Fault Finding on Ovens and Cookers
As you can imagine as consumers are asking for more and more from their kitchen appliances, ovens and/or cookers are much more complex now and therefore more problems can arise. At one time it was very rare for a problem with the older style equipment, let’s face it, there was far less that could go wrong!
Whatever the fault with the oven, it is paramount that before you do anything, make sure the power is turned off from the mains. Whilst mentioning safety, it is a good time to bear in mind that young children and hot ovens don’t go well together. You can’t blame anyone else if a child is unfortunately hurt by coming too close to an oven that is in use. Please be careful.
Identifying the fault
Oven doesn’t heat up: if everything else appears to be working, the most likely cause for this issue is that either the fan or oven element has failed. If you have isolated this as the problem, you should be able to check in your manufacturer’s handbook for advice and guidance on obtaining and replacing the part. If you have lost your handbook, try looking up the issue on the internet and sure you will find lots of useful advice.
However, the other alternatives for this problem could be caused by the main changeover switch. This controls the selection of various oven functions. If the grill does not heat up either, this could be the cause of the problem.
The safety thermostat or thermal fuse could also be an issue. Before buying any new parts, you may need assistance from a qualified engineer to confirm the cause, if you are unable to identify it yourself.
You obviously don’t need to purchase the replacement part from the manufacturer of your oven or cooker, but please be cautious when buying over the internet as there are a lot of fakes on the market, most of which won’t work properly, but some can be dangerous. Try to keep to a supplier you have used before, but check for reviews from your friends or the internet.
Oven overheating: this is much more likely to be caused by a faulty thermostat. Although fairly straightforward to replace great care must be taken as the phial contains gas which expands and contracts to operate the thermostat. Once this is damaged, your only option is to buy another one. If you don’t feel confident enough to do the job yourself, your local engineer will be happy to assist.
Oven cuts out during cooking: This is another example of an overheating problem and is the result of the main oven thermostat or safety thermostat being faulty. Replacement as per stated above.
Oven door not closing properly: You need to check that the hinges are operating correctly. It could be that food debris has become wedged into a hinge, causing it to stop working correctly. That’s fine, once you have cleaned it off, the door should close tightly.
However, it may be that the hinges have become damaged through wear and tear, and will need to be replaced. It is always best to replace both hinges at the same time, otherwise if you only replace one, you can more or less guarantee that shortly thereafter the other one will go!
thereafter the other one will go!This should be reasonably straightforward but as advised above, start checking with the manufacturer’s handbook and avoid buying the cheapest hinges available. If you do, they will not last very long, if they work at all!
Damage to units alongside oven/cooker: If you have an older appliance, this could be caused by wear and tear on the door seal, allowing higher temperatures to escape during cooking. Although you can replace the seal, it may be time to consider replacing the oven itself.
If you do decide on the latter, it is advisable to do your homework first and research thoroughly so you can buy the best that you can afford. The lower price bracket for ovens are generally of a much poorer quality and will not give you the service that you expect. Check reviews on line because they can help to make your decision.
If you do have a newer oven, this damage could well be caused if the appliance has not been installed correctly. Check the manufacturer’s handbook for how this should be done. It could be insufficient space has been allowed around the oven and the adjacent units. Unfortunately, this could also be caused by a poorer quality kitchen unit, as some are quite flimsy on closer inspection.
Door handle too hot: This is a fairly common concern with new ovens/cookers. As long as the appliance has been installed correctly, as noted above, there should be no problem. Rest assured that all ovens/cookers sold in the UK are subject to British Standards and the outside of an oven will not exceed the maximum temperature. Unfortunately, this issue is far more common at the cheaper end of the market and the only way to improve is to upgrade to a better oven with better cooling ability or with a cooling fan.
Oven is making lots of noise: Obviously, some noise can be caused by loose fittings, screws etc. which can be easily rectified. If you have a new appliance it could be the cooling fan motor has been misaligned or damaged in transit. This is the responsibility of the manufacturer to rectify and you should contact them under the terms of your Warranty, or even extended Warranty.
In the case of an older oven/cooker this is more likely to be a bearing failure. This needs to be rectified sooner rather than later to avoid any further damage, as the fan element may fail as well as the motor. You may decide that it is time to look at replacing the oven/cooker rather than repairing. Advice on how to make your choice detailed earlier in this article.
Why does the fan continue to run once cooking is complete?
Timings for this do vary depending on the make and model of your appliance, but as with a car, the fan continues to run to ensure the oven cools down in the quickest possible time. Timing also depends on whether you have a free-standing oven/cooker, under-counter fitting, or a built-in fitting as amount of ventilation available is variable.
Where can I buy a replacement door seal?
These are very common and you should have no problem sourcing a replacement. They are also very easy to fit as they are generally just clipped into place.
How do I clean my oven door?
Most ovens/cookers these days have doors that are easy to remove for cleaning but check in your handbook first. It should also give you suggestions for what you can use to clean the door. This is important to check, as you could damage the finish to the inside of the oven if you use the wrong product, for instance, some makes only suggest using soap and water. If you do use a product that is too strong, you could damage the oven and this would not be covered by any Warranty that you may hold.
Why did the glass in my oven door shatter?
It is highly unlikely that any problem with your appliance could have caused this to happen. The glass in your oven door is very similar to that used in car windows and windscreens, and like your car, damage to the glass can eventually cause it to shatter. Treat your glass with respect and if you do see damage, it is best to replace at the earliest opportunity to avoid the glass shattering over time.
Why doesn’t my oven work?
If your oven is completely dead, you first of all need to check that your electricity supply is working. You will also need to check the connection of the oven to the power supply, unfortunately this is usually sited behind the oven. When moving your oven out, please do this slowly as there may not be sufficient cable supplied to pull the oven completely from its housing.
If you have a built-in appliance you will probably need to have some help to move it as ovens are very heavy, and as soon as you loosen it from the housing, the oven will tip forward so unless you are really experienced, you will need someone to help you.
You may find that whoever installed the oven may have only used a standard 13 amp plug and socket. If this is the case, you will need to upgrade this to a 30 amp cooker supply panel to avoid the problem reoccurring.
Can I get hold of a replacement door handle?
You can get any kind of replacement part for an oven/cooker, these are readily available in most DIY and specialist shops, and also on line. Make sure you have the correct make and model and don’t just guess that it looks right, because when you get in home it may have completely different fittings. If in doubt, remove the broken part and take it with you to match it up.
What type of glue should I use to replace the door glass?
Many manufacturers now use glue to seal the glass into oven doors, and this makes replacing the glass slightly more problematic. Again try your DIY or specialist shop for advice for a special heat glue. Bear in mind that you will need to allow something like 18 hours for this glue to dry completely, making a perfect seal.
As a general rule, most oven parts are replaceable and it depends on how complex you feel the job will be, how long it takes to carry out and how much it costs. If you are not confident in carrying out some of these repairs, you will also need to factor in the costs for employing a qualified engineer to do this work for you.
Taking this into account, you may well decide to replace the oven after all – please see advice on purchasing a new oven earlier in this article.