The oven and stove of a range share the same energy source, whether electric or gas. However, many homecooks find that while their stove works fine, their oven doesn’t seem to heat up. Both components are integral to a self-contained cooking range, so why would this apparently odd problem be so common?
An oven not heating up but the stove working generally happens because of a faulty component in the former. The oven has separate burners or heating elements, igniters, thermal fuse or limit switch, temperature sensor, etc. A key part failing will prevent the oven from heating up.
Before diving further into the topic, let me differentiate between an oven not heating up and the heating elements (electric) or burners (gas) not working. If the heating elements or burners are working, you should check the other main components. Read on to learn more about why your oven is not heating up, but the stove works.
Why Your Oven Is Not Heating Up but Stove Works
Like the stove on your range, the oven has its heating elements or burners. These components are not connected to the stove.
For instance, an electric oven’s bake and broil heating elements have separate wiring and connections to the control board. Therefore, even if your electric stove’s heating elements work fine, those in the oven may not due to connection issues or other damages that may have occurred to some of their essential components.
Similarly, the burners inside a gas oven have dedicated igniters and safety valves. For this reason, even if your stove works and there is an adequate gas supply to the range, the igniters, safety valves, and other key parts in the oven may fail and prevent the appliance from heating up.
In this article, I’ll discuss some of the most probable issues that might be causing your (gas or electric) oven not to heat up. Below, you can refer to any of the specific problems relevant to the type of range you have.
An Electric Oven Heating Element Is Damaged
A conventional electric oven comprises two heating elements for baking and broiling, respectively. Your oven may have two, three, or four heating elements, depending on its type. A damaged element can prevent your electric oven from heating up while the stove atop the range will work normally.
If your appliance isn’t working, one or more of these elements might be damaged. Furthermore, you need to check whether the oven isn’t heating up in only one mode or all of them.
Here’s how the heating elements function in different modes:
- Broiling: the top heating element in the oven operates at the highest temperatures.
- Baking: two or all heating elements function at moderately high temperatures.
- Roasting: two or all heating elements operate at higher than baking temperatures.
So, when is your oven not heating up? Here are a few probable scenarios:
- Your oven is not heating up while broiling. The top element may be damaged.
- The oven is not sufficiently hot to bake. In this case, the broiling mode works fine, but the bottom heating element is damaged. If an oven has a third or fourth heating element, either or both could be broken.
- The oven does not heat up while roasting. In this case, you have to check if the oven is heating up in baking mode. If it does, the problem may not be the heating element but the temperature sensor or another component.
In short, it can help to test the oven’s performance in different modes. Moreover, you must visually inspect the heating elements to check if they are broken or deformed. Physical signs of damage are usually conclusive.
Furthermore, check if the heating elements get warm to some extent or remain as cool as room temperature. If any heating element does not warm up, this quintessential oven part is broken, or the related components are preventing it from operating optimally.
In some cases, the heating elements may look alright, but the material could be damaged. Therefore, you need to check the continuity of your oven’s heating elements.
Here’s a video to help you test the continuity of an electric oven’s heating element:
Account for the other typical causes I discuss in this guide before you take apart the oven to test the heating elements.
The Temperature Sensor and Thermostat Could Be Malfunctioning
One of the most common reasons for an oven not sufficiently heating up is a malfunctioning temperature sensor. All gas and electric ovens have a temperature sensor and thermostat.
The temperature sensor is located in the oven’s cooking chamber. This sensor and thermostat assembly connects to the control board.
Suppose your oven’s burners or heating elements are working fine. In that case, a faulty temperature sensor can erroneously shut the oven as it heats. Therefore, if your oven is heating but not to the desired temperature, the most likely culprit is the temperature sensor.
Here are a few common problems with oven temperature sensors:
- The temperature sensor inside the oven can go bad.
- The ceramic material may be clogged with soot and grime.
- The wires connected to the sensor may be loose, frayed, or damaged.
However, the temperature sensor and thermostat may not be the culprit if your oven is not even beginning to heat.
The Thermal Fuse Is Blown, or Limit Switch Is Stuck
Ovens have a thermal fuse or limit switch. A blown thermal fuse or stuck limit switch will prevent the oven from heating up. A thermal fuse is generally irreparable, but you can reset a stuck limit switch.
Your oven has either a thermal fuse or a limit switch to protect the appliance from power surges. This safety feature essentially disrupts the electric circuit in the oven. Consequently, the oven does not have enough power to operate. Even gas ovens need electricity to start and keep the igniter on.
Many ovens have the thermal fuse or limit switch separated from the control panel. Therefore, while the display can work normally, the heating elements, igniters, safety valves, and other parts of the oven won’t have power if the circuit is broken by the fuse or limit switch.
An easy test can be to check whether the fan works as you set the oven to heat or preheat. If it doesn’t, and the oven is not heating, you should check the fuse or limit switch. Most ovens have this fixture at the back, inside the rear access panel.
