problem solving cookers & ovens

Why isn’t My Oven Fan Working? Try our Troubleshooting Guide

Why isn’t My Oven Fan Working? Try our Troubleshooting Guide

An oven that’s not heating correctly is one of the most common problems that our engineers are called to resolve. When you switch on your oven, it’s fan evenly distributes the heat generated by the element. A fault in either the fan or the element will prevent your oven from heating effectively. There could be other minor faults as well.

Let’s look at this problem in more detail.

Faulty oven fan element:

If the oven is blowing cold air (which means the fan is working), and the oven thermostat light is on, then the element surrounding the fan could be damaged.

Ask a technician to unplug the appliance and remove the back panel inside the oven. This will expose the oven fan and element. On close inspection if the element appears burnt in some places, then the  appliance technician will almost certainly need to replace that part.

Note, sometimes the damage to the element is not visible, but it could be broken inside the element casing. Your appliance technician will need to confirm this. Replacing the oven element will cost you in the region of £75 – £125.

Faulty oven fan motor:

There could be a problem with the oven fan motor if:

  • the oven fan appears noisy or works more slowly than usual
  • the oven light is on and the element gets hot, but the heating is ineffective

With the oven turned off and unplugged, the technician will remove the inside panel and give the oven fan a turn by hand. If it appears stiff then the fan motor is faulty and needs replacement.

The technician is also likely to:

  • Check if a fan blade has come loose, which may be causing the fan to become ineffective and make strange sounds.
  • Check if the oven fan is covered with grease and muck from cooking. Giving the oven fan a good cleaning may solve the problem.

Incorrect oven setting:

If neither the fan nor the heating is working, the oven may have been set in ‘auto’ mode. Reset the oven to ‘manual’ mode. Your oven should start working now. Refer to your user manual for more details.

Faulty oven thermostat:

Finally, if the oven fan is not working and there is no light in the oven, then there could be a problem with the oven thermostat.

Call an appliance engineer to handle replacement of any part in the oven.

Please remember:

Appliances should be serviced regularly according to the manufacturer’s instructions – found in the product manual. If you have a problem with an appliance, call in a NICEIC or Gas-Safe registered appliance engineer to repair your appliance. Don’t forget that if your appliance is not working optimally, you should also have it serviced to prevent causing damage to the appliance.

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Posted by Surewise in Appliance Insurance Articles

Discover 10 Reasons Why Your Oven is Overheating

Discover 10 Reasons Why Your Oven is Overheating

Most ovens have traditional thermostats that control the temperature of the oven.  If your oven is overheating on the outside and burning food, the most probable explanation is a faulty thermostat.

However, there are a few other possible causes why your oven is overheating.

Let’s take a look at 10 of the most common reasons for the problem.

  1. Thermostat knob:  A faulty thermostat knob will result in an inaccurate temperature setting in the oven.  The knob should be securely attached. A technician can also recalibrate the knob.
  2. Thermostat-sensing bulb: Conventional ovens have a thermostat-sensing bulb usually at back left side or the rear. If the bulb has come loose from the holder or is damaged, the thermostat will malfunction and overheat the oven.
  3. Grime: Sometimes the thermostat can malfunction because it is covered with food and grime. Removing the thermostat and cleaning it may just solve the overheating problem.
  4. Oven-vent: Blockages in the oven vent is another common problem.
  5. Control panel: Some ovens have an electronic control panel. A power outage can cause a glitch in the control panel. To resolve this, an engineer can reset the circuit breaker and unplug the oven for a few minutes before turning it on again.
  6. Thermostat: Test the temperature of the oven using a heat resistant oven thermometer. If the oven temperature is higher than the level set, then most likely the thermostat needs replacement.
  7. Heating elements: The oven can also overheat if there is a malfunction with it’s heating element. The technician will check for any damage to the element or if the element has come loose.  The outer casing of the element could hide damage to the element.
  8. Temperature sensor: Electrical ovens have a temperature sensor that ensures that the oven functions at the correct temperature. This is a long thin tube like part located usually in the top rear of the oven. A problem with the sensor can cause the oven to overheat.
  9. Selector switch: The selector switch in the oven acts as a communication device between the thermostat and the heating elements. It receives the temperature signal from the thermostat and regulates the heating elements. If the selector switch has a short, it may signal a lower than actual temperature, causing the heating elements to overheat the oven.
  10. Oven fan: If the oven fan is not working at the correct speed, the oven will overheat. To know more, read our ‘Oven Fan not Working Troubleshooting Guide ’.

For safety’s sake

Don’t meddle with the wires and whatnot in your oven to try fix the problem yourself. Rather call Surewise.com, report that your oven is overheating, and let them arrange for an engineer to fix the problem for you. If you meddle on your own, you are likely to violate the terms of your insurance policy.

