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General Introduction to Ranges, Ovens and Cooktops

Electric ranges, ovens and cooktops come in a variety of styles but the basic components are similar on most units. While you may be able to successfully handle a number of repairs yourself, others should be left to professionals.

Ranges feature cooking surfaces or flat heating elements on the top of the unit with an oven underneath that usually has a broiler feature. Ovens and broilers require that the oven selector switch AND the temperature control are both set. Cooktops are cooking surfaces without ovens and are usually installed directly onto counter tops. Radiant heat cooktops are a newer form of heating and are normally a radiant heating element under a glass composite top. Built-in ovens are usually wall mounted and may offer double ovens or oven and microwave combinations.

Most ranges, ovens and cooktops use both 220 volts for creating controlled heat, and 110 volts for the control accessories, such as timers and lights. Bachelor size ovens are available that use only 110 volts.Working with 220 volts is dangerous, and can be deadly - make sure you follow all safety precautions. If you have a pacemaker, epilepsy, or any other medical condition that you should not be exposed to a 220 volt shock, we strongly recommend that you do not proceed with repairs to any appliance that uses 220 volts.

Some electrical knowledge is required to do your own repairs - please look over our Basic Electrical Safety Precautions and Procedures (link to i-3-01-Basic Electrical Safety and Theory.doc) section to make sure you have the required knowledge before you begin. Be sure to have the proper tools handy and remember, when working with any type of appliance: Safety Must Come First.

REMEMBER: a. Use your owner's manual when installing or trouble shooting the unit. b. Do not overlook simple solutions:

  • Is the unit plugged in?
  • Is power coming to the unit? See Testing for Power
  • Are your oven shelves or floor lined with aluminum foil? (Aluminum foil can affect the airflow within the oven and decrease the cooking efficiency)
  • Are the controls set correctly? In order to work your oven and broiler it is necessary to set the oven selector switch AND to set the temperature.