How To Repair Your Oven Or Cooker
For the most part basic ovens are usually quite simple appliances until you introduce advanced features. However price sensitivity in this area, especially on contract ranges normally supplied to builders and kitchen contractors, means that a lot of the lower end products are not the best build quality by far.
The faults and information here will relate to built in ovens as well as cookers and double ovens as all operate on the same principles with the exception of ovens that also combine microwave technologies, however these are rare and not within the scope of this article.
Safety First When Working On An Oven Or Cooker
Please remember to keep yourself and your family safe by following our simple basic electrical safety guide. Quite simply it is not worth someone's life or an injury just to save a few pounds calling in a professional repairer.
To get the best possible service we would recommend our engineer search service which will refer you to a local repairer that operates to a standard that we have set in our own code of practice. It is your guarantee that the service that you recieve will be a quality one that is fairly priced.
Common Oven And Cooker Problems
The oven does not heat up
This does not apply if the oven is totally dead, please read "The oven is totally dead" below for more on that fault.
If the fan is running and the thermostat light comes on but you get no heat (or just the thermostat light on in non-fan ovens and cookers) then the probability is that the fan element or oven elements have failed. These are usually fairly straightforward to test for continuity and to replace, however safety must be observed.
Much more information is available on fan oven elements and why they fail from this link
The other suspect with this sort of fault can be the main oven cha ngeover switch. The normal arrangement is to have a changeover switch, sometimes called a "commutator", to select the various oven functions with the thermostat mounted on the back on cheaper models and a separate thermostat, often also regulating the grill temperature, on more expensive models or those with more features.
The safety thermostats or, on some models, a thermal fuse can also cause this failure although if they have failed there is normally a reason such as a faulty thermostat or poor ventilation.
It is also possible that a thermostat failure can cause this fault although this is rare.
- Fan oven element
- Oven element/s
- Oven thermostat
- Oven changeover switch
- Thermal fuse/s or safety thermostats
The oven overheats and burns everything
Normally this is a simple thermostat failure which would manifest itself as this symptom.
When replacing thermostats be careful with the "“phial", this is the long "sensor" that has the temperature probe on it which is inserted into the oven cavity. You must not kink or break that phial as if you do you will have broken the part and it is rendered useless. The phial is filled with a gas which expands and contracts thereby operating the on/off action of the thermostat.
Many are available in our online store but some are specialist items and if you are unsure please contact us for a specific match for your oven.
The oven door isn't closing properly
Normally this will be faulty hinges or the hinge runners.
For the most part what will happen is that the hinge runners, NOT the hinges, will go faulty usually the little rollers will fail, causing the door hinges to run off true. This in turn places strain on the hinges that they were not designed to cope with and they will then fail, often snapping.
Most repairers will advise strongly that both hinges are replaced, both rollers or runners replaced, or a set of each at the same time. Replacing one is a false economy as 99.99% of the time if one has gone the other is sure to follow very soon.
- Door hinges
- Door hinge rollers/runners
The oven door fell off!
See previous, there is really no other reason or cause.
The units are burning at either side of the oven or cooker
Under normal circumstance this will be caused by a faulty door seal where the oven or cooker is a few years old or possibly by the door not sealing correctly due to faulty hinges or runners/rollers, see above.
On newer appliances that have not been installed too long (months, not years) it will almost certainly be either poor installation with inadequate ventilation, not enough space allowed between the oven front and the adjacent cupboard doors or poor quality kitchen cabinetry in general. It is virtually unheard of for this to be caused by a fault with the appliance, other than physical damage causing the door to not seal correctly, where there is no fault with the thermostat.
So for older appliances:
- Oven or cooker door seal faulty
- Oven or cooker door hinges faulty
- Oven door hinge rollers/runners
- Possible oven thermostat fault
For new machines:
- Physical damage to oven (transit damage)
- Inadequate ventilation
- Inadequate spacing between oven and cupboard doors
- Poor kitchen doors that cannot withstand temperatures of 100?C Possible thermostat fault
The oven door or knobs are too hot
This is a common complaint with new appliances and the official requirements can be found in the article from this link
In essence, when installed correctly, the chances of the oven not meeting BS Standard is almost impossible so much so that we have only come across such an instance once or twice in tens of thousands tested over the years. The accepted solution is that replacing with a superior model fitted with better cooling ability or with a cooling fan (many cheaper models, especially contract ranges) as many do not have these fitted as standard to reduce costs.
The oven or cooker cuts out after it's been on for a while
This is an overheating problem which can be caused by the main oven thermostat or a faulty safety thermostat that will be causing the problem. It can also be caused by a failure of the cooling fan, where fitted, but usually these go noisy before failing, only rarely do they go open circuit.
Safety thermostats are used to prevent the oven or cooker overheating and causing physical damage and are usually mounted on the outside of the actual oven cavity. They can be hard to find as all too often they are buried in the insulation surrounding the oven cavity if the wires are not evident and easily seen.
- Main oven thermostat
- Faulty oven safety thermostat
- Faulty oven cooling fan motor
- Poor installation, ventilation issue
The oven or cooker is noisy
Noise from the oven is limited to being produced by the moving parts so the fan motor and cooling fan motor are the most obvious causes where fitted. When new it is not uncommon for a cooling fan motor especially to be misaligned or damaged giving off a screeching sound as the blades catch the casing.
