Your oven may shut off unexpectedly for various reasons, including poor ventilation. This can cause the thermostat to trip and the oven to turn off. Inspect the oven vents and clean out any debris to resolve this issue. If this doesn’t work, I’ve listed other possible solutions in this guide if this doesn’t work.
Having owned a GE oven for nearly two decades, I can understand how frustrating it is when it keeps turning off while preparing a meal. An oven that keeps shutting off can spoil your recipe as its temperature fluctuates.
In this guide, I have identified twelve potential causes for why your oven might keep shutting off. To assist you in rectifying the issue, I have also provided quick and simple fixes that you can implement to get your oven back up and running.
Reasons Why Your Oven Keeps Shutting Off
If you don’t read anything else in this piece, here is a quick list of the reasons your oven keeps shutting off:
- Damaged thermostat
- Bad ventilation
- Bad electrical current
- Broken circuit breakers
- Old cooking elements
- Cooling fan issues
- Control board problems
- Gas failures
- Switch and timer malfunctions
- Loose or faulty wiring
- Damaged Terminal Block
- Defective door latch
Now, let’s look at each of the reasons in detail.
All ovens have thermostats that regulate the internal temperature. When you turn the switch, the thermostat determines whether it needs to heat or cool the range. A broken thermostat will send false signals to the control board, making it think it has reached its designated temperature. This can also make it impossible to turn on the oven.
Broken thermostats are common concerns for those using their ovens frequently or excessively high temperatures. Prolonged heat tends to wear down the wiring, making the thermostat more likely to fail or break down.
How to Fix
Follow these instructions to test and replace your thermostat:
- Turn off the electricity going to the oven at the breaker.
- Remove the front panel of the oven, then locate the thermostat.
- Use a multimeter to test the two wires going to the thermostat. The manufacturer’s guidelines will help you know how much electricity it should have when disconnected from the main power supply.
- If the thermostat reads low or has no electricity, disconnect the wires from the back and unscrew the thermostat.
- Find the manufacturer’s recommended part number for the thermostat, then mount it where the old unit went.
- Attach the wires to the back of the new thermostat, seal the oven’s front panel, and plug it back into the wall.
- Test the range by turning it on for at least ten minutes to ensure it functions properly.
If you prefer a video tutorial, review this guide by the YouTube channel SOS Parts:
Low-Quality Ventilation (Clogged Air Vents)
Most ranges have small vents or a gap between the inner door seal. These small slots allow excess hot air to escape. If the ducts are clogged or blocked, too much heat builds up inside the oven, damaging the internal components.
Most modern ovens with thermostats will trip and turn off if the ventilation isn’t adequate. The same issue occurs if your range has poor insulation.
How to Fix
Here’s how you can repair this issue:
- Find the oven’s vents. They should be located on the sides or back near the top. Again, the owner’s manual will have all of their locations.
- Gently scrub the vents to remove grime, food debris, and anything else in the way. Some vents can be unscrewed and cleaned in the sink.
- Check the seal to ensure it’s not loose or falling off. The seal surrounds the inside of the door.
Bad Electrical Current
If your oven is plugged into an electrical outlet, there’s a chance it might not be supplying enough power. On the other hand, the oven could show signs of life, such as illuminated lights or beeping when you click through the menu. In addition, gas ovens might click when you turn the ignition switch since they light with propane (or whichever type of gas your house uses).
If you have a weak current, it may be sufficient for small tasks but may not provide enough electricity to turn on your oven and heat it to the desired temperature. To determine if this is the problem, you can use a multimeter as explained below, or you can simply turn on the oven and check if the lights flicker, which could indicate that it lacks sufficient power.
How to Fix
If you want to test the electrical current of your oven, you can use a multimeter, also called a voltmeter. To perform the test, simply place the red node on the active wire and the black node on the other wire of the same component. If the reading is low or inconsistent, the oven is not receiving enough electricity.
