An oven heating element is an essential, simple part that is easy to replace in most electric ovens and ranges. These are the parts responsible for creating the heat necessary for baking and broiling—they do their job simply by heating up as electric current passes through them. When they stop heating, the solution is usually to replace the heating element.
Ovens typically have two elements: one at the top for broiling, and one at the bottom for baking. The baking element usually has metal feet... and simply rests on the oven floor. It connects to the back wall of the oven with a plate or bracket held by a couple of screws. Behind the plate, two metal prongs connect to two wires inside the oven. The wires typically have female crimp connectors that slide onto the element's prongs.
You can buy a replacement oven element through the oven manufacturer or through online appliance parts retailers. All you need is the appliance's model number. This should be printed on a metal plate that's located in one of several places:
- On the oven door jamb, at the top, sides or bottom, when the door is open
- On the frame below the door, when the bottom drawer is pulled out
- Under a burner on an electric cooktop, if the burners are removable
- Under the cooktop cover, if it can be lifted up
- On, or in, the vent duct, on models with down-draft venting
Warning: Electric ovens and ranges use 240 volts and up to 50 amps of electricity and can deliver a deadly shock if you touch the element wiring while the power is on. Unplug the appliance from the wall outlet before working on the element. If the appliance is hard-wired (no plug-in cord), turn off the oven's circuit breaker and make sure to test the wiring voltage before touching any wires.
Tools and Materials You Will Need
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Step 1: Disconnect the Electrical Supply
Make sure all of the oven or range controls are OFF. Unplug the appliance at the wall outlet. On freestanding ranges, the cord is usually accessible if you remove the bottom drawer completely and reach through the drawer cavity from the front.
On hardwired ranges and ovens (or if you can't reach the cord), turn off the appliance's circuit breaker in your home's breaker box. It will be a double-pole breaker, typically labeled for 30, 40 or 50 amps. You must test the wires (step 3) to... confirm the power is off before touching them.
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Step 2: Remove the Heating Element Mounting Plate
- Open the oven door and remove all of the oven racks. Locate the mounting plate or bracket at the rear of the faulty bake element.
- Remove the screws securing the plate to the oven wall, using a screwdriver.
Note: Some elements connect to the oven in two places. In this case, each end of the element will have its own mounting plate and will connect to one wire inside the oven.
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Step 3: Test for Electrical Current
- Gently pull the element away from the back wall of the oven. Slide the element toward you just a couple of inches, so you can see the wires connected to the element. The wires may be surrounded by insulation, which may pull out a bit—don't worry, this is normal.
- Confirm that the circuit power is off by touching the probe of a non-contact voltage tester to each of the wire ends. There should be no voltage present. If the tester detects any voltage, you have not shut off the correct breaker.... Return to the electrical service panel to turn off the correct breaker, then test the oven wires again.
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Step 4: Disconnect the Heating Element
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- Carefully disconnect each wire connector from the heating element. You may be able to pull them off with your fingers, or you can use needle-nose pliers. Pull only on the metal connector; never pull on the wire itself.
- Make sure each wire will not slip back into the oven before letting it go. If necessary, temporarily tape the wire to the oven wall with electrical tape or masking tape.
- Remove the old element from the oven.
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Step 5: Install the New Heating Element
- Install the new oven element by sliding each wire connector onto one of the element probes. Use pliers, if necessary, to force the wire connectors onto the probes. Make sure the probe is fully inserted into the connector.
- Slide the element into place so the mounting bracket is against the oven wall and the screw holes are aligned.
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Step 6: Reattach the Mounting Plate and Test the Oven
- Secure the element mounting plate to the back wall of the over with the screws.
- Plug the oven into the wall outlet or turn on the circuit breaker to restore power.
- Put the bottom drawer back into place (if you removed it) and the oven racks back into the oven.
- Turn on the oven to BAKE to check the new element for proper operation. It should glow with a consistent bright-orange color while heating.