Oven selector switches that can be referred to as function switches or commutator switches are the small switch that sits behind the control knob of your oven and switch between the various functions of your oven.
These switches range in shape, size and functions dependent on the model to which they are fitted, some have thermostats attached to the back of them, some do not. Some have only a few wires, some are hugely complex. Some now are fully electronic. There is a huge diversity of different types of these switches.
This makes it absolutely vital that you order the correct switch for you particular model of oven or cooker in virtually all cases. There are exceptions but, very few.
Please read this article fully, it may well save you a lot of grief.
Important Points When Ordering A Switch
- Do not order visually, switches can alter in the way they look
- Ensure that you locate the rating plate and get the full model and serial number or product code
- Do not trust instruction books for model information as they are generic
- Check before ordering if you are unsure that you are ordering the correct switch
- If the replacement switch is different when you receive it, check for changes
- If you are not sure, check before ordering, not after
Oven Switch Changes
Manufacturers change parts all the time for any number of reasons. The original supplier could no longer be able to make the part, there has been a change to make it better, changes to make it fit other models and a host of other reasons besides these examples.
Oven and regulators are possibly the ones that cause a lot of confusion, even with the trade at times, as they can look substantially different to the original component. They are however almost always completely interchangeable so long as you know what to do.
They can at times though look wildly different from the original switch.
If the switch has been altered we will often have a not of that on the item’s listing in the store or, we will often let you know and advise on what you should do to fit the replacement.
Where neither is the case it’s a straight swap most all of the time but, if there’s any confusion if you contact us with the order number etc then we will be able to find out about any alterations that have been made for you and advise as needed.
You can read more on oven selector switches being altered from the original in this article.
How To Replace An Oven Switch
The first thing you need to be able to do is, reach the switch to do anything at all. After of course isolating the appliance from the mains power, make sure it’s off or you could get a shock you do not want.
Much like the switches themselves, the method by which this is done can vary dramatically from model to model so there is no “one size fits all” type instructions or tutorial on how to replace the selector switch in your oven but, we will try to give general guidelines to work to.
Generally speaking however, built in ovens are far easier than cookers and range cookers.
Freestanding Cookers & Range Cookers
For most standard cookers and range cookers the problem you will face is the work required to get to the switch as it can be a fair bit on some. This is why we pointed out the requirement to ensure you get the correct switch first, before you even open the cooker up as believe us, there is nothing more soul crushing that spending an hour getting to the switch only to find you have the wrong one!
Trust us, we tell you this from bitter, bitter experience.
If you have a cooker with a back panel, which is extremely uncommon these days in Europe let alone the UK but still commonplace in the USA, you’re in luck, it’s as easy as it gets. The back panel of the cooker will usually come off allowing you full access to the switch, regulators, thermostat and so on.
With those and most others, the control knob will simply pull off and you should ordinarily see two screws in there, top and bottom or left and right, that are holding the oven switch in place.
Whatever you do, do not undo these screws until you get access to the switch.
If the switch falls out of place and you then switch the power back on it could go bang and cause damage so, don’t do it.
For most UK and European models what you will have is a control panel on the front of the cooker that meets the hob top then either one or two oven cavities below this dependent on the model.
As the switchgear all sits behind the control panel (obviously!) you need to get in there and, that can be a hassle as the hob top will almost always need to be at least loosened off if not removed completely so, here’s a list of what to do to get to 90% or more of them on freestanding cookers and range cookers:
- If it’s a gas cooker, remove all the “removable” parts from the hob top
- Remove the side panels (usually screws at the back and side and fairly obvious)
- Look at the configuration, some you can then release the from facia panel is you can, do that
- If you cannot do that, the hob top needs to be moved out the way
- To move the hob top varies but there will be retaining screws to allow you to release it at least enough to access the switches and regulators
Built In Ovens
These are easy, just pull the oven out (there’s an article on how to do that if you are unsure in this section) and you will see a removable top panel in 99.99% of built in ovens.
Take that panel off and, you have access.
We told you built in ovens were easier.
Before you Start Replacing The Oven Switch
Important: Once you get access to the switch, take a note or a photo of all the wiring in place and the switch in place.
The reason for this is that you will now have a record of what was there and, if anything does go wrong, you drop a wire or whatever at least you have a reference to go back to and see what you have done.
To do this you may need to undo the retaining screws and turn the switch to seethe wiring as it will often appear to be pointed downwards into the oven. Which makes sense when you think about it, that’s where the wires are going to go.
Almost all the terminals will have some sort of marking on them, usually they are numbered as often when a switch has changed, they are changed number for number for each terminal or, there is a conversion chart that tells you what wire goes to which terminal number position. So, you need to know what goes where.
Even for simple switches or, seemingly simple ones, this is good practice however on more complex oven switches, this is absolutely vital and could save the day therefore our advice is, do not skip this step.
Compare The New & Old Switches
At this stage have a look at the old and new switches before you start pulling wires off.
Are they the same, if so, great, you’re ready to crack on with it.
If they are not, sit down and read through any documentation, make sure you understand it before you begin and that you know what is going on. Normally this is easy enough but some changes can be pretty complex so you will need some peace and quiet so you can concentrate, a clear head and an understanding of what you’re doing.
If you get it wrong bad things can happen, like you blow the new switch so, some patience is required.
Should you find something unclear or there’s an issue then contact us with the order number and the details of the oven or cooker and we’ll check it for you and advise. If you didn't get the switch from us we are sorry but we will not be able to support any issues as we cannot see what you have been supplied.
Changing The Oven Switch
Do this slowly, don’t rush it’s not a race!
If there’s a thermostat mounted on the back of the selector switch these will normally just pop off, they’re just clipped on with the shaft of the thermostat inserted into the selector switch.
Go wire for wire, terminal by terminal checking as you go so as to try to avoid any errors.
Once you’ve done that, check it again. Make sure you’ve got it exactly the way you need it to be.
After that’s all done all you need to do is put it all back together again.
Testing The Replacement Switch
Again, patience is key here.
Go through each oven function one at a time, makes sure that everything works as it should at each position on the switch allowing time for heating up and cooling down as required.
Once you are satisfied that it’s all back up and running, you’re done and you have successfully replace the oven function selector switch in your oven.