Please remember:

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding servicing your appliances. You’ll find this in the product manual. If you have a problem with an appliance, call in a NICEIC or Gas-Safe registered appliance engineer to repair your appliance. Don’t forget that if your appliance is not working optimally, you should also have it serviced to prevent causing damage to the appliance.

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Posted by Surewise in Appliance Insurance Articles

8 Common Hob Problems & Repairs

8 Common Hob Problems & Repairs

Most of your cooking is done on a hob (either gas or electric), so it can be very inconvenient when they start giving you problems. There are several different types of hobs that have different features and functions. Knowing what type of hob you’re using will help you narrow down the potential cause of the fault.

Let’s take a look at eight of the most common hob malfunctions, so that when you have to call an engineer, you can properly explain what the problem is.

Problem 1: Erratic flames in the gas cooker

Gas hobs should give off stable blue flames if the burner is operating correctly. If the flames from your gas cooker look yellow or uneven, or if the flames look smaller than usual, this indicates that there is debris in the gas burners or jets.

A technician should remove the burner assembly and inspect for blockages around the jet and the burner head. They should then clean these parts thoroughly with water and remove the grime.

Do not attempt to clean the blockages with harsh chemicals or wires as you may enlarge the burner holes and worsen the problem.

Problem 2: Gas leak from a gas hob

If you have a gas cooker you should install a natural gas detector or a carbon monoxide detector that will sound an alarm if gas levels exceed their safety threshold. A slight whiff of gas is common from gas cookers, but if the smell of gas is stronger than normal, you may have a gas leak somewhere in the hob. Open your windows and doors to let air in and turn off the gas hob. Do not turn on any lights or light a match if the smell of gas persists in the kitchen. Call the gas agency immediately and do not attempt to fix the problem yourself.

Problem 3: Ignition not working

If the burners aren’t working it could be due to a fault in the igniter, the burner or the electronic ignition system. To find out more about this problem, read our Cooker Ignition Not Working – Troubleshoot Guide.

Problem 4: Turning on an electric hob trips the electricity

If turning on the electric hob causes your electric system to trip, you can unplug any other appliances on the same circuit and reset the fuse box. Turn on the cooker and try again. If the electrics trip again, you may need to have a technician replace the faulty hob.

There could also be a problem either with the circuit, the oven power plug or the oven itself.

Problem 5: Cooking plate of electric hob not heating up

If one of the cooking plates of your electric hob is not heating up, the cooking plate element may be faulty and you’ll need to call the appliance technician for a replacement.

Tip: You could also experience problems with the cooking plates if you use pans with uneven bases, so replace old dented pans with new ones.

Problem 6: Heating problems with an induction hob

Induction hobs are a little different from other electric hobs in that they transfer heat via magnetism. This enhances their efficiency and makes them safer to use, but it means that only pans made from ferrous material will work on them (ferrous means the material includes iron).

To check if your pan is composed of ferrous material, hold a fridge magnet to its bottom and see if it sticks. If it does, it will work on an induction hob. If your pan or pot is composed of ferrous material but the heating still doesn’t work, then the issue is with the hob itself and cooker repairs may be required.

Problem 7: Unable to adjust heat

If a burner turns on but the heat level can’t be adjusted (for example, it stays at high temperature as long as it is switched on, no matter what you do with the settings), it could be the result of a faulty ignition switch. To determine if the problem is with the switch itself, turn off all switches, unplug the burner and fit it into a different receptacle. Turn on the cooker and try adjusting the switch on that burner to see if it works. Any faulty switches should be replaced.

Problem 8: An ‘E’ symbol keeps flashing on the hob controls

The ‘E’ symbol indicates that a switch is being continually pressed. You could try cleaning the hob to remove any dirt that might be causing the error. Note, however, that cleaning might also cause the issue if any areas of the hob are still wet, so try using a hairdryer to get rid of any damp.

If none of these tips work, try rebooting the power switch for the hob. If you still have a problem, you may need to have the touch board replaced. You can call a technician to install a replacement touch board, or do so yourself if you’re confident in your ability to repair electronic devices.

Types of hobs

Now let’s take a quick look at some of the different types of hobs and the problems you’re most likely to experience.

Gas hobs

Gas hobs provide an even distribution of heat immediately. They come in two types: Standing pilot and electric ignition. Common problems with both include gas cooker rings not igniting, in which case it’s probably caused by debris, either from food or fibres from your cleaning cloth. You will have to remove the burner cap and wipe the rings clean. Use a special cloth that is not going to leave fibres or lint behind.

Make sure you dry the rings and hob properly when you clean it because any remaining moisture could cause incessant clicking when you switch it on. If the clicking persists you might need to replace the switch under the relevant knob.

