Is your food getting burnt even when you follow the instructions as closely as possible? In that case, there might be an overheating issue with your oven. But how do you know if the overheating is out of the ordinary or part of your oven’s normal operations?
Here’s how to know if your oven is overheating:
- Compare oven chamber temperature with the set temperature.
- Inspect the heating elements.
- Check the thermostat or thermistor.
- Check the heat sensor.
- Make sure the oven fans are working properly.
- Examine the control board.
In this article, I’ll cover each of these points in detail so you can easily figure out whether your oven is overheating. I’ve also expanded on each topic with a quick overview of why the overheating problem occurs and what you can do to fix it.
1. Compare Oven Chamber Temperature With the Set Temperature
The most sure-fire way to tell if your oven is overheating is to directly measure the oven chamber temperature and compare it to the set temperature value.
To do this, you’ll need an oven thermometer with high durability and extreme temperature range. I recommend the Rubbermaid Oven Monitoring Thermometer (available on Amazon).
Once you have your oven thermometer, follow the steps below:
- Place the thermometer inside the oven chamber.
- Set the oven to your desired temperature.
- Wait for 5-10 mins for the oven to heat.
- Check the readings on the thermometer.
If the temperature reading on the thermometer is higher than the set temperature, you know that your oven is overheating.
Most of the time, overheating problems are because of miscalibration issues, especially with newly bought ovens. Thankfully, you can easily fix it by calibrating the oven to the proper temperature settings.
How To Calibrate an Oven
Calibrating an oven to the right temperature settings is a fairly simple process. First, you need to figure out by what temperature the oven is miscalibrated. For example, let’s say you set the oven to heat at 350°F (177°C). However, when you place the thermometer inside the oven chamber, you get a temperature reading of 400°F (204°C). In this instance, the oven is miscalibrated and overheats by a margin of +50°F (10°C).
Once you know by what temperature the oven is overheating, recalibrating it to the correct temperature settings should help fix your problem.
Now, the exact process for calibrating an oven will vary between different makes and models. I’d recommend you refer to the user manual or any other paperwork that came with the device to know how to recalibrate it.
For reference, here’s a 3-minute YouTube video on oven recalibration:
That said, some models don’t have calibration/recalibration functionality, especially the older non-electric ovens. In that case, you’ll need to troubleshoot the device for faulty components that could potentially cause the overheating problem.
2. Inspect the Heating Elements
The heating elements are responsible for generating the heat inside the oven chamber.
The oven cycles the heating elements on and off in a specific sequence to help achieve the desired chamber temperature. However, if the heating elements get short-circuited, it won’t cycle off until you kill the power, leading to overheating.
As such, if you suspect that your oven is overheating, you can check out the heating elements for signs of shorting.
You can often tell that the heating elements are shorted via a visual inspection, as follows:
- Open the back panel covering the ends of the heating elements.
- Check if the elements are directly touching the oven chassis. If yes, the heating elements are shorted, causing overheating problems.
That said, it’s often difficult to determine whether the heating elements are properly seated or displaced and touching the chassis. As such, I’d recommend you perform a continuity test to ensure that the elements are, in fact, short-circuited.
For reference, here’s a 2-minute YouTube video on how to perform a continuity test:
How To Replace Oven Heating Elements
If you find that the oven heating elements have shorted, you’ll need to replace them. But first, you’ll need to find suitable heating elements. For this, you can refer to the paperwork that came with your oven.
Once you have the new heating elements on hand, follow this step-by-step guide:
- Unplug the oven from the power source.
- If the oven is hot, let it cool down to room temperature.
- Remove the back panel covering the ends of the heating elements.
- Disconnect any wires attached to the heating elements.
- Turn to the inside of the oven chamber and unthread the screws on the heating elements.
- Take out the old heating element and put the new one in its place.
- Fasten the screws to hold the heating elements in place.
- Go to the backside, and connect the wires to the ends of the new heating elements.
3. Check the Thermostat or Thermistor
Issues with the oven thermostat or thermistor can also lead to overheating problems.
The component is fitted inside the oven chamber and tasked with measuring and controlling the temperature. As such, if this part is faulty, it could potentially cause overheating.
The most common issue with thermostats and thermistors is they can get covered with grime and oily residues from the food you prepare. If you don’t routinely clean the oven chamber, a coating of grime over the part can interfere with the temperature measurement, resulting in overheating problems.
Thankfully, you can easily resolve this issue by cleaning the oven chamber.
Here’s a 4-minute YouTube video showcasing how to clean an oven:
That said, it’s also possible that the thermostat or thermistor is faulty and has stopped working. To check, run the component through a continuity test. If it’s, in fact, defective, you’ll need to replace it with a new one.
How To Replace The Thermostat or Thermistor
First, you’ll need to figure out whether your oven uses a thermostat or thermistor and then buy a replacement model. I recommend you check the oven’s user manual for this information.
Next, you’ll need to figure out where the thermostat or thermistor is located. It’s generally accessible by removing the top or back panel, but you can also consult the user manual for its exact location.
