When Your Electric Cooktop Doesn’t Work

Discovering that your electric cooktop or range isn’t heating can be a frustrating start to meal preparation. Before you consider whether to call in a professional, let’s explore some basic insights that might help you understand the situation better. Issues with gas cooktops or ranges have different causes and solutions, which we’ll address in a separate article.

The aim of this article is to provide you with enough information to decide whether professional help is necessary.

Common Causes of Heating Issues

For many, the kitchen is the heart of the home, and when an electric range or cooktop stops working correctly, it can feel like the heartbeat has skipped. Typically, the culprit falls into one of a few categories:

  1. Faulty Element: Over time, the elements on your electric cooktop can wear out or become damaged, leading to inconsistent or no heating. A visual inspection might reveal blistering or breaks. Glass cooktops actually have elements just below the glass, so it will be difficult to see them clearly.
  2. Faulty Switch: The switch that turns your element on and off can fail, preventing the element from heating. If one element isn’t heating, but others are, this could be the issue. Faulty switches can also cause an element to heat but not regulate temperature based on your setting.
  3. Faulty Control Board: Modern electric ranges and cooktops rely on control boards for operation. A malfunction here can disrupt the heating function across the appliance. If multiple issues begin around the same time, there’s a good chance it’s the control board.
  4. Other causes:Electrical testing is required to be certain of the root cause and correct repair no matter how obvious the issue is. For example, it may be easy to see an element is broken, but without testing, you won’t know if the switch, control board, safety shutoff, wiring, or other component has also failed. Furthermore, the root cause of the element’s failure could be hidden as well.

Observation is Key

Without diving into the toolbox, there are a few simple observations you can make. The first priority is to confirm whether you actually have a problem or not! Read the Owner’s Manual to make sure you are using it correctly, including any safety features, especially if you most recently owned a gas cooktop. Electric cooktops are designed to turn on and off intermittently to achieve the desired temperature, and do not stay red hot constantly even on the highest setting.

If your range or cooktop has indicator lights or digital displays, check to see if these respond when you try to turn on an element. Digital displays may show an error code, which can be useful in tracking down the problem. A lack of response could hint at where the problem lies but remember, diagnosing electrical issues safely is best left to professionals.

Safety First

Your safety is paramount. Avoid the temptation to dismantle any part of your appliance. Electric cooktops and ranges involve high voltages that can pose serious risks. Ensure everything is fully assembled and connected before turning it on for any reason. If in doubt, it’s time to call in the experts.

When to Call a Professional

If after a basic check you’re still unsure or if the appliance clearly isn’t working, it’s time to seek professional help. At Appliance Professional, we’re here to support homeowners throughout Columbia, Lexington, and the entire Midlands area. Our team of skilled technicians can swiftly diagnose and repair issues with your electric cooktop or range, ensuring your kitchen’s heartbeat is restored.