Convection ovens are a great addition to any kitchen. Even if you’re not a pro at special convection recipes, just switching on that fan causes your food to cook more evenly, which is great no matter what you’re cooking. For those who’ve come to rely on their convection oven to make recipes come outright, it can be a little disruptive when it breaks.
If your convection oven fan has stopped working or started making a racket of noise when it runs, it’s time to start troubleshooting. Fortunately, a convection oven is fairly easy to understand and, therefore, to investigate the problem.
How a Convection Oven Works
Convection ovens circulate the warm air inside the oven chamber so that food cooks more evenly. It does this with a fan that has its own heating element. The convection heating element warms up and the fan blows that warm air directly into the oven. The moving air then stirs through the oven and exiting through a top exhaust vent. This system results in a multi-part system for your convection oven fan.
First, there is a dedicated heating element. Then there is the fan motor and fan blades attached to the motor’s driveshaft. Between the fan blades and the oven chamber is a filter that keeps the circulating air clean. Whatever is wrong with your convection fan relates to these three things, or a deeper problem causing systematic oven failures that include the fan.
Before you start trying to troubleshoot your oven fan, unplug the oven. While not all the troubleshooting steps involve accessing electrical parts, enough do to make this safety step worthwhile. If you don’t turn off the power, you put yourself at risk of shock or electrocution when you touch the motor or the wires that connect the motor to the oven controls.
So cut the power before you work on your oven. Go in with a headlamp, clip light, or flashlight for illumination. And, of course, make sure the oven is cool before you crawl inside.
Clean the Filter
The first thing to try is simply to clean the filter. The fan filter in your oven is very likely a metal mesh that has become remarkably clogged with oven grease and dripped cheese. If the filter is clogged, air can’t flow through it. If air can’t flow, then your convection air circulation won’t work. So the simplest troubleshooting step is simply to clear out that filter, replace it, and see what happens.
Pull out the filter by releasing any locking tabs and sliding it from the tracks. Then soak the filter in extremely hot water mixed with dish soap. This will melt most of the cooking grease in the filter, along with the usual cheese and sauce drips.
After some soaking, scrub the filter clean with hot water, dish soap, and a dish brush. Then dry the filter and return it.
Clean the Fan Blades and Driveshaft
Once you’ve removed the screen, take a closer look at the fan blades and the shaft that connects the blades to the motor. Just like any other fan, if the blades and shaft get too dirty, then the fan can’t spin freely. Grab yourself a sponge or a damp (but not dripping) cloth and wipe down the fan blades. Clean anything you can from the driveshaft without disturbing the oil.
Try pushing the fan around. If it doesn’t spin freely, you may need to thoroughly clean or even remove the driveshaft, apply new oil, and ensure the drive shaft is connected securely after cleaning.
Test the Heating Element
The heating element of your convection system may have gone out which will cause your foods to come out undercooked even if the fan is spinning. It’s easy to tell if your heating element is out when the oven is on. Simply place your hand across the convection breeze. If the breeze is cool, then your heating element is out. If it’s warm, then the problem is something else.
If you’ve felt that heatless breeze, you can test your heating element in a second way with a multimeter. Open up the panel closing off the heating element and access the wire harness. Connect your multimeter to the harness wires to see if a current flows through.
Replace the Heating Element
If your heating element is not lighting and/or gives a negative response to the multimeter, you may need to replace it. Fortunately, replacing a heating element is easy.
Plugin your oven and warm up the element, just a little. Heating elements can shatter if you try to move them while completely cold. When the element is warm but safe to touch, unplug the oven and remove the mounting screws. Then pull until you see the wires. Disconnect the wire harness and switch it onto the harness for your replacement heating element. Install the new element with the mounting screws and run your tests again.
Check for Blockages
Check the fan area for anything that might be blocking the spin of the blade. A small piece of burnt food may have fallen into the fan and begun blocking the blade, or a glob of melted and re-formed spill from the oven above. Clean out the fan housing in general and try to remove anything that could possibly block the fan from spinning or should not be behind the filter screen.
Test the Fan Motor Circuit
This requires applying power that matches the voltage of the fan motor to determine if the motor needs to be replaced. This can be dangerous to attempt and we only recommend a trained technician performs the test.
Replace the Motor
Should your multimeter confirm a dead fan motor, you can replace the motor and the fan by ordering a new part based on the make and model of your convection oven. Replace the fan by removing the old motor from the housing and installing the new one in its place, including switching out the wire harness connections from the old to new component. Then apply the fan blades and filter as before.
—Hopefully, these tips have helped you find what was wrong with your convection oven’s fan. Contact us today for a consultation on your oven or for more online appliance repair guides and tips.