Electric Stove Repairs – Replacing Glass Cooktop And Oven Elements

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Electric range repair

As creatures of convenience, we love our household appliances. Except when they break down, at which time we emit colorful language and threaten trips to the landfill. But a major appliance failure doesn’t always mean “major expense” or “major pain in the glutes”. Some repairs are quite simple (and dirt cheap) if you’re willing to tackle them yourself. Today we’re looking at a typical glass cooktop electric range that has assumed room temperature. The bake element and part of one stove element have stopped working. You may be surprised just how quick, cheap and easy it is to tackle electric stove repairs and get your appliance working like new again. And rather than expensive service calls, you can put that money towards some of the awesome tools we review here at Home Fixated!

In Your Element – DIY Electric Stove Burner Replacements

Exposed stove element
Exposed stove elements like this simply plug in and can be replaced in seconds, without tools. Photo – HomeDepot.com

If your electric stove has exposed elements, replacement is incredibly simple. Just unplug the old, plug in the new and you’re done in mere seconds. But what if you have a bad bake or broil element in the oven? And what about those ranges with a glass top cooking surface? Believe it or not, they too are incredibly simple to pull, test and replace.

stove repairs Model tag
Your range’s model number will probably be located on a tag just behind the oven door. You’ll need that number when ordering parts.

First of all, this tutorial does not cover induction cooktops (sorry). And obviously, element replacement isn’t going to solve every range failure. But burnt-out elements are by far the most common problem with electric ranges (and the bread and butter of the appliance repair technician). Given how easy they are to replace, if you’re comfortable taking on a minor stove repair job you can have your range up and running in no time. And for far cheaper than a service call.

Safety First with Stove Repairs! – Or It Might Be Your Last

Kill the power!
Before attempting any repair, be sure to kill power to the range!

If you are apprehensive about messing with electrical devices (UN-powered, of course), there is no shame in calling in the pros. However, if you feel up to the task, read on and save yourself a bunch of money.

Replacing bad heating elements in an electric range can almost always be done without even pulling the unit away from the wall. But if you do, go ahead and unplug it. If you don’t unplug it, switch off the circuit breaker then test to verify that the appliance is indeed not receiving power. This can be done by turning on a stove element that you know was working (be sure to turn it back off when you’re done) and opening the oven door to verify that the light no longer powers on (assuming it did before).

Make sure no one goes near the breaker box until the job is done.

How To Know If An Electric Heating Element Is Bad

Testing the heating element
Testing a heating element is simple. The resistance should be very low. If your meter has a continuity buzzer, you should hear it chiming when you probe the terminals. You should also have an open circuit (no connection at all) between the terminals and the metal sheathing.

You obviously don’t want to just start buying and replacing elements without knowing it will solve your problem. If all of your elements have stopped working at the same time, you probably have other problems. Start by checking the circuit breaker. If that’s OK, you may need to call in a repair tech.

Normal resistance reading
This is the new element; the old one had an open circuit (no reading at all). A resistance of 30 ohms or less is normal. Small stove elements may read 45-50 ohms. A bad element will read much higher, or completely open.

Stove Repairs Pro Tip – A bad element will often have a visibly burnt spot. You may have even powered it on and witnessed an orange fiery flare spraying from somewhere along the body of the element. These are sure signs that it’s burnt out.

New element in place
Thee types of electric stove burner replacements take only a few minutes.

But you can’t always detect a bad element just by looking. If there are no visible signs of burnout, it’s time to grab an ohmmeter and check for continuity. But first, we have to pull the element; let’s start with my dead oven. Then we’ll deal with the glass cooktop.

1st Course: No Bake Oven – When The Hot Box Gives You The Cold Shoulder

2 screws
Remove the two screws and pull the element forward.

I do almost all of the cooking in our household; it just works out best with our schedule. Plus, I enjoy it. Recently, when I went to preheat the oven, the bake element briefly glowed red then informed me that I’m grilling out instead. Everything else worked fine, but the oven was a no go (unless I wanted to broil. I did not.).

Pulling the mounting screws
The screws will probably be pretty tight. You really don’t want to strip a screw, so use an impact driver if you have one.

The next morning I switched off the breaker then pulled the element for testing. A quick check with a multimeter confirmed that it had given up the ghost. To my amazement, I found replacements online as cheaply as $11 with free shipping! But I decided not to wait for delivery and bought locally instead. Amazon has quite a few appliance replacement parts, and you can find other appliance replacement parts specialty stores online as well.

