Repair Tips and Tricks

and Tools You Might Need

Lets talk aluminum foil for a minute. If you line the bottom of your oven with it, it can block the airflow within your oven. If you have a convection oven, it really defeats the purpose. But even in an oven with natural convection, it can mess up airflow and cooking and even cause burners to malfunction. If you simply must line the bottom of your oven with foil, at least poke holes in it where there are holes in the oven floor. They’re there for a reason.

Before You Start

Find yourself a good appliance parts dealer. You can find them in the yellow pages under the following headings:

  • Appliances, Household, Major
  • Appliances, Parts and Supplies
  • Ovens Stoves, Domestic
  • Appliances, Household, Repair and Service

Call a few of them and ask if they are a repair service, or if they sell parts, or both. Ask them if they offer free advice with the parts they sell. (Occasionally, stores that offer both parts and service will not want to give you advice.) Often the parts counter men are ex-technicians who got tired of the pressures of in-home service. They can be your best friends. However, you don’t want to badger them with too many questions, so know your basics before you start asking questions.

Some parts houses may offer service, too. Be careful! There may be a conflict of interest. They may try to talk you out of even trying to fix your own oven. They’ll tell you it’s too complicated, then in the same breath “guide” you to their service department. Who are you gonna believe, me or them? Not all service and parts places are this way, however. If they genuinely try to help you fix it yourself, and you find that you’re unable to, they may be the best place to look for service. Here’s a hot tip: after what I just said, if they sold you this book, then I’ll just about guarantee they’re genuinely interested in helping do-it-yourselfers.

When you go into the store, have ready the make, model and serial number from the nameplate of the oven. Below is information on how to find the nameplate. Write down the model number. (Nowadays, just take a photo with your phone!) On some models, you will also need the lot number to get the right part, so if there is one on the nameplate, write that down, too.

Oven nameplate location

The metal nameplate is usually found inside the door or under the cooktop as shown in figure 3-G. It may also be fastened to the top edge of the door itself, on top of the console, or inside of the broiler compartment or pan storage compartment.

If you cannot find the nameplate, check the original papers that came with your oven when it was new. They should contain the model number somewhere.

In any case, and especially if you have absolutely NO information about your oven anywhere, make sure you bring your old part to the parts store with you. Sometimes they can match it up by looks or by part number.

Repair Tips

1) When working on gas cooking equipment, if you’ve disconnected a gas pipe to replace a valve or other component, always test the pipe joint for leaks when you reassemble it. You can do this by coating the joint with a solution of liquid soap and water and looking for bubbles. Apply it with a brush to make sure you coat the joint thoroughly, and use a mirror to look at the back side of the joint if necessary. Your appliance parts dealer has gas leak testing solution, with a brush built into the cap, made specifically for this purpose.

2) Always de-energize (pull the plug or trip the breaker on) any oven that you’re disassembling. If you need to re-energize the oven to perform a test, make sure any bare wires or terminals are taped or insulated. Energize the unit only long enough to perform whatever test you’re performing, then disconnect the power again.

3) If this manual advocates replacing the part, REPLACE IT!! You might find, say, a solenoid that has jammed for no apparent reason. Sometimes you can clean it out and lubricate it, and get it going again. The key words here are apparent reason. There is a reason that it stopped – you can bet on it – and if you get it going and re-install it, you are running a very high risk that it will fail again. If that happens, you will have to start repairing your oven all over again. It may only act up when it is hot, or it may be bent slightly…there are a hundred different “what if’s.” Very few of the parts mentioned in this book will cost you over ten or twenty dollars. Replace the part.

4) Always replace the green (ground) leads when you remove an electrical component. They’re there for a reason. And NEVER EVER remove the third (ground) prong in the main power plug! They are especially important in spark ignition systems; the spark electrode will not spark without grounding.

5) When opening the oven cabinet or console, remember that the sheet metal parts have very sharp edges. Wear gloves, and be careful not to cut your hands!

6) If you have diagnosed a certain part to be bad, but you cannot figure out how to remove it, sometimes it helps to get the new part and examine it for mounting holes or other clues as to how it may be mounted.

7) When testing for a 110 volt power supply from a wall outlet, you can plug in a small appliance such as a shaver or blow dryer. If you’re not getting full power out of the outlet, you’ll know it right away. If you’re testing for 220 volt power you need to use the VOM.

8) When splicing wires in an oven, remember that you’re dealing with high temperatures. Normal connectors and wire insulation will melt under these conditions. Your parts dealer has high-temp connections, porcelain wire nuts and fiberglass-insulated wire for this purpose.

I want to impress upon you something really important. In electric cooking equipment, you’re usually dealing with 220 volt circuits. DO NOT TAKE THIS LIGHTLY. I’ve been hit with 110 volts now and then. Anyone who works with electrical equipment has at one time or another. It’s unpleasant, but unless exposure is more than a second or so, the only harm it usually does is to tick you off pretty good. However, 220 VOLTS CAN KNOCK YOU OFF YOUR FEET. IT CAN DO YOUR BODY SOME SERIOUS DAMAGE, VERY QUICKLY. DO NOT TEST LIVE 220 VOLT CIRCUITS. If you have a heart condition, epilepsy, or other potentially serious health conditions, well…hey, it’s just my opinion, but you shouldn’t be testing 220 volt circuits at all. It’s not worth dying for.


Repair Tools You Might Need (Figure 2-A)

ELECTRICAL PLIERS or STRIPPERS and DIAGONAL CUTTING PLIERS: For cutting and stripping small electrical wire

SCREWDRIVERS: Both flat and Phillips head; two or three sizes of each. It’s best to have at least a stubby, 4- and 6-inch sizes.

NUTDRIVERS: You will need at least 1/4″ and 5/16″ sizes. 4- and 6-inch ones should suffice, but it’s better to have a stubby, too.

ALLIGATOR JUMPERS (sometimes called a “CHEATER” or “CHEATER WIRE”): Small gauge (14-16 gauge or so) and about 12-18 inches long, for testing electrical circuits. Available at your local electronics store. Cost: a few bucks for 4 or 5 of them.

VOM (VOLT-OHM METER): For testing electrical circuits. If you do not have one, get one. An inexpensive one will suffice, as long as it has both “AC Voltage” and “Resistance” (i.e. Rx1, Rx10) settings on the dial. It will do for our purposes.

BUTT CONNECTORS, CRIMPERS, WIRE NUTS and ELECTRICAL TAPE: For splicing small wire. When splicing wire on ovens, you must make sure you use high-temp connections, such as porcelain wire nuts, high-temp terminals and fiberglass insulated wire.