Oven that keeps burning food? Expert tips & fixes

Written by Adam Morris
5 Min read
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Signs of a malfunctioning oven

Ovens can malfunction and go well above the temperatures we ask of them and keep burning food due to heating element or fan issues. Common signs that the heating element may need replacing include burning smell, slow pre-heat times, uneven heating, and browning or burning food on one side. If your oven is exhibiting any of these signs, it’s time to start troubleshooting.

Testing the oven with an oven-safe thermometer

An oven-safe thermometer can test the oven’s temperature by comparing it to the thermostat. Make sure you get an oven-safe thermometer so that you don’t damage the metal, making it less accurate. Place the thermometer in the center of the oven and see if the temperature matches the thermostats setting. If the temperature is too low, it may indicate a problem with the heating element that is burning food.

Quick fixes for oven burning food

Sometimes the issue with your oven could be solved with a few quick fixes. Deep clean your oven, replace the heating elements and thermostat, and recalibrate. This process should only take an hour, but if none of these fixes work, you may have to enlist the help of a professional.

Repair an oven that keeps burning food

To repair an oven that is constantly burning food, first test the oven and compare the results to the thermostat settings. Then clean the vents, grates, and thermostat controller knob to ensure proper air flow and heat insulation. After this, replace the heating elements and thermostat, and recalibrate the oven according to the manual.

Replacing the oven thermostat

If the oven thermostat is defective, you’ll need to replace it. Make sure you get the proper model for your oven. Also make sure to unplug your oven from the wall before handling any wiring. Finally, check the manual you received with your oven for detailed instructions for replacing the oven thermostat.

Cleaning the vents and grates

Cleaning the vents and grates of your oven is important because it ensures proper air flow and heat insulation. Debris, grease, and dust can easily accumulate in the vents and on the racks and grates, so it’s important to clean them regularly. To do this, fill a bucket with warm, soapy water, and use a cleaning brush to scrub away any dirt and grease.

Cleaning the thermostat controller knob

The thermostat controller knob also needs to be cleaned as part of regular maintenance. Wipe down the knob with a damp cloth and check for buildup. If you find any, use a gentle cleaner or vinegar mixed with water to remove it.

Oven burning food

Recalibrating your oven

It’s important to recalibrate your oven after making any repairs. This can be done manually or with an oven timer. Manual recalibration involves setting the oven to the desired temperature and waiting until it reaches that temperature. Alternatively, you can use the oven timer to set the temperature, allowing the oven to turn on and off multiple times throughout the day. The timer will keep track of how long it takes for the oven to come up to temperature and adjust the thermostat accordingly.

Finding the manual for your oven

If you need reference information or instructions for replacing the heating element or thermostat, you can find the manual for your oven online. Just search for the model number and you should be able to find it.

Safety precautions for replacing the heating element

When replacing the heating element, make sure you wear gloves to protect your hands. Also, be aware of the closest switch or outlet to avoid any shocks.

Professional repair

If none of the fixes outlined in this article work, you may need to call a professional technician to repair the internal components of the oven. While it’s more expensive than doing the repairs yourself, it’s better to leave it to the experts when it comes to repairing an oven which keeps burning food.

Expert tip

For an added layer of safety, it’s always a good idea to unplug the oven from the wall before doing any repairs. This will minimize the chances of an electric shock and will keep you safe.

Checking the temperature sensor

The temperature sensor is responsible for detecting the oven’s temperature in order to regulate the heating elements. To check if the sensor is working properly, then burning food can be a constant problem. Open the oven door and touch the back wall. If you feel a significant difference in temperature, it may indicate an issue with the temperature sensor.

Testing the heating element

If you suspect the heating element is at fault, you can test it with an ohm meter. Unplug the oven from the power outlet and remove the heating element, then use the ohm meter to measure the resistance. The reading should be within the range indicated in the user manual.

Components that require replacing

If an oven is burning food, there are several items that need to be checked. If the temperature is off, components such as the thermostat, temperature sensor, heating element, and fan motor may need to be replaced. Depending on the age of your oven, it may be more cost-effective to purchase a new oven instead of attempting to fix it.

Common oven element problems

The most common problems with the heating elements are improper wattage and a broken element. To check the wattage, refer to the user manual and compare the listed wattage to the wattage of the element. Make sure the wattage matches. An element which produces too much heat can be the culprit for burning food. To check for a broken element, visually inspect the element for cracks or burn marks.

Inspecting the bake element

The bake element heats up the bottom of the oven when baking. If the bake element is not working, the oven will take longer to preheat and food won’t cook evenly. This can result in burning food from the top. To inspect the bake element, remove it from the oven and test it with an ohmmeter.

Replacing the bake element

If the bake element needs to be replaced, make sure you get the correct size and wattage for your oven. Before replacing the element, make sure to turn the power off and unplug the oven from the power outlet. Once the new element is installed, you’ll need to recalibrate the oven according to the user manual.

Replacing the fan motor

Poor heat circulation by the fan motor can result in burning food. Replacing the fan motor can be a tricky process, so it’s best to leave it to the professionals. However, if you’re confident in your DIY skills, it’s important to make sure that you have the right replacement part for your oven. Also make sure to unplug the oven before handling any wiring.

Cleaning the interior and exterior of the oven

Regularly cleaning the interior and exterior of your oven can help keep it in good condition and prevent problems from occurring. The interior should be wiped down with a damp cloth and any food debris or grease should be removed. The exterior should also be wiped down using a soft cloth and a mild detergent to remove any dust and grime.

Maintenance tips

Ovens should be inspected regularly for any signs of wear and tear, such as broken heating elements or thermostats. Additionally, regular cleaning and maintenance can help prevent malfunctions and extend the life of your oven. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and consult with a professional if you have any questions.

Where to get expert advice

If you’re having trouble with your oven burning food, don’t hesitate to ask for expert advice. You can turn to online forums, appliance repair shops, or appliance repair service companies for help. With their expertise, they should be able to provide you with a quick solution to the problem.

Appliances made simple. 

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