There are four main types of ovens: conventional, convection, microwave, and toaster. This is a general guide that covers how to fix an oven not heating up for a conventional electric or gas stove oven.
Electrical ovens work by using heating elements on the walls of the oven. These heating elements draw large amounts of electricity (although this only costs roughly $0.60 an hour according to Power Shop) in order to heat the air inside, cooking your food. Electric ovens are the most common variety although they tend to be more expensive than gas ovens.
While gas ovens are generally a fair bit cheaper than electric ovens to buy, they often have hot spots and you will need a gas supply. Gas ovens work using a gas fuelled burner. The gas supply is opened when you turn it on and then ignited. Once it reaches temperature it will cut the gas supply, restarting it once the oven starts to cool again.
Regardless of the type of oven you have, when it ceases to heat up properly it is an inconvenience most people would rather avoid. Here is a simple step-by-step guide on things to check yourself which may fix your oven without having to call a repair technician.
Check the circuit breaker
If your oven is completely dead the first thing to check is the circuit breaker. Electrical ovens use a lot of electricity in order to heat up and maintain a constant temperature. As a result, there are circuit breakers in place which can be caused to trip if there is a power surge. If your circuit breaker has been tripped, it will result in your oven not heating up.
Follow these steps to check your circuit breaker:
- Go to your home’s service panel.
- Locate the breaker labeled “Oven”.
- Check to see if the switch has been tripped. A tripped switch will be sitting midway between the “On” and “Off” positions.
If your switch has been tripped you can reset it yourself. First, push the switch to off and then all the way into the on position. Now check your oven to see if this has fixed the issue. If your breaker trips again soon after you have reset it you may need to call an electrician.
Check the position of the oven and stove knobs
If your oven has physical knobs instead of a touchscreen this is the next component for you to check. If they have been knocked or removed and not put back on correctly, there is a good chance this is your issue.
You will need to check each knob is installed correctly and in its proper place. Consult your owner’s manual if you are unsure about where the correct position is.
Check your oven door is closing properly
If your oven door is not closed and sealed, hot air will escape which will slow down the cooking process.
Check or replace your heating element (electric oven)
This step is only applicable to electric ovens.
If you have an electric oven, you should consider replacing the heating element if you are having issues with your oven not heating up. Your element should last on average 5 years but sometimes need to be replaced earlier. A replacement heating element is usually inexpensive and can be replaced yourself. First you should check if your oven is still under warranty. If not, follow these simple steps to replace your oven’s heating element:
- Test your heating element by preheating your oven to around 200 degrees celsius and checking to see if the oven element glows red. If not, it will need to be replaced.
- Turn off the power to your oven and pull it out from the wall slightly.
- Pull out all the racks to give you space to work in. You can also remove the door if you want more room.
- Using a screwdriver, undo the two screws connecting the heating element to your oven. Carefully pull the heating pad towards you, ensuring the two wires connected to the heating element are not pulled off.
- Remove the metal spade connectors from the element. Be careful not to let the wires fall back into the oven cavity.
- Connect the metal spade connectors onto the terminals of the new heating element.
- Gently push the new heating element back into position and reinstall the two screws to hold it in place.
- Replace the oven racks (and door if removed).
- Preheat your oven to 200 degrees celsius to see if the new heating element is working correctly.
If your oven is still not heating up correctly then it is time to consult a professional repair technician.
Check and clean the igniter (gas oven)
This step is only applicable to gas ovens.
If you have checked the simple fixes above and are still having trouble with your oven not heating up, you may have a dirty or faulty ignitor. Follow these simple steps to clean your oven ignitor.
- Turn off the power at the wall and unplug your oven.
- Locate your oven’s ignitor, it will often resemble a 5cm metal module covered by a metal cage. In some models, it will be visible with the oven door open but with others, you will need to remove panels. Consult your owner’s manual if you are having trouble locating it.
- Once located, visually inspect the ignitor for gunk. If you feel comfortable you can clean it yourself.
- Ensure the gas has been turned off before you begin.
- Use an old toothbrush to remove any visible gunk or dirt.
- Unclog the pilot hole using a skewer or sewing needle.
Once you have cleaned the ignitor, turn the gas and power back on and retest your oven to see if it is heating up correctly. If not, the ignitor may need to be replaced. We highly recommend consulting a professional for this.