If you have an electric oven, it likely has two heating elements inside: the broiling element (at the top) and the baking element (at the bottom). These elements usually glow red when they're working properly. If one or both elements fail to change color—and your oven fails to heat up—the elements may be to blame. Fortunately, heating elements are fairly easy to replace. We recommend using only genuine GE Appliances parts. Click here to find your specific part number. If the problem persists after you install a new heating element, you may need a professional to look into a bigger electrical issue.
Nothing causes mealtime chaos like an oven that won't heat up or reach the correct temperature. But what could cause such a fundamental problem for your appliance? Can it be resolved with a quick fix, or is some expert attention required? Let's find out with the four most common causes of cold ovens.
1. DEFECTIVE HEATING ELEMENT(S)
2. FAULTY IGNITOR
If you have a gas oven that won't heat up, there's a good chance the bake ignitor needs to be cleaned, repaired, or replaced. When you turn on the oven, you should hear the ignitor click a few times before the gas ignites inside the oven. If it doesn't, turn off the oven to prevent the spread of gas. Consult the user manual for steps to clean or replace the ignitor. If the range also fails to ignite, the issue may be with the gas supply rather than the ignitors.
3. DAMAGED THERMOSTAT
Your electric oven's thermostat or temperature sensor determines how much power goes to the heating elements. It will cut the power a few degrees above the target temperature, and resume heating a few degrees below the target temperature (this is why your oven temperature fluctuates by a few degrees during the cooking cycle). If the temperature sensor is damaged, it may give false readings—especially if it's now making contact with the oven's interior panel. The result? The oven cuts power to the heating elements long before the target temperature is reached. Use an oven thermometer to confirm your suspicions. Fortunately, an oven temperature sensor can usually be fairly easily replaced.
4. OVEN NEEDS TO BE CALIBRATED
If your oven is not operating at the correct temperature (including running too hot), it could be the case that each component part is working properly but calibration is required. Depending on your model, you may be able to carry out the calibration yourself—usually by turning an adjustment screw underneath the control knobs for manual ranges. For ovens with electronic controls, try pressing the BAKE and BROIL buttons at the same time for 2 seconds until the display shows SF. Pressing BAKE again, then the + or – key allows the oven to be adjusted by up to 35° F each way. Press START to save the adjustment. Again, an oven thermometer can help you determine if your oven is routinely below or above the set temperature.
CAN I FIX MY COLD OVEN MYSELF?
Depending on the nature of the issue, you may be able to get your oven back to its best by simply installing a replacement part. But if you're not sure why your oven is cold—or if you simply want a professional to step in—all you have to do is book an appointment with one of our local specialists. We'll likely be able to get the job done in the first visit.*