How to Troubleshoot an Electric Range Top Burner Not Heating Up

Written by jon stefansson
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How to Troubleshoot an Electric Range Top Burner Not Heating Up
Electric heating elements sometimes work loose from their sockets. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Your electric cooker is a trooper, helping you prepare delicious, home-cooked meals day in, day out. Inevitably, after years of faithful service, your oven might suffer from minor technical problems. Troubleshooting the top burner on your electric range helps you identify the cause of the problem through a process of elimination. Problems usually arise when there is a loose connection between the heating element and the stove or when there is a fault with the power supply.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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  1. 1

    Check the oven's controls; ensure the correct burner is switched on using the small diagram printed next to the burner's dials. The burner might heat up slower if you have several other pots cooking on the stove at the same time. Turn the other burners off and try the problem heating element on its own.

  2. 2

    Pull the oven's power cord out of the outlet and ensure all the heating elements are completely cool. Notice where the problem heating element is connected to the oven. Lift the element up and pull it out of its socket. Wipe any food residue off the metal contacts with a dry cloth and reconnect the heating element to the stove. A loose connection could be preventing the element from heating.

  3. 3

    Check that the base of the pot or pan is completely flat; a concave-bottomed vessel will make poor contact with the burner and heat up slower. Try another pot or pan on the burner and see if results improve. This problem usually occurs with glass-topped electric stoves.

  4. 4

    Check the power cord if the oven's LCD display isn't working; there could be a problem with the power supply. Disconnect any extension cords and connect the oven directly into an outlet. Make sure the outlet is switched on, if possible, and ensure all the circuit breakers or fuses in your home are active. A tripped breaker or blown fuse cuts power to the electrical circuit it is protecting.

  5. 5

    Disconnect the problem element as in step 2 along with another of the same size on the stove. Swap the elements over and try heating the problem element. The element is defective and requires changing if it doesn't heat in any position on the stove. The oven might be wired incorrectly if the previously functioning element stops working.

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