Quick connect terminals
The element is wired with two quick connect terminals.
Disconnecting the wires
Be sure to grab the terminals by the metal. Do not pull the wires.

A ride to the local appliance parts dealer, $28 + tax (a small price to fix my oven the same day), and an oven rack full of pork chops later and I was considered a local hero for my stellar stove repairs. Well, in my own home… and by my own self, at least.

Turning Up The Heat – Electric Oven Bake Or Broil Element Replacement

While you have the element out, go ahead and take the opportunity to give the oven a good scrubbing. The baked on stuff might not go away, but at least anything halfway loose or soft will be easier to get to.

Contact burnisher
This step isn’t crucial, but since I had things disconnected, I went ahead and dug out my burnishing tool. It’s like a super fine file used to clean and burnish switch contacts without removing much metal, if any.

When you plug in the new element, make sure the connectors are snug. Then gently push the wires back into the hole – taking care that they don’t rest against the metal – and reinstall the screws.

Cleaning the contacts
I cleaned the surfaces of the connectors that contact the element terminals. You most likely won’t have to do this, but it doesn’t hurt. Clean contacts are good contacts.

If your female quick connector(s) are burnt or brittle, replace them (a little heat discoloration is normal). Use only properly rated crimp connectors and do not solder.

Not today, failure! Not today!
For very little time and money, dinner was in the oven and starvation was no longer imminent.

As you might suspect, replacing a broil element is just like replacing a bake element, only at the top of the oven cavity.

2nd Course: The Glass Top Stove – Yes, These Elements Can Be Replaced

A real burnout
I had never used a glass cooktop until moving into this house. But now that I have, I never want to go back to exposed elements or gas again. However, this one “burner” is half burnt out. Time to take care of that!

When I first moved into this place, there was one stove element that worked only halfway. The outer ring got hot, but not the inside. So it was barely useful for larger pans, and completely useless for anything small. But I got used to it, avoided using it for small pots and eventually, for the most part, forgot about it.

Remove the front screws
To access the underside of a glass cooktop, open the oven door and remove the screws from under the front lip. There are two screws on this model.

But the day after I fixed the oven, it occurred to me that I should probably stop being lazy and fix the burner with an electric stove burner replacement as well. After all, I cook virtually every day (unless we go out for dinner) and it sure would be nice to have a fully functional stove for a change. I found new electric stove burner replacements online for $50 (w/ free shipping) so I went ahead and ordered one.

Oven vent
This oven vent deflector is held in place with springy clips. Grab it by the sides and pull forward. Behind it are two small screws that must be removed as well.

Getting A Rise Out Of Your Cooktop – Electric Stove Repairs

Mad props
Unlike a car hood, you’ll need to provide your own prop. I cut a piece of lumber to length. (Ignore the partial paint job on the wall. It happened under the tenure of a former owner, who apparently didn’t know to paint the edges first. And the current owner (me) has never taken the time or money to repaint. One of these days.)

Now that the power is off to the range (you did kill the breaker or unplug the unit from the wall, right?) and the screws and oven vent are removed, the front of the glass cooktop should lift up (it’s hinged in the rear). Carefully prop the top with a piece of wood. The glass can break if it crashes down or flexes too much. So support it near the middle, if possible, and make sure the prop cannot slip.

Underside of a glass cooktop
A lot of the glass cooktops I’ve seen have the elements mounted with steel rails running side to side. In this one, they run front to back (one for the two on the left and one for those on the right).

The elements should be held to the top in pairs by steel brackets that span either left to right or front to back. Before removing the bad element, be sure to mark to mounting positions for it and the other one on the same support bracket.

Take Note – Electric Stove Burner Replacements In A Glass Top Stove

Mark the holes
To avoid finding yourself in the hot seat, be sure to mark which holes are used by the element mounting clips.

Another stove repairs pro tip – Before removing anything, take a photo of the connections and mark the positions of the element mounting tabs. Replacing glass cooktop elements is easy, but there is a lot more going on under here than in the oven cavity. The last thing you want to do is take things loose then forget what goes where.

