If your food always ends up burnt or charred, you should probably take a closer look at your oven. Modern electric and gas ovens utilize many intricate sensors and components to help you cook your food efficiently. However, if any of these parts malfunction, it can cause overheating in your oven.
The oven getting too hot can result from calibration issues or a faulty thermostat, thermistor, and heat sensor. Defective cooling fans, heating elements, or problems with the control board can also cause overheating. Solutions mainly concern identifying the faulty part and replacing it.
In this article, I’ll cover all the different causes behind your oven overheating. Following each potential cause,
I’ll also provide a solution so you can get your oven back into working condition. Don’t forget to get a screwdriver, nut driver, and multimeter to run these tests and fixes.
1. The Oven Is Miscalibrated
The most common reason your oven is overheating is that it’s miscalibrated.
A miscalibrated oven can cause the temperature of the oven chamber to rise well above what you set it to.
For example, let’s say you set the oven to cook your food at 350°F (177°C) using the control board or temperature dial. However, if the oven is miscalibrated, it can potentially read 350°F (177°C) as 400°F (204°C).
If this happens, your oven will overheat by a margin of 50°F (10°C) — significant enough to char or burn your food.
How To Fix
To fix an oven miscalibration issue, you must first figure out how much the oven is overheating the chamber.
To do this, you’ll need an oven thermometer. If you don’t already have one, I suggest getting the Rubbermaid Oven Monitoring Thermometer (available on Amazon), as it’s highly durable and can withstand extreme temperatures.
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With that thermometer in hand, follow the steps below:
- Place the oven thermometer inside the oven chamber. Make sure it’s visible through the oven door glass.
- Set the oven to any temperature, like 350°F (177°C).
- Give it 5 to 10 minutes to heat up.
- Check the reading on the thermometer.
- If the thermometer reads 400°F (204°C), the oven is miscalibrated by a margin of +50°F (10°C).
As such, when you recalibrate your oven, you need to correct it for the extra 50°F (10°C).
Now, the process of recalibrating an oven will vary from model to model. I suggest you consult the user guide or manual that came with your particular appliance.
For reference, here’s a 3-min YouTube video on how to calibrate your oven temperature:
2. The Oven Cooling Fans Have Failed
Some ovens have a cooling fan designed to provide continuous airflow inside the oven temperature.
In most cases, the fan is tasked with evenly distributing the heat across the oven chamber.
However, some models use cooling fans to stabilize the internal temperature and keep it from rising above your set temperature. They’re also used to quickly cool down the oven after it’s turned off, which keeps the electrical components from overheating.
As you can see, if the cooling fans fail and stop doing their job, it can potentially result in your oven overheating.
How To Fix
First, you need to check if the cooling fans have failed or not. To do this, do the following steps:
- Remove the back or top panel hiding your oven’s circuitry.
- Disconnect the wires connected to the cooling fan. Refer to the user guide or manual to know where your cooling fan is located and which wires are connected to it.
- Take out your multimeter and set it to the Ohmmeter.
- Touch the probes on the multimeter to the wire connectors on your cooling fan.
- If the value is around 280 ohm, it’s working fine. Anything else indicates a problem with the part.
Once you’re sure your cooling fan isn’t working, you’ll need to replace it with a new one. But first, you need to buy a new cooling fan suitable for your model.
If you’re having difficulties figuring out what cooling fan model you’ll need for your oven, I suggest consulting your oven’s manufacturer or a technician.
Once you have the replacement cooling fan, just unscrew and take out the old one, and put the new one in its place.
This should solve any heating issue caused by your faulty cooling fan.
3. The Thermostat or Thermistor Is Faulty
Most modern ovens use either a thermostat or thermistor to measure and control the temperature inside the oven chamber.
Once you’ve set the oven to a particular temperature, it’ll start heating the oven chamber. The thermostat or thermistor checks if the set temperature is reached or not. If the oven chamber is lower than the set temperature, it’ll tell the oven to keep heating. Once the preferred temperature is reached, it’ll tell the oven to stop heating.
If there’s a problem with the temperature sensor, it might tell the oven to keep heating as it can’t detect if the set temperature is reached, causing the overheating issue.
How To Fix
Search your oven’s user guide or manual and figure out where the thermostat or thermistor is located. Some models use thermostats, while others use thermistors.
The sensors might come fitted inside the control board, or they might be attached to a heat sensor and remain on the rear side of the oven. It’s generally a small and thin metal part connected to many wires.
Once you figure out where the thermostat or thermistor is located, unscrew it, and remove it from the oven.
Now, take your multimeter and turn it to the lowest ohm rating. Connect the multimeter to the thermistor and check the readings. If you can’t get a reading, it means the part is faulty, and you need to replace it.
Contact your oven’s manufacturer or a technician to know what particular type of thermostat or thermistor is for your oven, buy it, and put it in place of the old one.
4. The Heat Sensor Is Not Working
Many ovens have a heat sensor installed inside the oven chamber. It reads the temperature inside the chamber and conveys that to the thermostat or control board which decides if the oven should keep heating or not.
If the heat sensor is faulty or not working, it will read a lower temperature. This will cause your oven to heat up more, resulting in overheating.
The most common reason a heat sensor can malfunction is if it gets covered by grime and grease, which is likely if you don’t thoroughly clean your oven chamber. This makes it difficult for the heat sensor to accurately detect the temperature.
