Few things are more frustrating for the home cook than having food turn out unexpectedly bad. Burnt edges, raw centers, undercooked meats and uneven browning can ruin a meal that took precious time to prepare.
Signs Your Gas Oven is Not Heating Properly
Anyone can have an off day, but if these problems are consistent, they can leave you wondering if there is a bigger problem. If you’ve been using the same gas oven successfully for months or years and suddenly experience cooking difficulties, your oven’s failing heating element, digital controls or other components could be to blame. Here are five signs that can help you recognize uneven or inconsistent heating.
One or Both Elements Don’t Produce Heat
It seems like an obvious problem, but anyone can get in a hurry and not realize that one of the heating elements in your oven is not igniting. If your food isn’t turning out as expected, check to be sure that both your broil and bake elements actually heat up when you turn on the oven.
If your broiler and burners are working, but your oven isn’t heating up, you might have a faulty igniter, which is the most common reason ovens fail. When this happens, you may hear a clicking sound as the oven attempts to light. After a few clicks, if the igniter isn’t working properly, you might smell natural gas as it escapes, at which point you should turn off the oven and contact an appliance repair company.
Older ovens typically have heat resistance igniters that need to be replaced or repaired, which newer models have spark igniters. If your problem isn’t with your igniter, you may need to replace your stove’s main valve or check for bad wiring, loose electrical connections or bad relays.
Food Cooks Unevenly When Following Exact Directions
You may instinctively know when your oven is misbehaving, but if you don’t trust your own intuition, you can test the appliance by preparing canned biscuits, frozen dinners or pizzas following the package directions. If your food turns out unevenly browned or burned in some areas and undercooked in others, your heating elements or controls may not be functioning properly. You can also put an oven-safe thermometer inside while you are preheating to see if the temperatures match up. Be sure you don’t serve any undercooked foods; this can sometimes lead to bacterial food poisoning.
Gas ovens do sometimes have hot spots, so if your problem is relatively minor, you can also try to rotate the trays once or twice during cooking to help ensure your dishes bake as evenly as possible.
Slow Preheat Times
Every oven is different, and preheat times aren’t uniform across brands, but if you notice that your oven is taking longer to preheat than it used to, it could indicate a problem. Your oven may take up to 15 minutes to heat to reach the desired temperature. One issue your oven may be having is that your temperature sensor may have worn out. To check your sensor, look inside your oven to see if it is touching the wall of the oven. If so, reposition it.
Some ovens have a temperature-sensing bulb instead of a sensor. In these units, a burned-out or loose bulb can be the culprit if you are experiencing uneven cooking. In some cases, an oven can be slow to reheat because it needs to be recalibrated.
Element Appearance Flaws
If something looks amiss on your oven, it may be the reason your oven isn’t heating properly. Inspect your upper and lower heating elements for signs of damage, which include discoloration, splitting, bubbling and blistering. Flames on your range should be blue and not yellow or orange. Any color flame other than blue is a warning sign that the gas in your oven is not burning properly.
Your gas line could have a leak if you turn up a burner and can only get a low flame. If you smell gas anywhere in your home, leave immediately, making sure not to operate any electrical appliances or turn any switches on your way out. Once you have left, call 911 and your utility company to investigate the problem.
Digital Alarm or Timer Fails
In cooking, timing is important, and this applies to the oven, as well as the cook. If your digital controls let you down by not sounding an alarm or shutting down before a timed cycle completes, it can be impossible to properly cook some foods.
Trust ABC To Get Your Appliance Working Again
Fixing your own appliance involves dealing with electricity and natural gas, both which can be very dangerous if you don’t know what you are doing. From 2006 to 2008, appliance fires were linked to over 150,000 residential fires, which led to 150 deaths and over $500 million in property damage. Avoid the risks and the hassle of your appliance not working by trusting the experts at ABC Home & Commercial Services to quickly diagnose any problem you are having and make any necessary repairs so you can get back to enjoying your home.