Image courtesy of Egan Snow
Ovens are a kitchen appliance staple. Most people use them on a daily basis to heat up food or prepare meals from scratch.
Although they’re fundamentally quite simple in design, constant use (and in some cases, lack of maintenance), can cause ovens to malfunction in several predictable ways, or stop working altogether.
Thinking about pursuing appliance technician training, or already enrolled in a program? Wondering what kinds of oven issues you’ll learn about during training, and face out in the field?
Get a sneak peek at 4 very common ways ovens break down, what usually causes these problems, and the troubleshooting steps you’ll walk through first.
Problem #1: Oven Won’t Heat Up
A stone-cold oven definitely throws a wrench into dinner time prep. If a client reports a non-heating unit, there are several obvious causes to troubleshoot first.
You’ll want to confirm that the unit has power by verifying the plug hasn’t come loose, and the display lights are still working. Or, in the case of a gas oven, your first step would be to check for a faulty igniter.
Other typical causes of non-heating ovens include worn out heating elements (which simply need to be replaced), and burned out, melted, loose, or otherwise damaged wires at the back of the unit.
For gas ovens, you may have an issue with a broken electrode. A worn-out electrode can’t generate the spark needed to ignite the gas. You’ll need to visually inspect the electrode assembly for cracks, or damage to the tip itself.
Problem #2: The Oven Cooks Unevenly
Does your client try to bake cakes or roast a chicken, and find some parts come out done, while the rest remains raw? You’re dealing with an oven that cooks unevenly.
Varying, unstable temperatures are often caused by a faulty thermostat—which will need to be recalibrated or replaced.
Another common culprit is a burned out bake element. If the bake element isn’t working, the broiler is left to heat the oven on its own, which will result in an unevenly cooked dish.
The reverse is also true: a burned out broiler will force the bake element to heat the oven on its own, causing temperature issues.
You’ll need to check both components for damage, test for continuity, and replace if need be.
Other common troubleshooting steps include:
- checking the temperature sensor (it can be tested by using an ohm meter)
- checking for a burned out convection element (and testing for continuity)
- verifying the convection motor is functional and able to circulate air evenly inside the oven
Problem #3: Oven Doesn’t Reach the Stipulated Temperature
With this issue, clients will report that food takes much longer than usual to cook—or comes out of the oven underdone. Their oven simply isn’t reaching the temperature they set it for. What’s causing this problem?
You will probably check the temperature sensor first. If it’s defective, or touching the side of the oven, it will not be able to accurately measure the internal temperature of the unit. You may need to re-position it, and use an ohm meter to test its functionality.
You’ll also want to check the bake element and ensure it’s heating up properly, and if the oven has internal fuses, you could verify that none of them have blown.
A blown fuse is a sign that an internal component has shorted or failed, interfering with the oven’s ability to heat correctly.
Problem #4: The Oven Door Won’t Close
If your client’s oven door won’t close, it’s likely the oven won’t work at all—or at best, will suffer from heat loss. There are several fairly straightforward reasons oven doors stop cooperating, including:
- dirty, rusty hinges that need cleaning or replacing
- worn out springs that need replacing
- cracked or “sticking” latch that requires greasing or replacing (the hole it fits into may also need cleaning)
- door has moved out of alignment with the frame, possibly from repeated heating and cooling (will need to be re-positioned, and the screws tightened to hold it in place)
And there you have it! Four of the most common oven issues you’ll see in the field after appliance technician training. Know of another problem you think belongs on this list? Let us know, and we’ll cover it in an upcoming post.
Interested in learning more about appliance technician training in general, or what you need to get started in the field?
Take a look at the Appliance Service Technician Program offered by the Pre-apprenticeship Training (PAT) Institute in Toronto and Cambridge.
Click below to browse a detailed list of appliance technician courses, career options, and discover what makes PAT Ontario’s leading trades training college.
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