Electric ranges and stovetops come in a variety of burner configurations and styles. From time to time you may need to replace these stovetop elements because they do burn out. Each range manufacturer has their own style of burner elements but many, if not most, of them are interchangeable. Follow these simple guidelines to replace your stovetop burner elements.
- First, unplug your range to avoid the possibility of electrical shock.
- It is always best to clean the range top thoroughly before working on it so you can closely inspect each part for damage.
Troubleshooting the bad element
- Determine whether your elements are the plug-in style or are hard wired. You can tell this by looking at the spot where the element disappears under the cooktop. You may have to remove the burner pan first.
- You will also have to determine if the problem is in the element, the receptacle, the wiring, or the switch. To do this, remove one of the other elements of the same size and plug it into the receptacle of the suspect element. If the new element works, the old element was bad.
- If the new element does not work either, the problem lies in the switch, the burner wiring, or the receptacle. If that is the case, you may want to hire an appliance repair technician to troubleshoot and replace the defective parts.
Replacing a bad burner element
- If the problem is the plug-in element, raise it up slightly and pull it straight out.
- Check the contacts of the element prongs for cleanliness and damage. If they are clean and undamaged, reinsert the element and turn it on to test it. If it still fails, replace the element by plugging the new one in.
- If the element is wired directly, you will have to raise the cooktop. Some range tops simply hinge at the back of the stove and raise up. With others, you may need to lift up each front corner first. On some stoves, you may have to push the top back and then lift it straight up and prop it open.
- Where the element wires enter the porcelain insulator, remove the clips and open the insulator.
- Unscrew the terminal screws that hold the element wiring in place and remove the wires after marking them with tape so you can reinstall them correctly.
- Install the new element wires in the insulator, reassemble the insulator and reinstall the clips.
You can replace the receptacle if you are able to determine that it is bad. You will need to use a multi-meter or ohmmeter to troubleshoot the receptacle. Mark the wires so you can reinstall them in the new receptacle properly.
Each time you test an element or other stovetop component, be sure to unplug the range again to prevent electrical shock hazards.
Regularly cleaning your stovetop and replacing the burner bowls or pans can help to prevent premature failure of burner elements.
Discuss this and other Home Improvement Topics in our How To Forum