The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Is my oven about to die?

AnnieT's picture

Is my oven about to die?

I have just baked a Scali loaf and noticed a very bright light in the base of the oven. There was a red hot area about 2" from where the element plugs in, almost as though something was burning on the element. The stove is a basic Whirlpool that came with the house so it is quite old, and I have been cranking it to 500* pretty often - and hoping that it would last for yet another bake. I know there are mechanically gifted TFL members and wonder if someone can give me some kerbside advice? How difficult is it to change the element if that is the problem? I REALLY don't want to have to replace the stove, A.

mkelly27's picture

It appears from your description that the bottom element on your oven has burned out.  Not to worry, it is very easy and very inexpensive to replace,  Go to an appliance part website, is just one.  Identify your model and look for the appropriate part.  Many of these sites have very helpful troubleshooting tutorials to insure that you are ordering the right part.

  Once the part arrives, unplug your oven!!  before you even consider doing this.  There are 2 small screws at the back of the oven where the element goes into the back of the oven box.  Undo these screws and pull the old element forward into the oven.  It will expose 2 elecrical connectors, simply pull those off and remove the old element.  Then reverse the process to install the new element. 


  I have done this about 6 timesin the last 30 yrs., you will save yourself a lot of money by doing this.  If you are uncomfortable with doing it yourself, seek out a handyman, they will have experience in this procedure as well.  But do order the part yourself, no need to pay for someone's mark-up on a part when you can get it yourself.


I hope this helps,


AnnieT's picture

Hi Mike, and thanks for the speedy reply. It sounds like something my son could easily do - he built their house and just finished building his shop. I am wondering how long I have before it goes kaput because it finished cooking the loaf just fine. I will check out the website you gave me and at least get the part ordered. Thanks again, A.

deblacksmith's picture

If you have a really bright spot, it will not be long before it burns through at that point.  Maybe not another bake even.  Mike's information is very good.  Depending on the town where you live you may also have a local wholesale supply house that carries replacment elements.  They will almost always sell to the public too.  If your son removes the element and has the model number of the oven he could just go there and get the part for about the same price as on line.  I have used both methods to get replacement parts and they both work fine.  We now live in the "woods" about 2 hours from major cities so the internet route for us is much cheaper and faster -- but both work.  The nice thing about the local supply is that you can look at both the old part and the replacement and make sure they are the same.  Sales folks in these outlets can be a lot of help too.


AnnieT's picture

Hi Dave, what a good job I baked a few loaves to freeze this week! I live on Whidbey Island and the nearest big city is Seattle, so I will look in the Yellow Pages for a wholesale supply house. I don't drive much over there and wouldn't you know, my son is on vacation in Oregon, so the internet will probably be faster. Darn, and I was planning Fish Pie for the grandgirls and the other grandparents tomorrow night. Back to pasta! Yes, it is a really bright spot, doesn't look hopeful. Better than buying a new stove though. Thanks to you and Mike, A.

mrfrost's picture

My GE oven element was less than $22 shipped(no bidding), brand new, from a supplier on ebay. It was $35 + tax, plus quite a drive locally. This was this past April.

As has probably been stated, the drawbacks to buying online are: you have to be certain about the part, and loss of shipping charges if part has to be returned.

I second(third?) that your element is definitely about to burn out. When it does(real soon), the oven will generate no heat at all(from the burned element).

Try An ebay store in PA. No bidding, just buy it now sales. I ordered on tues. and part arrived(to GA) Thursday via ups. Of course it will take a day or two longer to arrive to the NW.