Prepare Your Oven for Thanksgiving with These Cleaning and Maintenance Tips

Posted by on November 22, 2013 at 11:16 am

Turkey_in_Oven

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and many of us are preparing for opening our home to friends and family. We are going are over our grocery lists, pulling out the table settings, and cleaning and decorating our home in preparation for this holiday. However, there’s one important thing we all may overlook… our oven. We put a lot of faith in our ovens that day, so it’s smart to get it prepared as well.

Here are a few Tips:

Clean your oven now.  If you have a self cleaning oven do not use this feature the day before or day of a big holiday, as your oven could overheat and damage a key component such as a fuse or control board. Sometimes ovens can get stuck in self-clean mode. If this happens turn off the circuit breaker or unplug your oven for one minute to reset the power.

Check all burners to make sure everything is working properly. Use your oven a couple of days before hand to rule out any irregularities in temperature or uneven cooking.  If you find your oven is not heating properly, below are the most common things to check. Remember, to avoid personal injury (or death!), always unplug the appliance or disconnect the power before attempting any repairs yourself. Always turn off the gas at the source before repairing any gas appliance.

·         Bake Element.  The bake element is a black tube near the bottom of the oven about as thick as a pencil.  You can tell there’s a problem if the element glows only a little, only in certain areas along the element or not at all. If this is the case it will need to be replaced.

 

·         Broil Element.  The broil element is a black tube near the top of the oven, also about as thick as a pencil. When it is operating normally, the broil element will glow red hot. In most ovens the broil element comes on during pre-heat. If the oven doesn’t bake evenly, the broil element may have burned out. It is often obvious to see where the broil element has burned out because there will be a hole in the element or blisters on the outside of the element. If this is the case, it can’t be repaired and will need to be replaced.

 

·         Oven Igniter. If the oven won’t heat and the oven igniter glows for more than 90 seconds without igniting the gas flame, the oven igniter should be replaced.

 

·         Oven Thermostat. Some ovens have a thermostat bulb that can come loose, in which case you would find it lying on the bottom of the oven or resting against the heating element. If the thermostat sensing bulb is still in place, it could still be defective and may need to be replaced.

With some oven models, you can calibrate the temperature on a keypad. On other models there’s a thermostat knob that can be adjusted. Check your owner’s manual for complete instructions. If the thermostat isn’t calibrated correctly it may be that you have to replace a gasket. If this is the case, then you should contact a professional repairman.

 

·         Oven Control Board. An electronic oven control panel controls the oven when its buttons are used to set the oven’s temperature. Diagnostic codes, also known as fault codes, are shown on its display when there is a problem with the oven. If the display on your oven shows a code beginning with an “F,” there is a problem with a component in the control board or oven. Troubleshoot the control board to determine if it requires replacement.

 

·         Convection Element. If the oven doesn’t bake evenly during convection bake, the convection element might be burned out. The convection element is located near the convection fan and helps to heat the air circulating inside the oven. The convection element can be tested for continuity by using an Ohm meter. If the convection element is burned out it will need to be replaced.

 

·         Convection Motor. If the oven doesn’t bake evenly during convection bake and you’ve checked the convection element, the convection motor might be defective instead. The convection motor drives the convection fan and circulates the air inside the oven. The convection motor can also be tested for continuity by using an Ohm meter. If the motor shaft doesn’t turn freely, the motor bearings are probably bad and will have to be replaced.

 

·         Oven Sensor. The oven sensor works in conjunction with the oven control board – or clock – to regulate the temperature. The oven sensor is a simple electronic device which varies its resistance to electrical current as the temperature varies. If the oven doesn’t bake evenly, this oven sensor resistance might be incorrect. For small variations, often there is a calibration feature at the control board. On many models there is a certain pattern of pushing buttons in order to calibrate the control board to the oven sensor resistance. Check the owners’ manual for more information.

If your oven is not working at all, check to see if the oven’s wall plug is plugged in all the way first. A partially removed plug may be the reason your oven won’t turn on. If that’s not the case check your fuse box first to see if the oven blew a fuse. Older ovens have their own fuses. To check if one is blown unplug your oven first, then pull it out from behind the wall. The fuse is located under the range top on the back of the oven.  If you have checked the plug, fuse box, and all the above parts and still can’t locate the problem, it may be time to call a repairman.

If you wish to keep your range, stove, or oven operating safely and efficiently, you will need to make sure they are kept clean. Both the control panel and cook-top can be cleaned with non- abrasive cleaners. Always apply the cleaner to the rag other than the surface you wish to clean. The burner drip holes are usually not cleanable once they have been stained, so it’s often a better idea to replace them altogether. If the oven is not a self-cleaning model, you can use oven cleaner to maintain the interior. If your oven is self cleaning, simply follow the manufacturer’s instruction for the self cleaning setting. You may also need to replace your ovens light bulb from time to time if it burns out. Most ovens use a universal 40 watt bulb. Simply unscrew the old bulb and install the new one. Follow these simple steps and your appliance should continue to run great for many Thanksgivings to come!

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