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Kenmore Oven Not Heating? Here’s Why (+ How to Fix)

Kenmore is one of the better home appliance brands; in fact, it’s been named “America’s Most Recommended” for the 2022 Women’s Choice Award. True to that, Kenmore ovens are pretty reliable for things like baking and broiling. However, they can also experience issues such as failing to heat when you want it to.

Here are 9 reasons why your Kenmore oven is not heating:

  • The electronic oven controls are not set correctly.
  • “Delay Start” is activated.
  • “Oven Lock” is activated.
  • The gas oven igniter is weak.
  • The thermal switch is tripped.
  • The broil or bake element is damaged.
  • The bake/broil spark electrode is faulty.
  • The oven temperature sensor is defective.
  • The electronic control board is faulty.

This article further explains the causes of the Kenmore oven not heating and gives you practical fixes for troubleshooting your appliance. I also recommend seeking professional advice if the issue is too complex for you to handle, or if you’re unsure how to handle it. For now, let’s start with the most manageable Kenmore oven heating problems. 

Electronic Oven Controls Not Set Correctly

When using your Kenmore oven for baking or broiling, make sure you’ve correctly set the necessary controls for the desired function before hitting the Start button. If your Kenmore oven controls aren’t set correctly, the oven won’t heat.

How To Set Kenmore Oven Controls

When using the Bake function, follow these steps to set the oven controls:

  1. Place your cooking inside the oven and close the door.
  2. Press the Bake button. The 350°F (177°C) factory preset temperature reading will be displayed.
  3. Use the ‘Up’ and ‘Down’ arrows to select your desired temperature. The temperature will decrease or increase by 5°F (1°C) every time the button is pressed.
  4. Hit the Start button. Your oven will start heating.

If you’re using the Broil function, here’s what you do to set the oven controls:

  1. Preheat your oven for 2 minutes. 
  2. Place the food inside the oven and close the oven door until the ‘broil stop’ position. At this position, your oven stays slightly open.
  3. Select the Broil function. The ‘HI’ option will be displayed.
  4. Press the ‘Up’ or ‘Down’ arrow to set your desired temperature. The temperature will increase or decrease by 5°F (1°C).
  5. Choose ‘HI’ or ‘LO’ broil.
  6. Press the Start button. Your oven should start heating.

Check the “Setting Oven Controls” section on your model’s User Manual for specific instructions on how to operate your model.

“Delay Start” Is Activated

The “Delay Start” function on your Kenmore oven helps you prepare what you want to cook, and then program the oven to start cooking the food later. This is especially useful when you’re out of the house but want your food ready when you get back. “Delay Start” is only used with the Bake and Self Clean functions.

If you want to use the oven ASAP, but someone else set the oven to the “Delay Start” option, the oven won’t heat until you deactivate “Delay Start.”

How To Deactivate “Delay Start” on a Kenmore Oven

Setting the “Delay Start” follows the same steps as setting a normal baking cycle. However, you have to set the “Cook Time” and press “Delay Start” at the end of the setting procedure. To deactivate the “Delay Start” function, simply press the “Stop” button. The “Delay Start” settings will be canceled, and you can set a fresh cooking cycle.

“Oven Lock” Is Activated

The “Oven Lock” control on your Kenmore oven deactivates the oven function when you don’t use it. When this is done, the control keys on the panel are deactivated. If you try preheating the oven before a baking cycle, the oven won’t heat, and the display will show “Loc”. You’ll need to deactivate “Oven Lock” to use the oven again.

How To Deactivate “Oven Lock” on Kenmore Oven

When “Oven Lock” is active, your oven control panel will display the time. Press the “Oven Lock” button and hold for three seconds to deactivate the function. The “Oven Lock” pad will flash for 15 seconds while the door unlocks, and you shouldn’t try to open the door during this time. The control keys on the panel will then be reactivated.

The Gas Oven Igniter Is Weak

If you have a Kenmore gas oven, your oven may not heat if the igniter is weak and doesn’t glow or get hot enough. The gas igniter has two functions:

  • Direct electric current through the safety valve to the oven.
  • Ignite the burners to heat the oven.

The safety gas valve won’t open to allow the burners to turn on if the igniter isn’t hot enough. As such, a weak oven igniter needs to be replaced.

How To Replace a Weak Gas Oven Igniter

First, confirm that the igniter isn’t glowing or getting hot enough. If this is the case, follow these steps to replace the gas oven igniter:

  1. Turn off both gas and electricity.
  2. Unscrew the bottom panel and pull it out. If the door prevents the panel from coming out, follow the instructions on your User Manual to remove the door.
  3. Remove the screws holding the igniter to the burner.
  4. Release the tabs on the connector so you can detach the igniter plug from the harness.
  5. Pull out the igniter.  
  6. Fit the new igniter into the harness. Do not touch the carbide electrode on the new igniter; otherwise, it’ll fail.
  7. Fix the new igniter on the mounting bracket and replace the screws.
  8. Replace the bottom panel and screw it on.
  9. Turn both gas and electricity on and test to see if the igniter now lights the burners and sets the oven heating.

If you’re better at working with a visual demonstration, this YouTube video by Sears shows the steps for replacing a gas oven igniter:

The Thermal Switch Is Tripped

Some Kenmore ranges come with a thermal (cut-out) switch that interrupts current flow in case the oven starts to overheat. If the thermal switch is tripped, the oven won’t start heating.

An oven thermal switch that trips during the Self Clean cycle can be reset by cycling power to the oven and pushing the reset button at the rear. However, if the oven thermal switch trips during a normal baking cycle, you’ll need to replace it.

