Electric Stove Burner Not Working? How to Fix It

April 1, 2022
Oven Repair

You may be thinking that fixing an electric stove burner requires a technician. However, fixing an electric stove burner is relatively easy. All that it requires is a Phillips-head bit, this guide, and possibly a multimeter. Once you have identified the problem, a replacement part can be purchased online and usually installed by simply plugging it in.

Keep reading to diagnose the issue and fix your electric stove burner.

How does the burner work?

Understanding how an electric stove burner works will assist you with identifying the reason your electric stove burner is not working.

When the burner is turned on, 120 volts of AC is sent through two legs that connect with the burner, which results in a closed circuit and the burner heating. Most of the reasons an electric stove burner will not heat are related to the burner being unable to complete a closed circuit.

The burner’s terminals can be tested with a multimeter to determine if the connector is not allowing a closed circuit, also called “not having continuity.” The lack of a closed circuit can also indicate that the burner’s switch or wiring is defective.

How to prevent the burner from becoming defective

Electric stove burners will often become defective due to food, liquid, and grease that falls through the cracks and damages the burner receptacle. Therefore, it is important to wipe up any spills that occur and to keep the burner clean. Rough treatment of the burner coil can also cause the burner to fail.


Before troubleshooting the burner, disconnect the power to the stove. Also, ensure that none of the stove’s electrical components come into contact with water, as it will likely damage them.

How to access a ceramic cooktop (glass or smooth top stove)

If you have a ceramic stove, the stovetop will need to be unscrewed to check the electrical components beneath it. Unscrewing the stovetop will likely require a Phillips-head bit or screwdriver. The screws can typically be found on the front of the cooktop, under the portion of the stovetop that extends towards you.

When you remove the screws, lift the front of the stovetop at a 45 to 90-degree angle. The stovetop will likely require a sturdy object, like a long piece of wood, to support it while you check the electrical components.

Once you have raised the stovetop, the burner coils will likely be secured by two metal brackets that will need to be unscrewed and removed to check the coils for damage.

How to access a coil top stove

If you have a coil top stove, some of the troubleshooting required to fix it can be done by simply lifting the burner coil up or pulling it out from its receptacle. Be careful when removing the burner coil from its receptacle; keep the angle as low as possible, but also expect to have to use some elbow grease to unplug it.

Accessing the electrical components beneath the stove can usually be achieved by lifting the stovetop up from the front at a 45 to 90-degree angle. Most coil top stoves will have supports that will hold the stovetop up while you troubleshoot the burner issue.

How to fix an electric stove burner that is not working

Disconnect the burner

If your electric stove burner is not working, it could be due to a loose connection between the receptacle and burner terminals. You may be able to tell if the terminal is loose by wiggling it, but nonetheless, you might as well unplug it, check the terminal for damage, and then plug it in again.

When you plug it in, make sure it connects properly and is not loose. If you find that the terminal is damaged, you have likely found the reason the burner is not working and should replace the receptacle or burner.

Inspect the burner receptacle for signs of damage

Sometimes food, liquid, or grease drips down and damages the burner receptacle. Other times, the receptacle can burn out and affect the voltage being sent to the burner.

Check the receptacle for signs of burning or other damage. If the contacts are badly damaged, the receptacle should be replaced with a new one.

Determine if the burner coil is damaged

If you have a coil top stove, it should be relatively easy to identify if the coil is broken or damaged; simply inspect the coil for breaks or blistering. If the coil is damaged, it will need to be replaced. If you are unsure if the coil is damaged, swap the suspect burner with one of the stove’s other working burners. If the burner coil works while plugged into a different receptacle, you will know that the coil is not defective.

If you have a ceramic stovetop, once you have accessed the coil, check for breaks or other damage. If the coil is damaged, it will need to be replaced.

A multimeter can also be used to check the burner for continuity. The multimeter probes should be touched to the burner’s terminal, and if there is no continuity, the burner will need to be replaced.

Check for loose or burnt wiring

Occasionally, the wiring underneath the stove becomes damaged. The stovetop will need to be lifted up to check the wiring and connectors for damage. If the wiring or connectors are damaged, they will need to be replaced. A loose connection could also be causing the burner not to work, so you should check that the connectors are not loose as well.

Determine if the burner switch has failed

If the burner is not damaged, the burner’s switch is likely responsible for the burner not working. The suspect burner should be swapped with a working burner to determine if the switch is defective. After troubleshooting the likely causes above, if you install a working burner and it will not work, you will know that the burner switch is most likely responsible.

Depending on the type of stove, you may need to remove the stove’s rear panel to access and replace the defective switch.


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