Is your electric oven on the fritz? You may be able to save a costly visit from the appliance repairman by replacing its heating element yourself.
An electric oven's heating element is a curved tube that houses a wire. When the oven is on, electricity heats up the wire, and the heat spreads throughout the oven. Most electric ovens contain both a bake element
and a broil element
. Failure to heat properly, as well as bubbles and breaks in the sheath, are signs that your heating element may need to be replaced. (First make sure there isn't a problem with the main power supply. Also, if both
elements won't light, it might be a wiring problem
Changing out a faulty element is really quite simple. All you need is about 20 minutes, the following items and a little know-how.
Tools & Supplies
• Two clothespins, paper clips, or the like.
• Phillips-head screwdriver
• Nut driver (optional)
• A new bake element
or broil element
. (Either give the hardware store's salesperson the correct model and serial number of the element you need -- it's printed on a tag located inside the oven's bottom drawer -- or bring along your old element for proper identification. If you know just what kind of heating element you need, you can order a replacement online
1. Cut the power. Switch off the circuit breaker
and unplug the range from the wall socket. Once the oven is completely cool, remove both baking racks.
2. Locate the heating element.
Open the oven door and look inside. You'll see that the bake element is at the base of the oven, while the broil element is up top; both are attached to a mounting plate that sits flush against the oven's rear wall. Remove the oven racks for easy access to the element.
3. Detach the old element.
With your nut driver
, loosen the two hex-head screws that hold the element to the mounting plate (if they're regular screws, just use your Phillips-head driver
); the broil element may have two additional screws that attach to the ceiling of the oven.
4. Pull out the element.
Then gently pull the element toward you – it will still be secured to the oven by two electrical supply wires, which are also connected with two more screws. Before loosening those, clip one clothespin to each wire -- this prevents them from slipping back behind the oven once they're unfastened. Now it's safe to unhitch the wires from their terminals (the metal pieces to which the wires are attached).
5. Install the new element.
Slide its terminals back through the holes in the mounting bracket and tightly refasten wires to the terminals (either wire to either terminal is fine). Reposition the element and re-thread the wires back into their holes (be sure they're not pinched between the wall and bracket). Line up the element with the bracket and, with the original screws, reattach the bracket to the oven wall.
6. Restore power.
Flip the circuit breaker and plug that baby back in. Then celebrate your DIY dexterity by cooking up a mouth-watering tray of lasagna!