While most of us love to “set it and forget it,” the truth is that both kitchen range ovens and wall ovens need occasional oven repair or maintenance — especially since the kitchen oven can be one of the hardest working appliances in the house. According to the experts at Repair Clinic.com, here are a few of the most common oven repair and maintenance tasks, along with tips for oven troubleshooting that can help make sure your oven delivers a perfect meal every time.
Check the oven temperature. Home chefs who suspect their oven is not playing by the rules and keeping the right temperature should first verify that the oven’s built-in thermostat is working properly. This is easily accomplished with a separate oven thermometer. Set the oven temperature and then compare the temperature of the thermometer with the set temperature. To get an accurate reading, let the oven cycle on and off at least three times, which takes at least 20 minutes.
“Most inexpensive dial thermometers sold in grocery stores as oven thermometers are generally not very accurate. To get a good reading, we recommend a glass-bulb thermometer,” says Chris Hall, president of Repair Clinic.com. “Also, don’t expect perfection. For example, if you’ve set your oven to 350 degrees, it is acceptable for the actual temperature to be 325-375 degrees. Most recipes provide a range of cook times with this in mind. And, don’t forget that altitude and humidity can affect cook time.”
Check oven door gaskets. The oven door has a gasket to keep heat inside the oven. Over time, these gaskets can become torn or deformed and this will allow heat to escape. Inspect gaskets to ensure they are in good condition and replace them as necessary, a fairly simple oven repair.
Check oven door hinges. If an oven door does not close properly, heat can escape. Make sure the door closes tightly and evenly. If it doesn’t, check for broken or bent door hinges or door springs, which should be replaced.
Check oven timer settings. There’s a tricky timer issue that has confused even the best of cooks. Many mechanical clocks and timers on ovens (those without digital LED displays) have a setting called “cook and hold.” If the clock is accidentally set to this position, the oven may not work at all until it is set back to normal. Consult the instruction manual to set the clock or timer correctly.
Running a Self-Cleaning Oven Cycle – Don’t wait until the last minute! If your oven is self-cleaning, clean it at least 2-4 weeks before a major holiday or other event where you plan to give it a good workout. Why? Because self-cleaning oven cycles are extremely stressful and if your oven is on the verge of break down, you don’t want it to break down just before your big plans and force you to go take out. Finding a service technician or even ordering parts and doing the oven repair job yourself is not something that can always be accomplished on short notice.
Clean the oven control panel. For an effective maintenance measure, clean your oven control panel. You can clean any porcelain stovetop or glass range/oven control panel with a non-abrasive cleanser or glass cleaner. Watch out for some “cream type” cleansers as they often have tiny abrasive particles in them, which can damage your stovetop or control panel.
Install a surge suppressor for your range and other major appliances. Most appliances today contain computer equipment as part of their design—these need to be protected from power surges. Don’t wait ’til a power surge burns up your computer board – go ahead and get a surge suppressor as a preventive step. Check your manufacturer’s manual for other maintenance recommendations.
Change oven’s interior light bulb. Most ovens have an interior light. Oftentimes, the bulb has been burned out for so long you may not even realize that you have one. The light bulb is usually behind a small glass dome near the upper left or right side of the inside of the oven. Troubleshooting this oven repair requires you to remove the glass dome, usually by sliding a wire off of it, or rotating it counter clockwise to replace the bulb.
Replace any broken, or illegible oven knobs. Remove and clean range knobs with a non-abrasive cleaner. This will help to preserve the stenciling on the knob. Replace any broken or illegible knobs to make your range look new again.
Replace any other missing, broken or badly-stained range or oven parts. If your oven broiler pan is missing, or if it has gotten so soiled you can’t clean it anymore, your easiest oven repair might be to replace it with a high-quality, inexpensive unit, such as those offered at Repairclinic.com. Also examine oven drip pans and bowls. They serve to catch food and spills, they also help radiate heat back at the pan for better efficiency, and they protect you from accidentally touching internal components. It’s important never to cover them with aluminum foil. Many electric ranges short out due to the aluminum making a short circuit at the burner. And, the foil will cover the oven vent usually found at one of the burners. Try to clean the drip pans with a household non-abrasive cleanser. If they cannot be cleaned, you can replace them with universal pans and bowls.