A Gas Oven Igniter May Be Broken, Unclean, or Disconnected
A gas oven igniter must stay glowing hot throughout preheating and cooking. Otherwise, the burners won’t work. So, if your burners are shutting midway and the oven is not heating, you should check the igniter’s condition.
Inspect them to see if they’re broken or unclean. Furthermore, the wires connected to the igniters may be loose or frayed and damaged, meaning the component isn’t getting enough power to operate properly.
A Gas Safety Valve in the Oven May Be Failing
Every gas oven burner has a safety valve. This safety valve senses the change in resistance due to a burning hot igniter and allows the gas to flow into the burner. If the safety valve fails or functions intermittently, the gas supply will be shut or interrupted, and your oven won’t heat.
You cannot access the safety valve in a gas oven without taking it apart. However, you can visually check whether the igniter is working or not. If the igniter is glowing hot and no gas flows into the burners, you’re probably looking at a broken safety valve that stays closed.
Since your stove works, you have a sufficient gas supply. Therefore, low gas pressure is not an issue in this scenario.
Moreover, just like the igniter must stay glowing hot throughout preheating and cooking, the safety valve should remain open for gas to flow into the burners continuously. In short, either an igniter or a safety valve is the culprit when a gas oven doesn’t heat, or a burner doesn’t light up.
The Oven Control Board Is Not Working Properly
Both gas and electric ovens feature an electronic control board. A failing or bad control board may prevent the oven from heating, starting, or functioning the way you want it to.
Weak wire harnesses or loose connections may affect the control board’s functions. However, it is more common for a control board to malfunction by itself, either entirely or some of its components, i.e., capacitors, resistors, transistors, etc.
The Oven May Have a Continuity Problem in Its Circuit
Gas and electric ovens have an elaborate circuit connecting the various components. A lack of continuity in the circuit disrupting the current flow will prevent the connected parts of the oven from receiving electricity.
These affected parts include the following:
- Heating elements (electric oven)
- Igniters (gas oven)
- Safety valves (gas oven)
- Thermostat and temperature sensor
- Limit switch or thermal fuse
- Electronic control board
Therefore, a continuity problem could be why your oven is not heating up, but the stove works.
For instance, any disconnected heating elements in an electric oven will not glow or radiate heat. Likewise, an igniter in a gas oven won’t turn red or orange.
A continuity problem can occur anywhere in the circuit due to damaged wires, frayed connections, broken heating elements, or a bad control board. However, keep in mind that a control board may be fine if the continuity issue is located elsewhere in the circuit.
Watch this video to test the continuity of your oven’s circuit:
Continuity issues can prevent your oven from heating even if all the other critical components are in impeccable working condition.
4 Fixes for an Oven Not Heating Up but the Stove Is Working
Ideally, you should check the continuity and condition of every component of your electric or gas oven. Doing so will enable you to detect the culprit much more accurately. Then, you can choose the appropriate solution, be it cleaning, resetting, repairing, or replacing.
1. Clean All the Critical Components of the Oven
Significant soot and grime buildup can impair the functioning of several critical components in an oven. However, the heating elements or burners shouldn’t be completely incapacitated. In contrast, a dirty temperature sensor or an igniter may not function optimally.
Therefore, clean the temperature sensor (all ovens) and igniters (gas). You may use sandpaper or a scrub pad for these components. Furthermore, clean the burners or heating elements for better efficiency.
2. Reset the Limit Switch or Replace the Thermal Fuse
Ovens with a limit switch won’t heat if this safety fixture is stuck or tripped. Many limit switches have a reset feature, a button that you can press to restore the device. If you cannot reset your limit switch, you need to replace it.
If your oven has a thermal fuse, you’ll need to replace it with a new one. Most thermal fuses don’t have a reset feature. Refer to the oven’s manual to locate the limit switch or thermal fuse.
3. Fix Any Loose Connections and Replace the Bad Wires
This solution applies to the entire electric circuit. Fixing weak or loose wire harnesses is not a challenge. You can simply fit the harnesses snugly. However, if you have any frayed, damaged, or bad wires affecting continuity, you need to replace them.
4. Identify and Replace the Broken Component in the Oven
Several components in gas and electric ovens are irreparable, including:
- Heating element (electric oven)
- Igniter and safety valve (gas oven)
- Temperature sensor and thermostat
You have to replace one or more of these components if they’re broken. Additionally, electronic control boards are also usually irreparable. However, you may consult a trusted technician to find out if a faulty control board is salvageable. Generally speaking, replacing it is a more straightforward solution.
In this article, I took you through some of the most common reasons your oven isn’t heating up, but your stove is working and their respective solutions.
I didn’t mention clogged vents and shorts as possible causes, as both have telltale signs, and an oven may still heat up to an extent if either is the only problem. If you suspect a short, do not operate the oven. Moreover, you should not use the electric stove if the range’s body is shorted due to the oven.
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)