On older ovens and cookers a bearing failure in either motor will cause this issue and, in the case of fan motors, if the fault is not rectified reasonably quickly the fan element may fail as well as the motor turns slower than it should allowing the fan element to overheat. In some cases the fan blades may even "clip" the element, again leading to its premature failure.
It is worth noting that some rattling type noises can be caused by loose screws, faulty hinges etc.
- Fan oven motor failure
- Oven cooling fan motor failure
- Physical damage
Why does a fan run after I switch the oven off?
This is a cool down period and can vary massively from appliance to appliance and even from kitchen to kitchen as it is dependent on the temperature that the machine was run at, the insulation (how good it is) and the ventilation of the cabinets in which the oven or cooker is housed. It is not uncommon for a cooling fan to run on for half an hour or more after the oven is switched off and this is perfectly normal.
The oven door seal is faulty where can I get a new one?
Door seals are easy to spot on failure as they tend to break up and they are normally easy to replace, most being simply clipped into place. Replacement seals can be ordered for many makes in our online store or, alternatively please feel free to contact us for a specific quote.
How do I clean the oven?
We hope to have a full article on this in the near future however as a start some tips are detailed here:
- Refer to the user guide for instructions on removing the door and door glasses
- Do not use abrasive cleaners where there is stenciled lettering or legends
- For stainless steel ovens and cookers we highly recommend Chromol
- For oven interiors, but not self cleaning panels, Fairy Power Spray is excellent
- To clean inside the door, between the glass, disassembly of the door is usually required
- Knobs usually "pull off" for cleaning, gently prise if required
- Do not clean panels with wire wool or "Brillo" pads as you will damage the surfaces
- Do not use any chemical cleaners on self cleaning panels, you will ruin them
How do I clean the oven door?
See above, but most oven doors can be removed for cleaning and, if possible, this is normally detailed in the instruction manual. However there is an article available from this link dedicated to this subject.
The door glass has shattered, why?
We have had much debate on this subject within the forums and the short answer is that there is no definitive answer to the question, we can only tell you what we do know to be fact or has been advised by the manufacturers. There is however a lot more information on the subject in the article from this link
The problem can be caused by minor defects in the glass and these can be caused in many way including:
- Hotpots from resting hot dishes on the glass
- Slamming the door which can weaken the glass
- Leaving wet dishtowels either on the glass or in contact hanging on the door causing a temperature differential
- Impact damage
- Temperature regulation problem
- Improper installation, ventilation
- Large casserole dishes (or similar) touching the inner glass whilst cooking
- Oven thermostat problem (overheating)
- Oven door seal faulty
- Oven door hinges faulty
As you can see there has been a number of reasons put forward but, unfortunately, the evidence often lies in a thousand pieces making determining the reason for the glass to explode (as it is often reported) virtually impossible.
The upshot of it is that this does happen on occasion and can happen to any brand, no one brand has escaped this phenomena and there is no definitive time scale in which it will happen nor any definitive reason other than a thermostat failure or, possibly, the hinges and door seal as they can be ascertained.
With either the inner or outer door glass not properly in place do not use the oven for safety reason, it can be dangerous to do so.
Door glasses are mostly special order parts and you can get pricing and availability simply by contacting us.
The light inside the oven is faulty
Normally this is simply a case of replacing the bulb. However is the bulb cover is stuck, it often happens due to the build up of cooking grease, then you may have to smash the cover (carefully) to access the bulb. Occasionally a full light assembly is required.
If you do have to smash the bulb get an old towel and place it over the lamp cover and smash. The towel should catch most of the glass, stop you getting cut or shards of glass flying at your face as well as protecting the oven liner.
Most common bulbs used for ovens and cookers are available from this link, make sure that you use a correctly rated bulb for the temperature or the new one could explode!
The oven is totally dead
First things first, check the electricity supply and make sure it is okay.
Next check that the oven is not on automatic, click this link to find out how if you are not sure.
Next, it has become increasingly popular for builders to cut costs by not installing a proper 30 Amp cooker supply, instead placing ovens on a 13A socket and plug. The problem is that invariably the socket will be behind the oven and you have to take the oven out from its housing to check the fuse.
After that check the mains cable with a meter (DO NOT LIVE TEST)
The oven door handle is broken, is it easy to change and can I get a new one?
Depends on the oven. Some are really simply, being only two screws to release and change and others require a total stripdown of the door.
What's the black glue that holds the door glass or hinges on?
It is this special heat glue that is used for these types of jobs. Bear in mind that you must allow this glue to set completely before refitting any components glued with it.
The grill element in my oven or cooker doesn't work
This would usually indicate that the grill element is faulty.
Also check the main oven changeover switch, energy regulator (grill) if fitted and any overheat thermostats.
- Grill element
- Oven changeover switch
- Overheat thermostat
- Main oven thermostat, if used to regulate the grill temperature
The outer part of the grill element doesn't glow
They mostly don't. Most, especially continental grills, do not use an infra-red outer zone and therefore they do not "“glow" as such but they are still heating.
The only way to safely check this is to carry out a continuity check on the element itself.
How can I get a new grill pan?
Easy, simply email us or, you can find universal replacement shelves and grill pans in our online store
There's smoke from the oven, what is it?
Invariably spillage except on a new installation or when a new element is fitted. The elements come with a protective coating which must "burn off" before you commence cooking.
There is nothing in the oven that is flammable or that can cause any odours or smoke in normal use and so the cause must be external in origin.
There's a bad smell from the oven, what is it?
Please see this article for much more information on bad smells, smoke etc from an oven or cooker.