Malfunctioning Circuit Breaker
With circuit breakers, you can control which parts of your home, including your kitchen, receive power from the main electrical line. If your oven keeps turning off unexpectedly while attempting to heat up, it could indicate that you need to replace your circuit breaker. Sometimes, a power outage can cause a surge that damages an old circuit breaker.
When your oven turns off, check if the power goes to everything else in the kitchen. If other appliances near the range are also off, turn off the breaker and follow the instructions below.
How to Fix
If your circuit breaker keeps tripping, keep these tips in mind:
- Test the circuit breaker with a multimeter to ensure it’s getting 220 volts. If not, replace the circuit breaker. It could also mean the main power supply isn’t high enough. You’ll notice other electrical issues throughout the house if this is the case.
- To replace a circuit breaker, you must turn off the power and get a breaker the same size as the previous one. For example, the Siemens 30A 230V Breaker plugs into the same slot as any other 220v/230v breaker in the box. The plug-and-play design makes it one of the easiest installations.
- If the breaker keeps tripping after replacing it, the line has a shortage. This could mean the oven demands too much power or is overheating and shutting it off. Use your multimeter at each component until you find the part that’s either too low or too high, then replace it.
Damaged Heating Element
Your oven’s cooking element is what heats the grates and food. Without a cooking element, the ignition switch wouldn’t trigger anything. Unfortunately, the cooking element can get dirty, clogged, damaged, or misplaced. These errors could cause your oven to turn off.
The easiest way to know if your oven’s cooking element is damaged is to turn on the range and look inside. The heating element would be at the bottom of the oven unless your oven broils, in which case the element would be at the top. The element should be bright orange and hot. When you switch on the oven, it must be replaced if it is not glowing or producing heat.
How to Fix
Here’s how to replace the cooking element:
- Pull your oven out and disconnect the main power supply.
- Open the oven door and remove all of the grates.
- Locate the heating element on the bottom of the oven and unscrew the two rods going into the back.
- Slowly pull the wires through the holes with the disconnected element, then disconnect them from the element.
- Replace the old element with the part number element required for your oven, hook the old wires into the new element, and mount it with the screws mentioned in Step 3.
Try this video for a step-by-step visual:
Worn Cooling Fan
Oven cooling fans (circulating fans) reduce and regulate the internal temperature as needed. If the oven gets too warm, these fans activate to prevent it from triggering the thermostat and control board. The cooling fan also moves hot air around the inside of the oven to prevent cold spots and hot patches of air.
If your oven’s cooling fan doesn’t turn on, the thermostat will instruct the control board to turn off the oven. Oven cooling fans typically make a light humming sound while the oven is heating. If you don’t hear anything before the oven turns off, that could be the culprit.
How to Fix
Here’s how to replace your oven fan:
- Unplug the oven.
- Locate the cooling fan behind the face panel (sometimes, it’s below the oven).
- Disconnect the wires going to the cooling fan.
- Use a new cooling fan recommended by the manufacturer, then attach the old wires to the new cooling fan.
- Seal the panel and turn on the oven to test your work.
Old Control Board
The control board controls everything in the oven. If anything goes wrong, the control board turns off the oven. The board has several wires connecting the cooling fan, thermostat, heating element, and other components. A faulty control board sends and receives false signals, making it turn off the oven when it should be fine.
The control board handles all sorts of actions. Understandably, it takes wear and tear. If you’ve replaced most of the other parts in your oven or all are performing as expected, you should consider changing the control board.
How to Fix
Unplug the oven, connect the wires, and swap out the old control panel with the part number required by the manufacturer. Plug each new wire into its corresponding space.
Replacing a control board can get messy, so tie the wires together to prevent them from getting mixed up.
It helps to take a photo of the wires connected to the old panel before disconnecting them. Most control panels are behind the faceplate or under the digital screen (if your oven has one).
