Nothing will ruin your meal like having an oven that doesn’t bake properly. Taking out a painstakingly assembled dish only to find that it is half raw and half burnt can be extremely frustrating. While we recently discussed how to replace the temperature sensor on a Maytag MER8700DS1 range, you may still have questions regarding how to troubleshoot an oven that isn’t cooking properly. To help you better diagnose the cause of your problems, here is a quick overview of some of the ways you will be able to tell if your oven is baking unevenly, and how you can figure out the cause of this problem.
Check The Calibration
The first thing you should do when trying to diagnose uneven baking in your range’s oven is to check your oven’s calibration, as this is likely the problem if you find that the edges of dishes are burning while the center remains raw. This is not necessarily a sign that your oven is cooking unevenly, but instead, it often indicates poor calibration. When an oven is properly calibrated, this means that the temperature you set it to matches the actual temperature inside of your oven. Over time, however, an oven can lose its calibration, which can mean that even though you set your oven to 350 degrees, it may actually be closer to 400 degrees or higher, which is throwing off the way your food is cooking. To test your oven’s calibration let your oven preheat, then place an oven thermometer on the middle of the center rack. Periodically check the temperature reading on the thermometer over the next hour and take the average of those temperatures. If the average temperature your oven is heating to is different than what you have it set to, you will need to have your have recalibrated.
How to Check if Your Oven is Cooking Evenly
If your oven is properly calibrated, then you will want to check for hot spots to confirm that your oven is heating unevenly. Fortunately, there are a few simple tests that you can run to help you determine whether or not your oven is heating properly, or if something else (such as poor recipes or imprecise cooking) is to blame for your baking problems.
- Bake a Cake: One of the easiest ways to check how your oven is heating is to bake a cake from a boxed mix. Follow the recipe exactly and cook it for the specified amount of time. When you remove the cake from the oven to test for doneness, check multiple spots throughout the cake. If your oven isn’t heating properly, you will likely find that some spots are more done than others.
- Do The Bread Test: Another simple test that can help you better pinpoint where your oven isn’t heating properly is to make toast in your oven. Take a loaf of plain, white bread and spread out the slices across the racks in your oven. Once the bread has toasted, you will want to check if certain spots have browned more than others. Not only will uneven browning confirm the problem, but the location of over or undercooked spots on the bread can help you to narrow down where the problem is coming from in your oven.
Check for Common Problems
Once you have determined that your oven is, in fact, heating unevenly, it can be difficult to narrow down the cause of the problem yourself. However, checking the elements below may help you to locate the cause of your heating problems. Here are a few of the common causes of uneven baking.
- Check for a Faulty Heating Element: A common cause of uneven cooking in an oven is to have a faulty bake (lower), or broil (upper), heating element. If one of these heating elements is burned out, this will lead to uneven preheating and improper cooking. Fortunately, you can do a quick visual test that will help you to identify if either of these heating elements is broken. To do this, turn on your oven and watch the heating elements as your oven is preheating. If one of them is not glowing red hot, this means that it is burned out and will need to be replaced. During the preheated stage you may also be able to spot visual defects in the heating element, or a heating element that is partially burned out, all of which can lead to uneven heating.
- Check The Convection Element: In a convection oven, the convection element works to heat and circulate air within the oven. When this element is not working, the oven won’t heat properly. Unlike the other heating elements in your oven, it can be more difficult to tell if the convection element is working properly. To test this element you will need a multimeter to test the element for continuity. If the element does not have continuity it will need to be replaced.
- Check The Temperature Sensor: As we mentioned in our previous post, one of the most common causes of uneven baking is a faulty temperature sensor, as this sensor works in conjunction with the oven control board to regulate your oven’s temperature. To check if your temperature sensor is working properly you will need to test it with an ohmmeter. As the temperature inside the oven rises, the resistance measurement reading on the meter should rise as well. A temperature sensor that produces a faulty reading on an ohmmeter will likely need to be replaced.
If you determine that your oven’s temperature sensor is likely the cause of your baking problems, you can follow our guide on how to replace this part on your Maytag range. However, if something else such as the calibration or one of the heating elements is to blame, or you are not sure what is wrong with your oven, then you should consider having your appliance repaired by a trained technician as these repairs can be more complicated to perform. Contact us to learn more about what could be causing your cooking troubles as well as to schedule an appointment to have your oven inspected and repaired.