June 4

How to Tell If Oven Heating Element is Bad? | Learn 5 Effective Methods Here!

Author: Gisele Perez
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With an oven, the main component is the heating element that is responsible for cooking so of course it a significant issue if you don’t find it heating properly. In this article, we will see how to tell if oven heating element is bad.

Basically, you can tell if your heating element is bad by looking at its color, poor regulation of heat, visible cracks and damage, uneven cooking or through the good old continuity test.

If it doesn’t completely glow bright orange, cooks food unevenly or doesn’t heat up as expected, it may be bad. It can also be bad if it has signs of physical damage and when you do a continuity test and it fails then you’ll get your confirmation.

There’s a lot that goes into owning a new household appliance. Besides having the money to purchase it and the know-how to use it, you’ll also need to be able to tell when the device is working poorly.

The heating element for an oven is the component that’s used to generate the heat. It is found in electric ovens and its main role is to generate the heat that we use to cook.

Over time, the heating element gets out of shape and starts producing weir results when cooking. Because it can get ruined, you’ll need to know how to go about determining whether the component is okay to use.

Also Read: Why is my oven not heating up properly?

The Elements

oven heating element

For heating, an oven makes use of two elements, the bake element, and the broil element.

The bake element is the one that’s commonly used the most and is found at the bottom. For most purposes, since this one is the most commonly used, it will be the most likely one to incur damage as a result.

However, the broil element can still fail too, and therefore knowing how to inspect them for damages is always a good idea.

Located at the top, the broil element also needs some checking to ensure that it’s working properly especially if you are having issues with temperature regulation.

With that out of the way, let’s get down to business.

Also Read: What is Heating Element Made Of?

How to Tell if Oven Heating Element is Bad?

illustration of a bad heating element

With a home oven, some of the checkups can be done by the user without much needed besides some observation skills and the product’s manual where necessary.

Here are some of the things you need to look out for to determine whether your oven’s heating elements are still working properly.

1. The Color of the Element During Operation

the color of the heating element illustration

This is one of the simplest ways of checking to see whether the device is working properly. During normal operation, when the oven gets hot, the heating element needs to be glowing in a bright orange color; kind of like embers.

This is something you can observe, of course. To do this, you will need access to the elements. Some are covered by a metal plate so you’ll need to consult your manual on the best way to access the element.

Heating Element
Heating elements generally burn bright red/orange at high heat.

With clear sight, you should see your oven’s heating element glow if the oven has been operating at a high temperature for a few minutes. If it’s not glowing or the glow appears to be in patches then you’ll possibly need a new compatible heating element.

If you suspect your oven’s heating element is damaged after observing some of the characteristics above, you can have a technician fix it or even countercheck to ensure you’ve caught the right problem.

2. Heating Problems

illustration of the heating problems

Problems with heating are one of the most tell-tale signs of an oven’s heating element going bad.

You may notice changes in the way you cook, for example, where you once took a few minutes to preheat the oven to a certain temperature, you may find that the time taken is much longer.

Also, you may notice that it takes you longer to cook food compared to how much time it took before. Heating problems can also be a sign of a damaged thermostat or any other electrical fault within the oven.

Oven Thermometer
Oven Thermometer is an excellent way to check the accuracy of your toaster oven when preheating if you do have a digital LCD control panel. Source: Taylor Precision Products

However, a lot of the times the heating element starts to go bad, cooking (heating up) will always take a hit.

With a thermometer, you can check to see just how far the heating element has deviated from its expected temperature at any given moment.

3. Visible Damage on the Heating Element

This one may seem obvious to some people. One of the most vital signs that a heating element is bad is if it has significant damage.

Any visible cracks on the surface, some significant burns, or bends on the heating element can be an indicator that it is bad and a positive sign that you may need to change it.

To make a more thorough assessment of the heating coil’s health, you may need to remove it from the oven and inspect it closely. For this step, you may need a qualified technician to avoid damaging the oven or hurting yourself.

4. A Failing Continuity Test

illustration of the heating element continuity test

A continuity test checks whether current flows in a certain circuit. Doing this will require a specialized gadget known as a multimeter which an electrician might have.

What you’ll need to do is attach the probes of the multimeter to the terminals of the heating element. Take your reading from the smallest ohm scale.

You should get a reading and if you fail to see one, then the continuity test failed and therefore the heating element is bad.

continuity test

Also Read: How to Test a Heating Element with a Multimeter

5. Uneven Cooking

Some regions of your heating element can be damaged and the unit will still function. However, what you may notice is that the food no longer cooks as evenly as it used to.

In an oven, one of the many signs that the device’s heating element is bad is that you no longer get good results in the kitchen.

If your oven no longer cooks food evenly, it may be a sign that you need to change the heating element responsible. This uneven cooking may be a result of uneven heating.

How to Fix

When it comes to fixing heating elements you do not have a lot of options. Since these cannot be self-repaired, you are limited to the following course of action.

  1. If your oven is still under a warranty, then call up the manufacturer.
  2. Take your heating element or your oven to a repair shop.
  3. Purchase in a new one keeping in mind the same model of the heating element.

It goes without saying that any attempt to repair a broken heating element should not be attempted.


Now you know how to tell if oven heating element is bad. Most of the checks shown can be done by any regular user with the help of simple tools and the user manual.

When in doubt you can always hire a company that offers repair services to check the health and quality of your toaster oven for you.

An oven’s element can last for a while and you’ll not necessarily need to but a new one just because the current one cooks unevenly. A simple heating element change can buy you some extra years using the oven and save you money in the process.


1. Why do heating elements burn out oven?

If your oven does not heat up, you most likely have a faulty oven element. A common cause of this is oven element burn-out. Due to the high temperatures within the oven cavity, it is not uncommon for it to burn out.

2. Why do heating elements break?

Heating elements can fail if they are cooled too quickly or are exposed to deteriorating conditions. This might be a highly hot element that becomes drenched in liquid as a result of something cooking in the oven.

3. How long does an oven heating element last?

around 5 years
How long does an oven element typically last? The majority of cooker components should last approximately five years. Naturally, this is conditional on the health and overall quality of your oven; the better the oven, the longer its components should survive.

4. Can a heating element be repaired?

Yes, a heating element can be repaired. However, it is not always easy to do so. If the element is not too badly damaged, it may be possible to solder or weld it back together. If the element is more severely damaged, it may need to be replaced.

5. How much does it cost to replace heating element in oven?

Typically, heating elements cost between $20 and $25. Expect to pay roughly $220 for labor to replace your outdated element.

About the author

Gisele Perez

When not giving in-home, hands-on cooking classes, or developing recipes, Gisele "cooks" wonderful posts for us. She writes about various topics related to cooking appliances and cooking methods.


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