/plastic furniture in close proximity to the oven door.
My Oven Door/Knob or Control Panel Overheats
Most oven manufacturers are required to specify the maximum temperature that oven doors and knobs are legally allowed to reach. Conventional wisdom states that some of the better models fitted with cooling fans are less likely to suffer from a situation where the knobs or door start to overheat.
However, this type of problem can be caused when the oven door does not fit perfectly allowing heat to escape from the front of the oven. If the knobs or door are constructed from materials such as nickel or steel, there is every possibility that they may reach an unusually high temperature.
In most cases, this could be the fallout of an installation mistake or a faulty oven door seal that may need to be replaced.
My oven cuts out after it has been running for a short period
Most ovens and cookers will have a safety thermostat or sensor that is usually located in the insulation above the oven cavity. Their primary function is to ensure that the inside of the oven does not reach an unsafe temperature. If the temperature crosses the safety threshold, this sensor will trip and causes the oven to cut off. Owing to its location, this sensor may not be easily accessible and you may require a trained engineer to replace this part.
If your oven has a cooling fan, this problem may occur in instances where the fan has stopped working. However, a faulty fan is easily diagnosable as it tends to get noisy prior to a failure.
In some cases, there may be a problem with the main oven thermostat which results in the oven overheating. This could result in the thermal cut out tripping and switching off the oven.
Installing your appliance in a location without adequate ventilation may also result in this type of problem.
My Oven Emits Loud Sounds while running
Essentially any noise produced by an oven can be diagnosed as the outcome of a failure in a moving part within the appliance. The primary cause for this noise is a problem with the oven fan. In many cases, the fan itself may function adequately, but one of the blades may be bent or twisted. During the course of its functioning, it is inevitable that the blade will make contact with the framework holding the fan in place. If the fan/blade itself is damaged, it will have to be replaced. In less serious cases, the noise from the fan may be caused by an excessive build up of dirt and grime. Here, the fan may just have to be cleaned before it can be considered fit for use.
In the case of gas ovens, you may notice a rattling or rumbling noise. This could be an indicator that there are blockages in the tubes supplying gas to your oven. Quite often, this results in excessive gas being supplied to your oven. This could be a safety hazard, and may require the presence of a service engineer.
If the oven burners are dirty, suffering from corrosion, or are blocked with charred residue, they can cause a rattling sound while they are in use. Always make sure that these burners and igniters are free of dirt and are properly secured.
My oven fan continues to run even after the oven is switched off
This is not technically a problem with the oven or the fan. After use, most ovens require a significant period of time in order to cool down. It is perfectly normal for the oven fan to be active during this period. Generally speaking, the time required for an oven to cool down and fan to stop depends on factors such as the temperature of the oven prior to its being switched off and the quality of ventilation available. If there is only a limited amount of ventilation, the fan may run substantially longer.
My Oven Glass Door has shattered
This is a relatively new problem that is still quite rare. There is no conclusive factor that can be pointed to as the cause of an oven door shattering. This type of problem can occur while the oven is in use or even when the oven is not being used. Typically, the glass used in ovens is tempered glass. While this is undoubtedly one of the toughest forms of glass, it does have one inherent flaw. Any small crack or deformation near the corners can create excessive tensile pressure on the glass. This type of glass is also well known to shatter completely when it cannot handle the pressure it is placed under.
Some safety tips can help you avoid this type of problem
- Avoid placing any hot baking trays/dishes on the glass
- Do not allow wet towels or cloths to rest on the surface of the glass while it is still hot; this can weaken the surface of the glass
- Make sure that any large dishes placed in the oven are not in contact with the inner surface of the glass
- Do not close the oven door roughly, as it may displace the glass from its frame
- Check your oven for signs of overheating, defective door gaskets and broken door hinges
- Make sure your oven thermostat is functioning properly
- If the outer or inner glass doors of your oven have been displaced, do not use the appliance.
My oven light is not functioning
This problem can be alleviated by simply replacing the oven bulb. Usually, this is just a matter of reaching into the oven compartment and changing the bulb. Sometimes though, grease or dirt build ups may cause the glass cover to get stuck, in which case you may need to pull out the oven back panel to access the bulb. Make sure you have an alternative bulb of the appropriate type and rating for your oven.
My oven appears to be totally dead
In such cases, it may be necessary to check that the electrical outlet supplying power to your appliance is working. Also make sure that the circuit breaker has not been accidentally switched off.
This could also be caused when the oven timer has been set to Automatic. If this is the case, you need to consult the product manual about setting the timer back to Manual.
For the most part, cooker faults can be relatively simple to diagnose if you follow a safe, meticulous approach to troubleshooting. You are, however, recommended to avail of the services provided by a trained service engineer if you are completely unfamiliar with the functioning of these electrical appliances.