How to Test the Oven Heating Element
Has your bake or broil element blown up like a roman candle, or did it just stop working? Just relax, don't call the fire department - unless its on fire, and if it is, what are you doing surfing the internet at a time like this?
Caution: Please read our safety information before attempting any testing or repairs.
Before testing the oven heating element or broiler element, unplug the appliance or shut off the power at the fuse box or breaker panel to avoid an electrical shock hazard.
If your oven does not heat, does not heat enough or does not broil, a common cause is a burned out heating element. There are two elements, the baking element on the floor of the oven and the broiling element on the ceiling of the oven. They are about the diameter of a pencil and typically supported by metal stand-offs.
This easiest test you can do is to turn on the oven and observe the heating element. If it glows red, the element is working. When baking, the broiling element may come on to assist with preheating or to maintain the oven temperature. When set to bake, if the broiler comes on, but the baking element does not, the likely cause is a burned out baking element.
When set to broil, the broil element should glow red, but the bake element typically is not used. If the broiler does not glow, it is likely a burned out heating element.
There are other possible causes of these symptoms, refer to our diagnostic page for some other possibilities.
To test the heating element using a multimeter, follow the steps provided below.
Unplug the oven or turn off the power at the breaker or fuse box.
Follow the heating element back to where it goes through the wall of the oven. Remove the bracket that secures the element in place.
Unscrew or unfasten any stand-off supports that secure the element to the oven.
Pull the element part way out to expose the oven's wiring connected the element.
Label the wires and secure them in place so they do not fall back into the cavity.
Disconnect the wires from the element.
Using a multimeter set to x1, touch one probe to each of the element contacts. Expect resistance in the range of 20 to 40 ohms. Infinite or kilo-ohm resistance usually indicates a bad element and it should be replaced.
- If the element tests okay, reconnect the wires, slip them back into the cavity and resecure the element.