Then, follow the steps given below:
- Unplug the oven from the power supply.
- Detach any connected wires from the old thermostat or thermistor.
- Unthread any screws holding the part.
- Remove the old part.
- Insert the new thermostat or thermistor in its place.
- Mount it to the oven using the screws.
- Connect the wires to the thermostat or thermistor.
4. Check the Heat Sensor
Many ovens use a heat sensor to detect the temperature inside the oven chamber and then send that information to the control board.
However, if you find that the heat sensor is faulty, it can cause overheating problems in your oven.
For instance, if the heat sensor detects a lower temperature than what’s actually inside the oven chamber, it will signal the control board to raise the temperature and cause overheating. This usually happens when the sensor gets covered with grime and cannot detect the accurate temperature.
Alternatively, if the heat sensor is broken, the oven won’t know the accurate chamber temperature and might keep heating till it overheats. You can easily diagnose this by a visual inspection, although a continuity test will yield more accurate results.
How To Replace the Heat Sensor
First, you’ll need to buy the replacement heat sensor. Again, consult the paperwork that came with your oven.
With the replacement heat sensor in hand, follow the steps below:
- Unplug the oven from the power source.
- Open the back panel covering the oven’s circuitry and locate the backend of the heat sensor.
- Disconnect all attached wires from the sensor.
- Unthread the screws mounting the sensor to the oven. Some models will have mounting screws inside the oven chamber. In that case, you’ll need to unscrew them as well.
- Take out the old and faulty heat sensor.
- Install the new heat sensor in its place.
- Mount it in place using the screws.
- Attach the wires to the sensor.
5. Make Sure the Oven Fans Are Working Properly
Are the oven fans not working properly, or have they stopped working altogether? If yes, this can create overheating issues and cause your food to get charred or burned.
You see, the oven fans generate airflow inside the oven chamber so the heat is properly distributed inside the unit. The fans also play a role in reducing the overall temperature inside the oven.
As such, if the oven fans become faulty, it can create concentrated heat spots inside the oven chamber.
Unfortunately, failing oven fans are rarely fixable. You’re better off replacing them with new ones, which should improve the heat circulation, thereby fixing the overheating problem.
How To Replace Oven Fans
Depending on your oven’s particular make and model, the location and type of fan you’ll need will vary. You can consult the user manual or other paperwork that came with your oven to know what replacement fan to buy.
Once you have the replacement oven fan handy, follow the steps below:
- Unplug the oven from the power source.
- Remove the panel covering the backend of the oven fan.
- Disconnect the wires attached to the fan motor.
- Open the oven chamber and remove the racks to get a clear view of the oven fan.
- Unscrew the fan cover and take it out.
- Remove all the screws that attach the fan to the oven and take it out.
- Install the new replacement fan in its place.
- Reattach the fan cover to the front end of the fan accessible from the oven chamber.
- Connect the wires to the fan motor on the backend.
6. Examine the Control Board
Finally, if you have a faulty control board, that can also cause your oven to overheat.
The control board is like the brain of your oven. It receives information from the thermostat and heat sensor, analyzes it, and then tells the fans and heating elements to function accordingly.
The main job of the control board is to make sure the oven rises to the user set temperature and then maintains it at that level.
Likewise, if the control board becomes faulty, it won’t be able to properly control the various components in your oven, potentially resulting in overheating.
The most common overheating issue with control boards happens when a short circuit damages one or more of the control board components. Other than that, loose wires can also cause problems, potentially leading to overheating.
You can easily check if the control board is alright with a simple visual inspection. Just open the control board panel and look for charred or blackened spots. This usually signals that there’s been a short circuit and you need to replace the board.
That said, loose wires are a much simpler problem to fix where all you need to do is secure them in place.
Other than that, you can also run a continuity test on the various parts of the control board to make sure they’re working properly.
How To Replace the Control Board
Consult the oven user manual to know and buy the appropriate replacement control board. With those in hand, follow the steps below:
- Disconnect the oven from the power source.
- Unscrew the panel covering the circuitry of the control board.
- Take a note of where all the wires go into the control board. I recommend taking a picture.
- Detach all the wires connected to the control board.
- Unthread the screws mounting the control board to the oven.
- Take out the old control board.
- Put the new control board in its place and mount it using the screws.
- Connect all the wires to their appropriate slots. You can consult the picture that I recommended you take earlier.
If the replacement control board doesn’t come with an overlay, you’ll need to use the overlay from the old one. Take a putty knife and gently work around the overlay, applying pressure to pry out the unit. Once it’s out, you can align the overlay on top of the new control board and push it in place.
The best way to know if your oven is overheating is by directly measuring the temperature inside the oven chamber and comparing it to the set temperature. If the oven chamber is at a higher temperature, it’s overheating, and you need to look into it.
Now, if you don’t have an oven thermometer handy, you can test some of the other oven components to see if they’re working correctly. Faulty heating elements, thermostats, heat sensors, oven fans, and control board can all lead to overheating issues.