Gas-on-glass hobs

These hobs have gas burners mounted on top of ceramic glass, which adds to their style and makes them easier to clean. They take longer to provide heat but they are also more precise. Unfortunately, the spiffing ceramic glass is easily stained, so you will have to use a special cream-based hob cleaner. The glass can also be pock-marked or even cracked by hot oil splashing or sugar spills or when food boils over.

Ceramic hobs

These hobs are very elegant and very easy to clean. They are electric hobs, so they have an extra element of safety if you have young children. They heat quickly and modern hobs come with touch controls. However, common problems include being cracked and broken by dropped lids or even pots and the surface is easily scratched. They are currently quite expensive to repair (if you don’t have an extended warranty) and you have to invest in special cleaners so you don’t damage the surface with anything abrasive. You may also have to buy new cookware because they don’t work with glass or copper-bottomed pots and pans.

Induction hobs

Induction hobs are gaining in popularity because they are energy-efficient and cost-effective. The downside is that, like ceramic hobs, they require special posts and pans with ferrous metal bases. It’s ok if your hob makes low-level whirring noise because it’s just the induction fan working as it should. Note, however, that repairs can be expensive.

Electric hobs

Electric hobs are usually the most affordable option. The most common problems are related to faulty switches and elements. The signs are difficulty regulating temperature, plates not switching on and tripping the electrics when you switch the hob on.

Please remember:

Appliances should be serviced regularly according to the manufacturer’s instructions, which you can found in the product manual. If you have a problem with an appliance, call an NICEIC or Gas-Safe registered appliance engineer to repair your appliance. Don’t forget that if your appliance is not working optimally, you should also have it serviced to prevent further damage.

Posted by Surewise in Appliance Insurance Articles

3 Reasons Why Your Oven Keeps Tripping Electrics

3 Reasons Why Your Oven Keeps Tripping Electrics

It’s a Sunday and you’ve planned to cook the perfect roast for the family, but as soon as you switch on the electric oven, it trips all the electrics in the house. You curse and reset the fuse box before turning on the oven again; only for the same thing to happen. Now you’re worried. After all, Sunday roast only comes once a week.

If the electric system keeps tripping, it could be due to one of numerous problems. As a general rule, if the trip occurs whenever an electric oven is switched on, then it’s usually a problem with the circuit or the wiring. If it occurs when a specific function on the oven is used however, then it may be because a component linked to that function is faulty.

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There are a number of checks your technician can perform to narrow down the potential cause of the trip. Here are a few examples:

1) Problem with the circuit

The technician will check for a circuit overload. As a first step, they will look to see if there are multiple appliances connected to the same circuit as the electric oven. If that is the case, then unplug the other appliances and switch on the oven again. It should no longer trip. You may then have to upgrade the over circuit to increase capacity or add the appliances to a different circuit – there is usually a separate circuit for ‘Plugs’.

If there are no other appliances connected on the same circuit, they are likely to perform the following checks:

  • Using a clamp-on ampmeter, they will measure the current power load on the circuit when the oven is on. If the load is to great for the circuit, you will have to upgrade.
  • Electricity could also be tripping if there is a faulty circuit breaker or a problem with the wiring in the circuit. Have a qualified electrician check for any damage in the insulation of the circuit wires. For the electrician to test the circuit breaker, he could swap it with a breaker of the same rating from another working circuit.

2) Problem with the oven power plug/wiring

A technician can measure the current when the oven is off. This should normally read zero. If the current is > 0.3A, then the oven wire could be damaged. After unplugging the appliance a technician can inspect the power plug for any soot or damaged wiring.

Some manufacturers equip ovens with terminal blocks designed to be used across Europe. In order for these to be compatible with UK circuits, the links need to be positioned in the correct way. So if you’ve recently purchased the oven, check the user manual for Instructions on how to correctly position the links.

If it’s an older product, however, check to ensure that the terminal block is still in workable condition. Terminal blocks tend to deteriorate over time, in which case it will need to be replaced; be sure to seek advice from a technician as to which would be the correct model to purchase.

3) Problem with the oven components

To check if there is a problem with the electric oven itself, ensure that no other appliances are connected on the same circuit. Turn on the oven at a low temperature. If the electricity doesn’t trip immediately, this confirms that there is no short in the fuse into which it is plugged.

Now raise the temperature of the oven. If the electricity trips when it reaches a higher temperature, there is most likely a problem with one of the heating elements. You need a new element to solve the fault. Call out an appliance technician to replace it for you.

Other components that could potentially cause your electrics to trip include:

  • Selector switch (used to change oven functions)
  • Fans
  • Thermostats
  • Internal lamp

Through a process of elimination you can determine the general area in which the fault is occurring, by selecting certain functions to see whether the oven only trips when those functions are being used.

