How to Troubleshoot an Electric Oven

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Trouble with an electric oven often means the oven does not function at all, and that may be a problem with the power supply. Another common trouble is that food does not cook properly, and that may mean problems with controls or convection fans or simply that you didn't follow the recipe correctly. More sophisticated ovens can run into failures of the self-cleaning functions.

  • Verify there's electrical power to the oven if the oven won't heat up. Look for indications that there's power on the display panel. The clock or timer should illuminate. If the door won't open---even after the oven cools---check the power supply. Reset any circuit breakers that may have become tripped. Check for failed lights in the kitchen to identify a home-wide power outage. The oven should reset itself after you turn the power back on, though it can take a few minutes.

  • Press the center part of a touch-sensitive button if the control won't react when you press the edge of the button. Clean the surface and make sure it's dry. Use the flat part of your finger. Touch-sensitive buttons are easy to clean, but the reality is that they are cheaper to produce than mechanical buttons and are prone to failure, just like mechanical buttons.

  • Set the controls carefully when you program the oven if cooking results haven't been as you expected. Some foods are more sensitive than others. Many electric ovens combine ovens with convection fans, which can speed up cooking and catch you unaware if you're not used to it. Convection fans blow heat all around the food.

  • Set the self-cleaning function to maximum if your results have been iffy. Let the oven cool down and wipe the interior before you clean the oven.

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  • Photo Credit pizza comes from oven image by David Levinson from Fotolia.com
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