The modern electric stove and oven is an essential part of every kitchen. Most homes have an oven range and most residents are at least somewhat capable of preparing meals at the stove. When your stove or oven breaks, most of us are tempted to try a little DIY before calling the appliance repair technician. After all, you use the appliance every day, surely you have some understanding about how to make it work.
It’s true that stoves and ovens are relatively simple appliances. Electric current flows through to heat elements on the stove or inside the oven. This heats pans that heat food and cause meals to be cooked. Some components of a stove are easy to fix or replace. Some are only a little challenging and possible for anyone handy with a screwdriver. But some repairs are more difficult or dangerous and it’s important to know the difference.
Let’s take a closer look at stove repairs that are DIY-friendly and those that require a technician to resolve.
DIY-Friendly Stove Repairs
– Replace the Oven Light
The oven light is one of the simplest repairs to take care of. You do have to get inside the (cold) oven, but everyone understands how to change a lightbulb. There may be a few mounting screws or a locking tab that holds the light cover on. The light cover is usually glass, rather than the more common plastic, to withstand the heat inside the oven.
Remove the glass light cover inside the oven and replace the lightbulb. Then replace the glass cover. It’s as easy as that.
– Replace Electric Cooktop Burner
Replacing a burner is actually even easier than replacing the oven light. To remove a burner for most electric cooktops, simply lift the burner out of the drip cup and pull in the opposite direction of the socket. The prongs of the burner should slip right out of the socket and the burner will come loose. To put the burner back or install a new one, simply fit the prongs into the socket and push until the prongs firmly stop. Then align the drip pan with the burner supports and set the burner down in its new home.
– Replace Oven Door or Hinges
Believe it or not, you can replace and repair the oven door without the help of a technician. This is because range oven doors lift right off their hinges when handled properly. To remove your oven door, open the oven completely and release the locking latches or tabs on the hinges. Then close the oven door most of the way, so that it is propped at an acute angle pointing upward. From there, lift your oven door straight up off the hinges and set it on a towel. You can now inspect the door and hinges for dents, warping, or damage that may need to be repaired. The inner and outer layers of the oven door can also be taken apart to access the glass and inner components.
– Replace Oven Heating Elements
The oven heating elements are surprisingly simple to replace. They are connected only by mounting screws and a simple wire harness. The catch is that oven elements are brittle and can shatter if you try to move them while they are completely cold. For this reason, replacing or repairing oven heating elements needs to be done when the elements are slightly warm, but not too hot to touch.
When your oven is the right temperature, take out the racks and unplug the appliance. Then unscrew the mounting screws on the broken element and gently pull the element away from the oven wall. You will see a connected wire harness revealed. Follow the wire harness to the clip and release the clip. Do not drop the oven half of the wire clip.
Connect a new heating element to the wire clip and fasten it into the mounting screws. Element replacement is just that simple.
– Replace Infinite Switches
The infinite switches for your stove burners and oven can get pretty nasty. They may have become too dirty to wash, the print may have rubbed off, or you may have even melted them a little. That’s okay. These knobs pull right off and can be promptly replaced with identical or similar knob switches.
Appliance Technician Stove Repairs
– Replace a Glasstop Stove Burner
Glasstop stoves are electric ranges, but they are made in a way that is much more challenging to repair. While the cooktop is nice, it’s impossible to simply pop out a burner and swap it with another identical burner. Glasstop stove burners are mounted on racks on the underside of the cooktop surface. You’ll need to open the glass, remove the rack, remove the burner, and then change out the installation.
Most home chefs feel much safer leaving this kind of complex and precarious task to a professional appliance technician.
– Repair Oven Main Controller
Some controls of an oven are simple, like the infinite switch knob for a basic electric burner. These components can be easily repaired. But modern stoves also include features and capabilities that are more difficult to repair. The more advanced features of your stove and oven are controlled by a small computer often called the main controller. Don’t count on being able to perform main controller repairs or even replacements at home, as main controllers go a little beyond screwdriver maintenance.
If your main controller breaks or begins to malfunction, it’s time to call a professional.
– Replace Oven Touchpad Controls
The touchpad of your stove and oven is also more complex than a screwdriver can handle. Touchpads are sheets of membrane switches which are nearly impossible to repair once they break. They are also delicate to replace and it is necessary to get exactly the right replacement touchpad for the make and model of your electric stove.
If your touchpad begins to miss signals or work improperly, you will need the help of a repair technician to perform the necessary repairs.
– Repair Oven Fuse or Thermostats
Finally, anything having to do with the oven’s temperature sensing or internal functions should be left to the pros. Fuses, thermostats, sensors, and insulation are all delicate aspects of an oven that help the oven deal with hundreds of degrees hotter than is safe for human interaction. So please call a repair technician if your oven problems go beyond those that are safe to DIY repair.