There are also certain tools designed to measure components in ovens to see if they are working correctly. You can find detailed information on how to test the thermostat on UK Whitegoods, for example. However, it’s recommended you seek the assistance of a technician if you are not trained to work with electronics.

Electricity tripping can be due to a short circuit at any place in your home. If a household appliance trips more than once or twice, you must contact a qualified electrician to look at the problem.

Please remember:

Appliances should be serviced regularly according to the manufacturer’s instructions, which are detailed in the product manual. If you have a problem with an appliance, call an NICEIC or Gas-Safe registered appliance engineer to repair your appliance. Don’t forget that if your appliance is not working optimally, you should also have it serviced to prevent it from seriously damaging the appliance.

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Posted by Surewise in Appliance Insurance Articles

Cooker Ignition Not Working – Troubleshooting Guide

Cooker Ignition Not Working – Troubleshooting Guide

If you take good care of your appliances, checking for problems regularly and cleaning them properly, chances are that they will last longer and save you money in the long-run. To take proper care of your cooker (and other appliances) it’s a good idea to learn a little bit about the workings and possible problems that can crop up. This means you can carry out some quick DIY if the problem is a simple one and you’ll save money by not having to call out the technician something annoying goes wrong.  After all, good maintenance is always preferable over costly repairs.

Some of the most common problems cookers relate to ignition issues, simply because igniters are used so frequently.

Generally, gas ranges these days have one of 3 basic ignition systems:

  • Pilot ignition: It’s a mechanical system that needs to be lit manually.
  • Hot surface ignition: It’s an electronic system with a glow bar or glow coil – aka an ignitor.
  • Spark ignition: It’s an electronic system and often cookers with this type of ignition have different systems on the oven and the range.

There is an older style (early to mid-1970s) electronic ignition system that can also still be found in some cookers: The ‘constant’ pilot electronic system. However, chances are that your cooker has a much more modern ignition system, unless you’re cooking with a family heirloom.

Obviously, the exact problems differ from cooker to cooker, but there are some commonalities that apply to malfunctioning ignitions.

Remember: If you have to call a technician, ensure they’re Gas-Safe registered.

If you want to try a DIY solution – only if you are confident in your abilities, because if you tinker and make things worse it could affect the validity of your claim – then you can try some of the following trouble-shooting tips.

Check the burners

Turn off all the burner dials and switch off the main gas supply. Lift the hinged top of the and check to see whether there are bits of food clogged around the ignition. If you see a build-up of grime and food, clean the burners by wiping them down gently with a soft damp cloth. Use a magnifying glass and needle to clear as much of the muck between the igniter and gas supply as possible.

Is the burner clogged up with grime from the metallic tubes?  Clean tubes, holes and valves carefully with a damp cloth rinsed in vinegar.  Turn on the gas supply and test again.

These are both delicate jobs, so if you aren’t comfortable, call in a Gas-Safe technician.

Note: If you have problems with one burner, another might be about to give notice. It’s a good idea to check them all just to be sure.

Gas supply

If this doesn’t do the trick, try checking your gas supply line and check the oven’s system. If your stove-top ignition system is working, but there’s a problem with the oven’s system then you don’t have a gas supply line issue but a problem with the oven’s system. Take a look at your gas levels in the gas tank to make sure the tank isn’t empty.  Double check the valves by turning to them on, if there’s no gas they won’t light.

Electronic ignition system

If you still have no luck in getting your cooker to work, try testing the electronic ignition system. If there’s no spark when you switch on the burner, there might be a problem with the electric circuitry. Check that all the plugs are plugged in and the electricity is on. If it trips there’s a problem in the circuit breaker. Switch off the current and check for loose wires between the igniter and the burner assembly. If there’s still a problem with the ignition system, it could be the igniter switch, in which case it’s time to call the Gas-Safe Technician.

Problems with the igniter

Check the igniter for sparks. Turn the gas off and try the ignition button on your stove. You should hear the ‘clicking’ sound, check whether there are sparks, if not then it’s time for a new igniter. The igniter could also be clogged with dirt. Clean the igniter with a toothbrush to remove dirt and debris. Gently scrub the surface of the igniter with the toothbrush and softly blow on it when you’re done cleaning. The igniter is located in different places in different cookers, but generally you can find it near the burners for the oven. You may need to remove the bottom oven cover to expose the igniter.

Calling a technician

When you do call in a Gas-safe registered technician, explain the steps you’ve been through. The technician might repeat them to double check the problem, but at least they will know that what’s been tried and where the potential problem could be.

Please remember:

Appliances should be serviced regularly according to the manufacturer’s instructions, which are in the product manual. If you have a problem with an appliance, call in a NICEIC or Gas-Safe registered appliance engineer to repair your appliance. Don’t forget that if your appliance is not working optimally, you should also have it serviced to prevent further damage.

Posted by Surewise in Appliance Insurance Articles