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oven not heating

Oven Not Heating Up? Here are the Top 4 Causes

Regardless of whether you’re having guests over for a dinner party or cooking a meal for one, it can ruin your day to discover your oven not heating. The good news is that this is a common issue, and figuring out why your oven won’t heat is something you can possibly handle yourself.

Why Is My Oven Not Heating?

We hear this question all the time from our customers. Luckily, troubleshooting oven breakdowns like this one is a fairly simple process that usually comes down to one of these well-known part failures:

#1 Cause – Igniter

If you have a gas oven not heating, chances are that the bake igniter has failed. This part draws electricity through the safety valve which lets gas into the burner. Then, the igniter heats up to the point that it ignites the gas, which then heats the oven.

What Can Go Wrong?

The igniter can weaken over time or become physically damaged. This can result in the safety valve not opening, or the igniter not being able to light the gas inside the burner.

How to Diagnose

First, inspect the part to make sure the igniter portion is intact. Next, turn on the oven and watch the igniter. If it glows red but doesn’t ignite the gas after 90 seconds, or if it doesn’t glow at all, replace the part.

oven won't heat
Image from Repair Clinic

#2 Cause – Bake Element

Instead of gas igniters and burners, electric ovens use radiant elements to heat the air inside for cooking. This is the tubular metal shape on the bottom of your oven that glows red during operation.

Food Not Cooking Evenly

One way to tell your bake oven is failing or has failed is if your food is cooking unevenly. You shouldn’t have to rotate your food or add time onto the cook time, and usually, if the bake element is failing, one of the first things you’ll notice is unevenly cooked food or food not cooking at all. You can try to overcome unevenly cooked food issues by rotating the dish, or placing it on the middle rack so the top and bottom receive heat evenly.

What Can Go Wrong?

Bake elements do fail from time to time, but it’s usually because they’ve been physically damaged. Food spills and grease at high heat can cause an element to short out or even break.

How to Diagnose

Remove the element from the unit and give it a thorough inspection. If it looks ok, use a multimeter to test it for continuity and replace the part if necessary.

troubleshooting oven
Image from Repair Clinic

#3 Cause – Thermal Fuse

Safety is key when it comes to any major appliance, especially ones that get hot like an oven. That’s why all ovens are built with a thermal fuse that’s designed to prevent overheating.

What Can Go Wrong?

When a thermal fuse is working properly, it’s supposed to shut off the power to the oven if it gets too hot. These fuses do blow sometimes though, in which case the oven will no longer be able to heat.

How to Diagnose

Remove the fuse and test it with your multimeter. If the part no longer has continuity, purchase and install a new one.

oven isn't heating
Image from Repair Clinic

#4 Cause – Loose or Damaged Wire

Whether you own a gas or electric model, power needs to be delivered to the heat source in order for the oven to work. These wire leads will power either the igniter in gas units, or the element in electric ovens.

What Can Go Wrong?

The wires can burn out after many uses since they’re so close to the heat source. When the wires become damaged, the oven won’t heat.

How to Diagnose

Disconnect the igniter or element and take a close look at the wires. If they look burnt or otherwise broken, you’ll have to install new wires.

oven won't get hot
Image from Sears Parts Direct

If you’re still dealing with an oven not heating after going through these steps, give the oven repair experts at Caesar’s Appliance Repair a call right away. Also check out our other blog post for tips like Natural Oven Cleaning Hacks and more.