Not Enough Gas (Gas Ovens Only)
If you own a gas oven, it may have a blockage, leak, or insufficient gas flow. Any problem that limits the amount of gas flowing into the oven can cause it to shut off. The oven’s control board may detect a leak and malfunction if the gas supply is insufficient. In such cases, it’s best to contact your gas service provider to check for any supply issues.
Another quick tip is to smell the kitchen for gas. If your oven smells like gas, turn it off right away. Gas leaking into the oven typically makes it turn off, but it’s a health hazard either way.
How to Fix
Turn off your oven and contact a professional to come out and inspect the gas line as soon as possible. Clogs and leaks can be dangerous, so you shouldn’t attempt to fix the problem without assistance.
Timer and Switch Issues
An oven has a timer and switches to help you set the desired baking parameters. The range won’t run if they have loose or damaged connections. A loose connection can slowly fall off the component, triggering the control board and rendering the oven useless.
How to Fix
For safety purposes, disconnect the power supply to the oven before replacing any parts.
Most oven switches can be removed with a screwdriver, while others simply twist off. The same rules apply to timers. If wires are going to the back of either component, simply connect them to the new switch or timer and mount it back in its place.
Loose or Faulty Wiring
If your oven keeps shutting off unexpectedly, it could be due to loose or faulty wiring. Electrical connections within your oven can loosen over time, causing power to cut out intermittently. A loose connection can also generate heat, damaging the wiring and further complicating the problem. Addressing the issue immediately is essential to avoid further damage to your oven or a potential fire hazard.
How to Fix
- Unplug your oven from the power source before inspecting the wiring
- Locate the wiring in your oven and inspect it for visible signs of damage, such as fraying, cracks, or exposed wires
- Check for loose connections by gently pulling on the wires to ensure they are securely attached
- Use a screwdriver or tape to tighten any loose wires or connections you identify
- Replace any damaged wires, which may require the help of a professional technician
Defective Door Switch or Latch
An oven door switch helps detect when your door is closed and controls the light. A defective door switch or latch in your oven can cause it to shut off unexpectedly. Here’s a video guide to walk you through fixing a defective door switch:
How to Fix
- Check if the door is closed correctly: Ensure the oven door is properly closed and latched. Sometimes the issue is a misaligned door, which can be fixed by adjusting the hinges or latch.
- Inspect the door switch or latch: Open the oven door and locate the door switch or latch. This is usually found near the top of the door frame or along the side. Check for any visible signs of damage, such as cracks, wear and tear, or other issues. If there is no sign of visible damage, test the switch.
- Test the switch: Use a multimeter to test the continuity of the door switch. First, unplug your oven and remove the switch from the door frame. Set your multimeter to the ohms setting and touch the probes to the two terminals of the switch. If the reading on the multimeter is zero, replace the switch.
- Replace the door switch or latch: Replacements can be found at your local appliance store or online.
- Call a professional: If you’re not comfortable with testing or replacing the door switch or latch yourself, it’s best to call a professional technician to do the job.
Damaged Terminal Block
Another reason your oven keeps shutting off is a faulty terminal block. The terminal block of an oven consolidates all the electrical wiring required for the oven to function correctly. You can quickly identify the terminal block by locating the cover at the back, bottom of the oven, where all the electrical wiring is connected.
How to Fix
- Turn off the power supply.
- Remove the back cover.
- Inspect the terminal block visually to check for any damage or burned wires.
- If you find any damaged wires, you can repair them by cutting the wire, stripping it back, and connecting the stripped section to the correct terminal on the block.
- If the damage is severe or not repairable, you will need to replace the terminal block entirely (when replacing the terminal block, ensure it is compatible with your oven’s make and model).
- If you are not comfortable performing the repairs yourself, seek the assistance of a professional technician.
We’ve included everything you need to know to fix your oven if it keeps shutting off. If you’ve tried all the solutions in this guide and nothing seems to work, your only option would be to call a technician to look at it.