Broken Heating Element In Oven – Is It Dangerous To Run It?

Broken Element on Oven

Last Updated on August 7, 2023 By Emma W. Thomas

Yes, it is dangerous to run an oven with a broken heating element. A malfunctioning element can cause electrical issues, sparks, or fires. It’s essential to have the heating element replaced by a professional before using the oven again.

Why Should We Not Use An Oven With A Broken Heating Element?

The heating element is nothing more than a piece of wire with an insulating cover and an external metal shell. If the outer covering has come off somehow, it can easily become a hazard. If water comes in contact with the open wire, it can electrocute anyone who touches it unknowingly while powered. 

If the element has cracked and bent towards the metal walls of your oven, do not use it. A cracked element can create a spark between itself and the oven walls. It can then blow fuses and trip circuit breakers. In case the bottom element is disfigured, rest assured the oven won’t work properly. 

Ovens usually depend on air convection. But hot air will rise, and the sole source of heat will be the broiler element. So the inside of the oven will be of uneven temperature. As a result, the top of foods will burn while the bottom will stay cold. The food will also not be cooked properly and may cause sickness or, even worse, food poisoning.

What Causes an Oven’s Heating Element to Break?

An oven’s heating element can break due to various factors, ranging from normal wear and tear to specific malfunctions. Here are the common causes of a heating element breaking:

  1. Normal Wear and Tear: Over time, heating elements can weaken and degrade from repeated heating and cooling cycles during oven use. This is a natural aging process that eventually leads to failure.
  2. Physical Damage: Accidental impacts or mishandling can cause the heating element to break or develop cracks, disrupting its ability to generate heat effectively.
  3. Electrical Surges: Power fluctuations or electrical surges can damage the heating element and other electrical components of the oven, leading to its failure.
  4. Overheating: If the oven is used at extremely high temperatures or for extended periods beyond its recommended limits, the heating element can overheat and burn out.
  5. Poor Maintenance: Lack of regular oven maintenance, such as cleaning accumulated debris and residue on the heating element, can lead to its deterioration and eventual failure.
  6. Moisture and Corrosion: Exposure to moisture or corrosive substances can cause rust or damage to the heating element, affecting its functionality.
  7. Manufacturing Defects: In some cases, a heating element might have inherent flaws due to manufacturing defects, leading to early failure.
  8. Improper Installation: If the heating element is not installed correctly, it may not function optimally, resulting in premature wear and eventual breakage.
  9. Incompatible Cookware: Using cookware with rough or uneven surfaces can cause scratches or damage to the heating element, impacting its performance.
  10. Poor Quality or Counterfeit Parts: Using low-quality or counterfeit heating elements may compromise their durability and performance, leading to faster failure.

How To Tell If An Oven’s Heating Element Is Broken?

Let’s be real; your oven’s heating element is not going to last forever. On average, an oven’s heating element can last for several years if handled properly. If the heating element of the oven fractures, your oven is as useful as a chocolate teapot. So if your oven is not working properly or has stopped working completely, the problem might be a broken element. But the question is how to tell if it’s the element that is causing the trouble. Here are some effective ways to identify a broken element. 

  • The heating element of your oven should be bright orange when it reaches its maximum heating capacity. In 10 minutes or so, it should be about 350 degrees. It is a sign of it’s working properly. If it is not bright orange, there is definitely something wrong with its element. It indicates that the element is burned out and needs a replacement.
  • If the element has burns, cracks, or blisters on it, it needs to go. Remove the element to have a closer look.
  • If your food stays raw after cooking, it could be because of a faulty heating element. However, it could also mean that the temperature sensor probe is not working properly and needs a replacement.
  • An unexpected rise in your electricity bill could be a red signal. It could be due to a faulty door gasket. But it could also happen due to a damaged heating element. The heating element might be on its last legs and could overheat as well as underheat. However, an unforeseen increase in your electricity bill (for 2 bedroom house) could be due to anything that uses electricity. So make sure that you call an electrician or stove repairs service to verify your doubts. 

How To Replace The Broken Element In An Oven?

In case your oven’s heating element breaks, the element itself is not usually fixable. However, you can replace it with a new one. Replacing the broken heating element is not very difficult. To make sure that it is the element that is at fault, you need to run a multimeter test. In that case, you should go to the store and buy a new one. After getting a new element, shut the breaker off. Remove the screws and pull it forward. Then remove the wires and attach them again to the new heating element. Then mount the breaker in exactly like before.

Which Heating Element Should I Buy?

While there are a plethora of heating elements available in the market, you should know which one should you buy. Among them is Bake Element GE WB44K10005, Frigidaire Range Baking Element 316075103, and PRYSM Bake Element 316075104. Now let us see them in a comparative light.

Bake Element GE WB44K10005Frigidaire Range Baking Element 316075103PRYSM Bake Element 316075104
GE WB44K10005 fits and works with all ovens, no matter the brand. Easy to install.Frigidaire Baking Element 316075103 works best with Frigidaire, Kenmore, Tappan, and Crosley. It only has two screws and two wires, so the installation process is pretty easy.It also works with almost all major brands. Plus, it is super easy to install.
It is available at an affordable price of $22.41This element is the cheapest among the three. It costs around $17-18PRYSM costs around $23
Despite its good performance, it does not last very long.It doesn’t have any major flaws. Plus, it can last for a long time and performs very well.Although it lasts longer than an average GE element, it sometimes suffers from uneven heating.

From the above comparison, we can comprehend the pros and cons of various elements. So, if you want a cheap element without compromising quality and performance, Frigidaire is your best bet.

What Is The Cost Of Replacing The Heating Element In An Oven?

The work required to fix an electric oven is usually a lot more limited than a traditional gas unit. Mostly, the technicians only need to replace the damaged part to get the job done. If the faulty heating element is the root of all evil, you should replace it. Heating elements usually cost only between $20 to $25. Including labor charges, you can expect to pay around $220 to replace the damaged element.

Bottom Line

In case your oven’s heating element breaks, immediately stop using it. Do not hesitate to go to the store and buy a new element as soon as possible. A broken element can be problematic and even fatal if left that way. So don’t put yourself and your loved ones in danger by using an oven with a broken element. Be responsible and replace the damaged element with a new one.