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  Oven And Cooker Fan Elements

Imagine a fine wire spiral,. encase it in magnesium oxide powder, then encase it in a metal sleeve. This is how a fan oven element is constructed, but why should it fail? And, when they do, how do you replace them?

Consider that the element is essentially a metal construct, so as it heats it will expand. The motor driven fan central to the element is blowing the heat off the element to disperse is around the oven box, however, this brings the first problem; the inner edge of the element is running at a lower temperature than the outer edge. Next, we have the thermostat causing the element to cycle when it reaches temperature. This is not a sophisticated process; the element is either on or off. As soon as the power cuts off, the element starts to cool, and consequently, contract. This can cause the element to expand and contract by up to 10mm!

a typical faulty fan element from a built in oven
A typical fan element, in this case faulty

The insulation of the oven is critical to the cycling process. A cheap and cheerful single box oven is likely to be poorly insulated and as a consequence will lose heat quickly. This means that the element will be forced to cycle more quickly.

If we tie this all together, we have a differential temperature gradient on the element sleeve, combined with repeated expansion and contraction and exacerbated by poorly insulated appliances. Thefilament (the "spiral") begins to move in its powder casing and will eventually touch the outer metal sleeve, with the inevitable result.

Other things that can happen include the fan motor becoming caked in grease and running slow as a consequence - this will cause the element to overheat and blow. The thermostat can also fail to cycle; again the element will eventually overheat and fail.

We may conclude that by the very nature of the environment in which a fan oven element lives it will eventually fail; it is fair to say that it is only a question of when.

We are often asked how long an element should last, or is expected to last and I'm afraid that the honest answer is that there is no set expected lifespan. This is simply due to the factors involved as pointed out, that can affect the life and so the answer is, anything from two minutes to twenty years, who knows?

Replacement is usually relatively straightforward.

  How To Test An Oven Element

In this short video we quickly explain how to test a fan oven element to see if it is indeed faulty or not and, our apologies for a little of it wandering out of shot.

 

  Safety First When Replacing An Oven Element

Basic electrical safety for appliances, more from the linkEnsure that the power is OFF before attempting any investigation or repair!

It is absolutely vital to do this and DO NOT trust cooker wall switches as they can very often be faulty, especially if they are older.

Electricity kills, do not become a statistic!

  Buying A New Oven Or Cooker Fan Element

blown fan element

This is desperately important!

It is a sad fact that not all elements are equal, like most spare parts that are common there are good copies and there are bad ones. Be very careful what you buy as common issues are:

  • Poorly formed element that isn't the same shape
  • Poor quality materials used for element casing
  • Poor quality bracket

All the elements that we supply through UK Whitegoods are direct replacements that we would fit ourselves to our own cookers, we don't supply inferior quality elements. Where there is no spar?e of reasonable quality available we will only supply the genuine replacement part.

Yes this does lose us business and, quite honestly we'd rather lose the business than supply something that we are not comfortable selling or that we wouldn't fit to our own appliances. We like to offer the best quality we can at the most affordable prices possible.

You will find that most good appliance engineers take the same stance as we like our customers and, importantly, we like to keep them.

Bear in mind that there are, literally, hundreds of types of element on the market and sourcing the correct one for your oven can be difficult at times. We keep the most popular ones in our online shop but, if you can't see what you're looking for or you're not sure then just ask us, it's not a problem. Simple email us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will get back to you as quickly as possible.

  How To Replace An Oven Or Cooker Fan Element

On most ovens and cookers you can remove the rear panel in the inside of the actual oven and access the element.

Usually you can see if this is possible as there will be a retaining screw or nut (at least one) to hold the panel in place, after that you will normally have to lift it or slide it to one side depending on the make, to remove it.? Usually the rear panel of the oven is simply fixed with a couple of knurled screws that you can simply undo by hand.