Other than this, the heat sensor might end up broken or damaged, in which case, it won’t be able to detect the temperature at all.
How To Fix
First, you’ll need to figure out where the heat sensor is located inside your oven. It’s usually a small bulb located at the back of the oven chamber. But to be sure, I suggest you consult the user’s manual that came with your oven. Once you find the heat sensor, a quick look at it should help you figure out if there’s any problem.
If you notice it’s covered with grime, cleaning it should help fix the issue. I recommend mixing baking soda with water and using the solution to clean the heat sensor. Make sure you dry the area thoroughly after you’re done cleaning.
Also, if you notice that the heat sensor is cracked or shows signs of damage, you’ll need to replace it with a new one. To know which heat sensor to get, check the user manual or consult a technician.
Replacing a heat sensor is as simple as unscrewing it from its position, disconnecting any attached wires, putting the new heat sensor in its place, and connecting the wires to the new one.
5. The Heating Elements Have Short-Circuited
An electric oven uses heating element(s) to generate heat for cooking your food. After you specify a set temperature for cooking your food, the oven will flow electricity through the heating elements to generate heat. It’ll cycle electricity on and off to maintain the oven chamber at your preferred temperature.
However, if the heating elements somehow get short-circuited, the oven can stay on until you kill the power.
A heating element that’s always on will continue to generate heat, leading to overheating.
If you wish to know more about this topic, you can check out this article on how electric ovens work.
How To Fix
First, you need to check if the heating element has indeed short-circuited.
To do this, open the back panel covering your oven’s circuitry. Then, locate the heating elements. These should be two metal rods protruding from the oven chamber and connected to wires.
Disconnect these wires and get your multimeter. Set it to the ohm settings and dial it to 1000 ohms or higher. Now, test the resistance from one end of the heat elements to the bare metal body of the oven.
If you notice any continuity readings, the heating elements have short-circuited, and you need to replace them.
To replace your oven’s heating elements, take the following steps:
- Unplug your oven and let it cool down.
- Remove the back panel of your oven, locate the heating elements, and disconnect any attached wires.
- Unthread the screws inside the oven chamber holding the heating elements in place.
- Pull it out from the oven chamber.
- Insert the new heating element in its place and fasten them with screws.
- Go to the back panel and reconnect the wires to the new heating elements.
6. The Control Board Is Malfunctioning
The control board analyzes the information sent by the sensors and (as its name implies) controls the rest of the components to achieve and maintain the user-specified temperature.
However, if there’s a problem with the control board, it can tell the oven to keep on heating, leading to an overheating issue.
For example, the control board has dedicated relays to control the heating elements (for electric ovens) or the burner (for gas ovens). If the relays are stuck closed, it can signal the components to keep heating.
It’s also possible that a particular board component has failed or one (or more) of the wires have come loose. In both cases, the regular heating process will be disturbed and can cause overheating.
Most control board issues stem from power surges. So if you recently experienced a power surge and your oven started overheating after that incident, it’s a strong indication that your control board is fried.
How To Fix
If there’s an issue with your oven’s control board, you’ll have to replace it.
To figure out what control board you need to buy for your oven, you can check the user manual, contact the manufacturer, or call a technician.
Once you have the new replacement control board in hand, follow the steps below:
- Unplug the oven from the power outlet.
- Remove the back panel covering the oven’s circuitry.
- Locate the control board and take a picture. You’ll need to consult the picture to remember where each wire was connected.
- Disconnect all the wires.
- Unthread the mounting screws and slide out the control board.
- [Optional] If you plan to use the overlay from your old control board on the new one, you’ll need to cut or pry it out. I recommend using a putty knife and taking your time to remove it slowly. Once done, place the overlay on top of the new control board, ensuring that all edges are even.
- Align the new control board in the amount of the old one and fasten it in place using the screws.
- Finally, reattach the wires to the appropriate connectors. Check the picture you took earlier to make sure all wires are correctly connected.
And that’s it! You have successfully replaced your old oven control board with a new one.
An oven can overheat because of a myriad of problems. For starters, the oven can come miscalibrated, in which case you’ll need to recalibrate it to stop it from overheating.
Other than this, problems with the working components like a faulty thermostat, cooling fan, heat sensor, heating elements, and control board can all lead to overheating issues. You need to test these components to figure out which one is defective and replace them.
Additional Oven Troubleshooting Resources
If you ever have other difficulties with your oven, some of our other oven troubleshooting posts may be able to help:
- Oven Keeps Shutting Off? Top 9 Reasons Why (+ Easy Fixes)
- Everything You Need To Know About Oven Power Cords
- How To Turn Off Sabbath Mode on 12 Oven Brands
- 9 Ways to Know if Your Oven Temperature Sensor is Bad
- Why Does My Oven Smell Like Fish?
- Why Does My Oven Smell Like Propane?
- Can You Leave an Oven on Overnight?
- Why Does My Oven Smell Like Pee?
- Why Does My Oven Smell Like Gas?
- Why Is My Oven Flame Yellow?
- Oven Shuts Off During Preheat? Here’s Why (+ How to Fix)
- Oven Not Closing Fully? Here’s Why (+ How to Fix)
- Oven Not Heating Up but Stove Works? Here’s Why
- Oven Getting Too Hot? Here’s Why (+ How To Fix)