Troubleshooting an Oven That Won’t Start

The oven is essential to any kitchen. Even if you’re not a great cook, it’s fairly easy to warm up a dish in the oven. It’s a big headache when your oven breaks down, especially if it will not turn on at all. There are several possible reasons why an oven will not turn on. Here is a guide for quick oven troubleshooting that will save you time and money.

Oven troubleshooting

Power Source

Most electric ranges require 240 volts of AC current. The current travels through two legs of 120 volts each. The oven will not turn on if one leg of the voltage is shut down. If the oven is plugged in but not getting enough voltage, it won’t start. Check your fuse box and make sure the breaker hasn’t tripped. Test the wall socket with a multimeter. If the electrical outlet is receiving power, the problem is with the oven itself.

Blown Thermal Fuse

The oven’s thermal fuse will trip if your oven overheats. The oven will not turn on if the thermal fuse is blown. The thermal fuse can’t be reset; a blown thermal fuse will need replacing.

How to Check Your Oven’s Fuses

To test your oven’s thermal fuse:

  • Disconnect power from your oven using your circuit breaker.
  • Check your owner’s manual to determine which fuse you need to inspect. Most electric ranges have several fuses.
  • Remove the fuse and inspect it visually. The fuse is good if the fusible link is intact. If it isn’t intact, you will need to replace the fuse.

Bake Element or Broil Element

The bake element and broil element are the oven’s heating elements. The bake element is located at the bottom of the oven, and then the broil element is found at the top of the oven. Most electric ranges use both elements during a heating cycle, with the bake element performing most of the heating. If either element is faulty, the oven will not heat.

Visually inspect your bake element or broil element for signs of blistering or separating. If you see blisters, the element will need to be replaced. If the heating element looks normal, you can test it using a multimeter.

Oven fixes

How to Test Your Bake Element or Broil Element

Caution: Before beginning your test, disconnect power to your oven at the circuit breaker panel.

  • After disconnecting power, remove your oven’s back panel.
  • Inspect both elements’ wires and terminals for signs of damage, wear, or corrosion.
  • Remove the bake element or broil element from the oven.
  • Set your multimeter to Rx1, then touch the element’s terminals with the probes. You should see a reading between 19 and 115 ohms of resistance. Consult your owner’s manual to find out what the exact reading should be–it will vary depending on the model.
  • The element will need replacing if it no longer has continuity, or if signs of damage are present.

Temperature Sensor

The oven’s temperature is regulated by the temperature sensor. The oven will not start if the temperature sensor is not working properly. If the sensor is broken, you will probably see a fault code.

How to Test Your Oven’s Temperature Sensor

You can test the temperature sensor using a multimeter.

  • Disconnect power from your oven using your circuit breaker.
  • The temperature sensor is found near the top of the oven, located on the inside wall at the rear. Disconnect it and remove it.
  • Check your owner’s manual to find what the correct multimeter reading should be.
  • Set your multimeter to Rx1, then touch the probes to the terminals. Make sure the sensor is at room temperature before performing this test.
  • If your multimeter reading is not within the recommended range, the temperature sensor will need to be replaced.

Defective Igniter

In a gas oven, the igniter opens the gas valve and ignites the gas. A faulty igniter is one of the most common repairs on gas ovens. The igniter works by drawing an electrical current to open the safety valve. It then becomes hot enough to ignite the gas in the oven’s burner assembly. A weak or broken igniter will not open the safety valve properly, and the oven will not start.

The igniter is usually located near the oven’s burners. Disconnect the gas supply, then locate the igniter and use a toothbrush to gently clear away any buildup of dirt or debris. Use a small needle to clean the pilot hole and remove any dirt that’s blocking the flow of gas.

If cleaning the igniter does not resolve the issue, follow the steps below.

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How to Check the Igniter

To determine if your igniter is working correctly:

  • Watch the igniter while the oven is on. If the igniter glows, but the gas flame does not ignite for 90 seconds or more, the igniter is weak and will not open the safety valve.
  • If the igniter does not glow, use a multimeter to test it for continuity.
  • If no continuity is found, replace the igniter.

Electronic Control Board

Most modern ovens are controlled by an electronic control board. If you have an electric oven, the electronic control board operates the bake and broil elements. In a gas oven, the control board will operate the safety valve. If the control board is not functioning properly, it won’t send voltage to the heating elements and the oven will not turn on.

Before attempting to replace the control board, make sure your heating elements are not causing the problem. If your heating elements are working properly, inspect the electronic control board.

Inspecting the Electronic Control Board

Before accessing the control board, make sure to disconnect power from your appliance.

  • The electronic control board is located behind the control panel. You will probably need to remove the top panel to access the electronic control board.
  • Visually inspect the control board for signs of wear or damage. Look for shorted, burned, or damaged contacts.
  • If you find any damage, the electronic control board should be replaced.

If you’re having problems with your oven, you may need professional assistance. The tips outlined in this article will help you determine why your oven won’t start.