Mark all four positions
Each element uses two of the punched mounting positions. Mark all four before removing the bracket because there’s a good chance they will come out of place when you lower the bracket.
Make note of the connections
Go ahead and take a photo of the connections. You might not need it, but if you do you’ll be glad you did.

The element has two terminal blocks. One powers the heating element. The other is for the sensor that triggers the indicator light that tells you the cooktop is hot. Two wires come pre-installed; leave them as they are.

New stove element
Here is the new element. It may look complicated, but there are only four connections to worry about.
Wiring diagram
Finally, before unplugging the old element, it’s a good idea to also draw a diagram identifying what wire plugs in where (they’re usually color coded). I know you took a picture, but this is a lot easier to work with.

Now You Can Proceed With The Stove Repairs – Replacing Glass Cooktop Heating Elements

Detaching the bracket
The screw at the front edge of the bracket was very tight. An impact driver broke it loose without damage. The rear edge of the bracket was held in place by a pair of ¼” hex screws. I removed those with a little ratcheting wrench.

Unscrew the support bracket and lower the parts gently so that nothing breaks and no wires get pulled loose.

Element swapping
The elements on the left have been lowered. The bad one is up front. Unplug the bad element assembly by gently pulling the metal connectors, not the wires. If necessary, use needle nosed pliers and rock the connector side to side to get it loose.

Transfer The Clips – Replacing Elements In A Glass Top Stove

Clip attachments holes
There are holes around the perimeter of the element housing.

The metal housing on the back of the element assembly has a bunch of holes around the edge. They are often numbered, but not always. My new one is but the old one isn’t.

Lay the old and new elements side by side (face down) and rotate them to the same orientation. Mark the mounting clip positions on the old element before removing and transferring them to the new one.

Mounting clips
You will have to transfer these two clips to the new element assembly. Mark their locations before removing!
Clips moved to the new element
I’ve transferred the clips to the new element.

Avoid A Hot Mess By Paying Close Attention To The Details

Before removing the clips from the old element, use a marker to identify their positions. If the mounting holes are numbered on both assemblies, verify that they are numbered the same (that the same number is in the same radial position on both). If not, simply count the holes – starting at one of the terminal blocks – to find the correct location.

Mounting clip in place
The holes in the new assembly are probably not threaded. The screw should cut the new threads with no problem. Just be sure to put the clips in the exact same positions as they were on the old assembly.

While attaching the clips to the new electric stove burner replacements assembly, you may be concerned about the screws hitting the white heat shield material. Don’t worry; it’s soft (kind of like floral foam) and the screw will bore its way in without damage. Drive the screw until it’s fully seated, but don’t over-tighten.

Glowing eye
Finally, reassemble everything, restore power and enjoy a meal cooked on your working stove!
Melted heating wire discovered in these stove repairs
It turns out the inner coil of the old element was burnt open near the terminal block. But if an element is bad, replace it: even if it looks repairable.

Bring The Heat Without Burning A Hole In Your Wallet

Working good as new!
This white Whirlpool might be old, but thanks to some simple repairs she should have a lot of life left in her!

As DIYers, we sometimes take on jobs others would rather hire out. There are times when what at first may appear to be a serious issue requires only a minor repair. Wisdom and a little healthy caution can help discern one from the other. But we’re certainly not suggesting you get in over your head or take risks with something that makes you uncomfortable. However, it is my personal opinion that most handy adults are capable of the repairs described above.

Fire element 0HP
Imagine how many people have purchased new ranges because they had no idea how cheap and easy it is to replace a bad element.

A Hot Reminder To Play It Cool

When it comes to electric stove repairs, never attempt to work on anything that’s plugged into an energized electrical circuit. The 220V that powers your range is downright deadly! Keep your wits about you and always verify that the power has been cut off at the breaker box (better yet, unplug the unit from the wall) before even thinking about pulling the first screw. And it should go without saying, but make sure all heating elements have had plenty of time to cool down before attempting any repairs.

Ensure that no one tampers with the breakers until the job is completely done and everything has been reassembled and ready to be powered on again. Saving money is great. But saving lives is far more important. With care, you can easily do both.

Photo of author

About Steve

Steve made his first woodworking project at age 9 (in 1982) and whittled his first wooden chain at 18. He was also a consumer electronics repair tech and shop owner for a little over 20 years, until his impending obsolescence became impossible to ignore. Since then, Steve has focused passionately on manipulating his wood... in his workshop. Don't judge him.

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