Oven Heating Elements
Most people would think that oven or cooker elements were all the same and all that differed was the price of them. Sadly this, as it is for a lot of commonly used spare parts, is not the case and there can be huge differences from the cheapest to, what may seem, the most expensive available.
Elements used in cookers and built in ovens, especially grill and fan heating elements, are very often cloned by many spares producers. Some are good, some are okay and some are just terrible. The worst thing possible for us as engineers is that you go out and replace a customer's element and, a few months later, you get a recall as it's failed again. Apart from being embarrassing, it's expensive. So we tend to use elements that are of a good quality wherever possible simply due to that never mind that the good ones usually fit easier and better.
Much of what follows applies to a great many spare parts and so if you've read much of this in other articles our apologies but it is important that you understand the differences between the good and bad spare parts. If you want to read up on why fan oven elements fail and how to replace them, please see this article.
Stuff You Need To Know
People generally don't realise or think that many brands, even the largest in the world like Indesit, Hotpoint, Zanussi or Electrolux don't actually make a lot of the components that go into their machines. An awful lot of it is outsourced to other manufacturers that specialise in the production of specific components such as Plaset for pumps, Invensys for electronic control boards or Irca for elements. The same applies to cooker or oven elements just as it does with many spare parts as most appliance manufacturers don't actually make these themselves.
What does this mean and why should you care and what has it to do with the price?
In most cases this process means that the washing machine maker sends over the specification of the element that they require to a factory and that specialist producer will make the elements as specified.
They invest quite heavily in the tooling to do this and seek the best return on that investment that they can. This means that the original producer of the element will often sell them to a third party, so long as you are prepared to buy enough of them, at a relatively low price as you cut out the middle man, the brand owner.
This means that, in a lot of cases, we can supply a cooker or oven element much cheaper than the manufacturer's price but of the same original high quality. We sell a lot of these sorts of seals to save you money but without us having to compromise on the quality of the part we supply.
Getting An Even Cheaper Cooker Or Oven Element
Of course you can also, especially when it is a very common element, get them made elsewhere for even less. These are known in the trade as "patten"‚ "pattern" or "bojack" spare parts. Basically it means a compatible and not a genuine part.
What happens is this, a spares distributor sees that he's selling bucket loads of a certain part (in this case an element) and decides to see how cheap he can get it to beat all his competitors on price. So, in order to get the price down they start to cut corners as they don't care about the brand, nor do they care about the quality particularly, this is purely an exercise in getting the lowest possible price and the highest possible profit.
So we end up with ludicrously cheap elements that are nowhere near the quality of the original spare. Often the metal is thinner and so burns out sooner, brackets and supports are poorly formed and don't quite fit properly as well as being just general poor quality.
We don't sell these sorts of spares, we never have and never will unless there is absolutely no other alternative and, even then, we'd warn people. To be frank, it's just not worth it as they're usually rubbish.
But with the onset of the internet and folk on Ebay selling spares purely on the strength that they are the cheapest these sort of parts can easily be found sadly and most sellers won't tell you. I'm sure, after reading the above that won't exactly come as a surprise. And remember on Ebay you have a 45 day guarantee, after that the seller has no responsibility that they have to honour.
But, if you want the cheapest possible price, that's the risk you run.
Cooker Or Oven Model Number Required
For a lot of heating elements you will need the model number to make sure you get the correct part.
For most you will find the model number printed on the rating plate that you will normally find inside the door, on the top on some, such as some Diplomat models or on the back.
Without the model number and, sometimes even the serial number or PNC, it may not be possible to identify the correct element that you need.
Slight Variations On The Theme
Often you will get an element that has a slightly different power rating and, in a lot of cases, this won't make a huge difference if it's only a couple of hundred Watts of a difference. All it really means is that the oven will heat faster or slower as you increase or decrease the rating respectively. But it's usually not too much of a concern and very often the original part rating will change, especially if users complain of slow heating or the likes.
What is more of a concern is that the element fits properly, especially fan elements, as if the air doesn't get blown across the properly you can get heat spots on the element itself which can lead to blistering of the outer casing of the element itself and it will fail.
It is important that you try to get the best possible fit.
Where the element has been changed or modified we will usually advise accordingly and make a recommendation as appropriate.
Fitting A New Oven Element
Normally, fitting a new fan element is reasonably straightforward if you are handy but some can be very awkward indeed. Basically, if you're not sure we'd advise that you use the Find An Engineer facility to call an engineer to do it for you. It's not worth the risk of injury if you don't know what you're doing and you must always ensure that the power is off, which can be a challenge with some cookers and especially built-in ovens.
More generic instructions are available in the Self Help area of the Help & Advice section that you are in now.
As with most spare parts, elements will generally not come with any instructions on how to fit them. You would only normally get instructions on how to fit if there was some form of modification.
However, you can get help from the forums on fitting but above all, stay safe!
Finding A Cooker Or Oven Element In The Shop
Finding an element in our online shop is easy, simply go to the shop using this link that will open a new window or tab (or the ones below) then type in the model number of your cooker or oven into the "Search" box. Press search and it will bring up all the parts we've used on that particular model.
You can of course narrow the returns by adding "element", "oven element" or "grill element" to the search, just as you would in the likes of Google, to look for a specific spare part.
Many of the elements we have added the dimensions for and to search all elements we've added for a manufacturer simply type in the brand name and then the description as above. For example if you search for "Diplomat fan element" is will bring up all the fan elements we've identified as fitting that make.
Delivery Times For Oven And Grill Elements
Many, many elements that are in the online store we physically hold in stock and are often shipped the same day that we receive your order. Even if it is a door seal that isn't so common we would usually have most within a day or two and it would ship the same day it was received.