Wed 16th November 2022
When our cooking appliances don’t work, it can be a huge inconvenience. Electric ovens are no different. If your electric oven is not heating up, it can put a damper on dinner plans!
Electric ovens have become more and more common during the last couple of decades according to marketing research, so it’s not surprising that many of us might be wondering WHY our electric oven isn’t heating up.
Our appliance gurus here at Homeforce will take you through some of the most common reasons and some hacks on how to fix them.
First, we will start with the mini answer before we hit into more detail.
Usually, an electric oven fails to heat because of a faulty heating element. Other potential causes could be incorrect set controls, the oven being off, a malfunctioning door seal or gasket, a blown fuse, tripped circuit breaker, failed temperature sensor, a faulty igniter or a power supply issue.
So with the short answer in mind, we can understand a little more easily why your electric oven is not heating up.
Let’s start by finding out a bit more about some of the most common causes.
The controls may have been set incorrectly
One of the most common reasons for an electric oven not heating up is that the controls have been set incorrectly.
Check to make sure that the correct cooking temperature has been selected and that the oven is set to ‘bake’ rather than ‘grill’.
The oven is not turned on
It sounds obvious but sometimes the reason why your oven is not heating up could be because it’s not turned on.
Electric ovens have a switch that needs to be turned on for them to work. If the switch is turned off, the oven will not heat up.
There is usually a power point that looks like a regular light switch near the oven that needs to be turned on.
If you’re not sure whether the oven is turned on, check the power cord to see if it’s plugged into an outlet.
If it’s not plugged in, then plug it in and turn on the switch. If it is plugged in, then it’s likely that the power supply to the oven is not working.
A problem with the power supply
If the power to your oven has been cut off, then obviously the oven won’t heat up.
This could be due to a problem with the fuse box or trip switch. If you think this may be the case, check the fuse box or trip switch and reset it if necessary.
Your oven may be on a different circuit from the rest of your appliances, so even if the power is working in your home, it may not be working in your oven.
In this case, you will need to call an electrician to come and take a look.
Tripped circuit breaker
If the circuit breaker has tripped, then the electric oven will not heat up. The circuit breaker is located in the electrical panel and controls the power to the oven.
This is a simple fix by resetting the breaker.
Faulty heating element
The first potential reason, and most common, as to why your electric oven is not heating up is due to a faulty heating element.
The heating element is what actually produces the heat in your oven and there are usually two heating elements in most models located at the top and bottom of the oven.
If one or both of these are not working then your oven won’t heat up.
The heating elements can go faulty for several reasons, most commonly due to age or wear and tear but sometimes it can be due to a power surge which has damaged the element.
The best way to test the heating element is to use a multimeter to test for continuity.
Continuity simply means that there is a complete path for the current to flow.
Follow our five-step way to test with a multimeter.
- Turn off the power to your oven at the breaker box.
- Once the power is off, you’ll want to disconnect the wires from the element.
- Then, using the multimeter set to the ohms setting, touch one lead of the meter to each side of the disconnected element.
- If there is continuity, then the element is working and doesn’t need to be replaced.
- If there is no continuity, then the element will need to be replaced.
If either one of these goes out, it will need to be replaced for your oven to heat up correctly.
The two heating elements are usually different sizes and wattages, so make sure you get the right one when you’re replacing it.
Elements are generally inexpensive and easy to replace if you follow a few simple steps.
To change the element, you will need to:
- Unplug the oven from the wall outlet
- Remove the screws that are holding the element in place
- Disconnect the wires from the element
- Remove the old element and insert the new one
- Screw the element back in place
- Reconnect the wires
- Plug the oven back into the wall outlet
Only attempt to change a heating element if you feel comfortable doing so and have the necessary skills.
Otherwise, you may want to contact a professional appliance engineer for assistance.
A problem with the oven thermostat(s)
Another potential reason why your electric oven is not heating up could be an issue with the thermostat.
The oven thermostat is what regulates the overall temperature in your oven, so if it isn’t working properly, then the oven won’t heat up to the correct temperature.
If you suspect that the thermostat might be the issue, you can try resetting it and see if that fixes the problem.
You could also try testing the thermostat using a multimeter to test for continuity.
Broken door switch
The door switch is responsible for turning off the heating element when the oven door is opened.
If the door switch isn’t working, then the heating element will stay on even when the door is opened, which can be a fire hazard.
If you think a broken door switch is why your electric oven is not heating up then you should have it replaced by a qualified repair technician.
Door gasket issues
The door gasket seals the oven door shut and helps to keep the heat in. If the door gasket is damaged, then heat can escape and the oven won’t be able to reach the proper temperature.
To test the door gasket, close the oven door and see if there is any light coming through around the edges.
If there is, then the door gasket will need to be replaced.
You may have an issue with the oven sensor
The oven sensor is what tells the oven what temperature to maintain.
If the oven sensor is not working properly, then the oven will not be able to heat up to the proper temperature.
Oven sensor breakdown is often a symptom of wear and tear, so you may not notice the problem right away.
The oven sensor is usually located near the back of the oven, so you will need to remove the back panel to access it.
Only remove the panel on an electric oven if you feel comfortable doing so and have the necessary skills. If you’re not sure, it’s always best to call a professional.
Once you have access to the oven sensor, you can also use a multimeter to test it for continuity, similar to when testing the heating element and the thermostat
If there is no continuity, then the oven sensor will need to be replaced.
What if my stove top is still working but not my oven?
There are a few things that could be going on if your oven isn’t working, but your stove top is.
The first thing you should check is whether or not the igniter is glowing. If it’s not, then there may be an issue with the gas flow to the oven.
Another possibility is that the elements may have burned out.
The most common problem is usually with the element at the top of the oven but the lower element can go out too.
If one or both of these elements have burned out, they will need to be replaced.
It’s also possible that there is an issue with the oven thermostat. If it’s not working properly, then it may not be sending the correct signal to the heating elements. This is a more serious problem that will require professional assistance to fix.
If it seems that none of these problems is the issue, then it could be that there is a wiring problem.
This is also a serious problem that should be handled by a professional oven repair technician.
And finally… your oven may need to be replaced
If it still isn’t heating up after trying all the above, then it could require extensive repairs or replacement. Sometimes the entire oven might need to be replaced depending on the severity of the issue.
While some might choose to buy a new oven, electric ovens can be expensive.
Electric ovens also have a long lifespan, so repairing an oven wherever possible is often a more cost-effective solution.
An appliance plan can help to protect your oven (and other appliances) from unexpected repairs or replacements, giving you peace of mind and helping to keep your home running smoothly.