Removing the back panel of the oven to allow access to the fan heating element

Once removed you should see the fan element and, inside that, the blades of the actual fan motor itself. Normally you will see the element split or blown something like the example shown in the photographs.

Faulty fan oven heating element revealed after the back panel is removed

Ordinarily the element itself is fixed to the rear wall of the inner oven cavity by either a single central bolt, two bolts on either side of the fixing bracket or on occasion one or two bolts that have to be undone from the rear, which means taking the oven out from the housing to replace. In the example above the heating element is held in place by two screws and the element is clearly and, visibly, faulty therefore obviously needs replaced. This sort of fault can also cause the oven to blow fuses or trip the electrical supply.

Whilst you're in there there's a few things to check:

  • Are the fan blades clear and able to freely turn
  • Is there any debris blocking the airflow
  • Are there any obvious hotspots

On the whole though most fan elements are reasonably straightforward enough to replace with only the odd one being beyond the capability of a reasonable person with some DIY skills. Most of it is fairly straightforward and simple common sense with the most awkward part of replacing a fan element being working how to get into that particular model of oven or cooker.

 

close up of a blown fan element from an oven

A close up of a blown element and you can see the outer casing is clearly split

  Fan Oven Element Tips

Make sure that the cooker has not been running or has power on it before you start work on replacing the fan element, one can cause burns and the other can cause burns and far more serious injuries.

Second word of warning, once you have the screws out gently wiggle the element out. Now, be very careful as if the wires fall off then you're going to have to strip the oven down as above.

Third pearl of wisdom. Be warned that most often these wires are short, very short and you will not have a lot of room to work in, welcome to our world!?With all the above information you should be able to replace the element but if this has put you off the idea, or you don't think that you're up to the task then please feel free to use the site to find an engineer or ask in the forums for more advice.

Alice McCabe
insulation blanket under bottom element
I have a Zanussi Cooker. I am worried because the bottom element seems to go too soon and switches off the whole electricity. The man who put it in last time, put insulation blanket underneath the actual element and then foil. The element, being flat, is actually touching it really. I am very worried about it. Please advise.
Alice
insulation under bottom element
I have a Zanussi cooker. The bottom element has gone once or twice and I am rather worried because the fitter put insulation blanket covered with foil actually underneath the element and touching it in places. I am really worried because I don't think there should be an insulation blanket there and I think the foil is what makes it short circuit. Please advise me on this.
John
Replacing Element
I have replaced the 2.5KW element to my Hotpoint cooker. The element works but is red hot. Is this safe?
The fan was working when I removed the metal cover to the element and fan.

john dodwell
Electric Cooker element replacement
I have changed the main oven element (2500w) to my Hotpoint cooker. The element glows red hot...is this OK
Joyce Dobson
element
Hi we changed the heating element of Beko oven. It came on fine but as I turned oven of it fused all electricity. We put trip switch up but now nothing comes on on oven. Any suggestions?
carlos
oven
Hi, I am trying to change the element for Neff fan oven,but the screws are very hard to remove. any help/ thanks
Kenneth
Please use the forums for assistance with diagnostics and fault finding as the repair technicians will not see your comments here.
David
element seems to be good, but still no heat
I wanted to double-check the heat element of Ikea 501.230.08 Framtid OV C10/S before ordering new one, so I removed it from the oven and checked with multimeter – but it doesn\'t show any break in the circuit. Also the element looks visualy fine (no burned bits etc.). The other elements in the oven (grill) and the fan itself work just fine. So it\'s a bit of \"mystery\" what could be wrong here? Any idea? thanks
Kenneth
If the element is not getting powered on, say the selector switch or thermostat was busted, then you would get that as well.
Manicus Vaughan
Hi. I have a Whirlpool AKP216/IX_IX single oven.

I suspect the fan oven element is gone, as grill works and oven fan runs when switched on. Just no heat!

Do you have any suggestions? I'll look up and match like for like. Thanks

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