Tuesday, January 7, 2014

DIY repairs

Over the Christmas holidays, I noticed a problem with my oven.  It seemed to not be heating properly, as evidenced by a near doubling of cooking times.   Last night it died completely, while trying to bake some french fries for dinner.

Most recently, my mother's 59yr old much-loved oven, gave up the ghost.  She had hoped it was merely the baking element, for which she had a spare, but alas it was the antique thermostat instead.  So far we have not found a replacement part, and most techs look at us like we are crazy to ask!  But I am still hunting for one for her...

Which brings me back to MY problem...I was hoping also that my oven failure was an element.  I got to looking inside the oven after it had gone cold, and noticed the bottom element looked bubbled and 'crunchy'. 

After looking up the model of oven with the help of the barcode scanner on my phone(!) I was able to look at Appliancerepair.com to find the part number I needed.  That website is a wealth of information and instruction on how to do repairs to major appliances yourself.

Being somewhat frugal, and an adherent to Dave Ramsey's ideas, (it helps being of Scots ancestry!), I decided to try to solve the problem myself.  After unplugging the oven, and hauling it away from the wall, I began to remove the suspect element.  By the time I removed the second mounting screw the element had snapped into 3 burned out pieces.  Ah ha!  The police often refer to this as a CLUE!  Yep, bad element.

This morning I began calling around locally to try to find a replacement.  Luckily there was a shop only a few miles off that had one in stock at a fair price.  I popped over there, bought it, and zipped home in the cold. 

The install was just the reverse of the removal.  Slip on the spade connectors, fit the element in place, and reset the two screws.  I plugged in the oven, and turned it onto bake to see if it heated.  YAY!  It promptly heated up to a glowing orange like it should.  What was the hardest part of the whole project?  Shoving the oven around!  All told it took maybe an hour including drive time to and from the parts store.


  1. AWESOME!!!! Great job and it cost a lot less than a new one,...:)JP

  2. I'm Scots-Irish and HATE to spend money. We must be related.

    The solution was element-try, dear Monkeywrangler. [giggle] Good job! I'm going to save that website link. Our appliances are all over 20 years old now. [Shhhh ... Not too loud. Don't want to give them any ideas ... ] ~:)

  3. wowzer!!! you are like your very own super hero. I am SO impressed.

    You, too - Safe & Warm, please!

  4. Well done! The sad thing is some of the newer small appliances are built in a manner that it is impossible to repair (such as a recent failure of an iron) ensuring you have to buy a new one. Give me someone older I can tinker with any day.

  5. A bad element. Probably burned pot pies as a kid. Moved on to underdone pot roast. Then he hit the big time. French Fries. That's the hard stuff right there. Got the ultimate sentence. Gone to that big scrap heap in the sky. Seen it too many times. Never gets any easier.

    It's always the bad element.


  6. I have a 1950's wall oven with burned out contacts on the plug-in elements. I found a potential source of parts, then lost the link. Your post reminded me to try to look them up again.
    These folks may have a NOS replacement thermostat for your mother's oven or be able to rebuild the old one. http://www.antiquestoves.com/toac/index.htm

    I have no experience with them - standard disclaimers apply.

    Jim R


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