How To Replace an Oven Thermal Switch

Follow these steps to replace a Kenmore oven thermal switch:

  1. Turn off the power to the oven.
  2. Pull out the control knobs. You may need a string or wire to pull the knobs off.
  3. Remove the top panel holders and take the panel off.
  4. Disconnect the control wires harness.
  5. Remove the screws holding the grounding wire and control bracket.
  6. Disconnect the wire harness of the surface element.
  7. Unscrew the control cover and place it aside.
  8. Pull the gasket from the glass top.
  9. Remove the main top assembly, ensuring you mark the position of the wires. Take pictures if you need to.
  10. Detach the thermal switch by unscrewing the holding screws.
  11. Place the new thermal switch where the old one was.
  12. Follow the steps above in reverse to put back all the oven parts in place.
  13. Turn the oven on and check to see if it starts heating.

To make things easier, watch this Repair Clinic video on YouTube on replacing your Kenmore oven thermal switch:

Note: If the thermal switch tips consistently, it’s a sign the control board is bad. In that case, have the control board assessed and replaced if needed.

The Broil or Bake Element Is Damaged

Electric Kenmore ovens have a bake element at the bottom and a broil element on the oven roof. If these components get damaged, they won’t heat the oven. 

You may notice signs of damage to oven heating elements like breaks or blisters. However, a damaged oven heating element may also appear intact. In that case, test the element for continuity before replacing it.

How To Replace a Damaged Broil/Bake Element

Follow these steps to replace a Kenmore oven broil/bake element:

  1. Switch off electricity to the range and unplug.
  2. Take out all the oven racks.
  3. Remove the screws holding the supports and the element to the oven.
  4. Pull the element towards you to reveal the connecting wires and disconnect them.
  5. Take out the broil/bake element. Remove the oven door if it blocks the element or makes it hard to remove.
  6. Reattach the connecting wires to the new element.
  7. Put back the element supports and replace the mounting screws.
  8. Place the racks back in the oven. Replace the oven door if you removed it.
  9. Turn the oven on. The new broil/bake element should start heating.

The Bake/Broil Spark Electrode Is Faulty

A Kenmore gas oven has a spark electrode that ignites the gas. When power gets to the electrode, the spark is detected at the electrode tip and goes to the electrode shield to light the gas. If the electrode is faulty, it won’t spark, and the oven burner will go off and not heat. 

How To Replace a Kenmore Oven Spark Electrode

When your Kenmore oven’s bake/broil spark electrode is faulty, you have no choice but to replace it. Here’s how:

  1. Turn off the power to the oven.
  2. Take out the oven racks.
  3. Detach the heat shield by removing the screws.
  4. Remove the screws securing the old electrode.
  5. Detach the electrode from the wire connector.
  6. Reattach the wire connector to the new electrode.
  7. Fix the electrode in place and fit the screws.
  8. Reattach the heat shield and screw it on.
  9. Place back the racks.
  10. Power the oven. The oven should resume heating.

You can watch the above steps on this YouTube video from Repair Clinic:

The Oven Temperature Sensor Is Defective

The sensor in a Kenmore oven detects the temperature in the appliance. If it’s defective, the temperature sensor will record the wrong temperature. 

For example, the sensor could report a temperature equivalent to the one you set when the temperature is actually lower than that. This means that heating elements don’t cycle as needed and may stay off when they should be on, causing your oven not to heat up. 

A defective oven temperature sensor has to be replaced because it could also lead to errors on the control board and compromise the overall functioning of the oven.

How To Replace a Kenmore Oven Temperature Sensor

The temperature sensor is located at the top left of the interior oven rear wall. But you’ll need to work from the exterior to replace the temperature sensor, as follows: 

  1. Turn off the power to the oven. If you have a gas oven, turn off the gas as well.
  2. Unscrew the back panel and place it aside.
  3. Depress the tabs to release the sensor wire harness.
  4. Remove the screw holding the sensor to the oven assembly.  
  5. Pull out the temperature sensor.
  6. Push in the new temperature sensor and screw it onto the oven assembly.
  7. Connect the wire harness to the new sensor.
  8. Turn on the power (and gas). Your oven should resume heating.

You can follow the above steps in this Sears video:

The Electronic Control Board Is Faulty

A Kenmore oven control board regulates the power supply to all the oven components and therefore controls all the oven functions. When the oven is turned on, the control board lights up to indicate power flow. If this doesn’t happen, it’s a definite sign that the control board is defective, and the oven won’t heat.

Although a bad oven control board isn’t a common issue, when it does happen, there’s no other option but to replace the control board.

How To Replace a Faulty Kenmore Oven Control Board

The oven control board is at the back of the control panel. Follow these steps to replace a faulty control board:

  1. Switch off the oven.
  2. Unscrew the cover at the back of the control panel and set it aside.
  3. Mark the position of all the connecting wires on the control board before disconnecting them. You can take a picture to make things easier.
  4. Remove the screws securing the board to the control panel.
  5. Peel off the overlay from the old control board if it’s still in good shape. If not, buy a new overlay from one of Kenmore’s Partners, as well as the new control board. 
  6. Attach the overlay to the new control board.
  7. Install the control board where the old one was and fix the screw to secure it.
  8. Reconnect the wires to the same position on the new control board.
  9. Screw back the control panel rear cover.
  10. Switch on the oven and check to see if the appliance resumes heating.

You can check the steps for replacing a Kenmore oven control board in this Sears video:
If you’re not sure about the fixes and replacements described for any of the above Kenmore oven issues, contact Kenmore Support or a trained oven technician.