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Oven problems caused by steaming or local conditions

Aprea's picture

Oven problems caused by steaming or local conditions

Up until now, after 7 years I have loved my Frigidaire double convection oven made by Electrolux.  It browns a roast, cookies and bread beautifully.

However this summer, I am experiencing expensive breakdowns of the electrical relay boards.  Is this common?  My repairman says that it is common in this area to experience this because of all of the oak trees mingling with the powerlines.  I live in Florida - and we do have electrical power surges due to all of the high air condition needs, thunderstorms, etc.

I am afraid to ask if it has something to do with me using steam....   I use a roasting pan filled with barbeque stones.  I have never really needed the oven in the summer before, other than for roast potatoes or birthday cakes - as we almost always grill, stir fry or pasta for meals.


Do any of you electrical buffs have any opinion on the use of steam/water in the oven causing relay board problems?










drhowarddrfine's picture

Is your TV breaking down, too? How about your dishwasher? Are your neighbors experiencing the same thing?

No, this guy is feeding you a line.

Yerffej's picture

I would guess (guess is a key word here) that steam in the oven would not affect oven control circuitry.  If you use an oven it is going to generate steam with or without additional steam added by the user.  In my experience most modern appliances fall way short of "built to last".



flournwater's picture

The suggestions offered here are not intended to be instructive.  On the contrary, they are intended to be informative only.  Make certain any work done to examine and/or repair your household electrical circuits is performed by a qualified licensed electrical contractor.  Don't try to do these things yourself.  Electricity is invisible and can kill you without warning.

Your service rep. may indeed be feeding you a line.  But don't rush to judgment quite yet.  Modern electrical relay boards use solid state switching circuits, rather than mechanical relays, to control power distribution in appliances.

Power surges, or other instability in power circuits, can affect appliances (refrigerators, ranges, televisions, etc.) differently.  Your local power company has equipment that they can attach to the power input on your home (often referred to as power quality analyzers) that can record power fluctuations in your home over a period of time.  In your place, I'd contact them and have that checked.

If your main power is found to be stable, you may need to have a qualified/licensed electrician look at the electrical circuits in your home.  Lose connections in the power or grounding/common circuits, and it doesn't take much, that serve your stove can also contribute to power fuctuations and it would also be worth your while have the electrician check for a faulty circuit breaker that has lost some of it's tension on the electric range's phased input in your sub-panel or (if no sub-panel is installed) the main panel to your home.  Making sure the connections in your panels are tight (they can loosen up over time) would be another thing to ask your electrician to check.

Is your home wired with copper or aluminum wire.  Aluminum wire isn't used as widely as it once was (which was a bad idea to begin with) but depending on the age of your home it's a possibility.  Aluminum connections corrode, espcailly if they aren't protected with an anti-corrosion chemical  Corrosion sets up resistance and tends to overheat circuits.  If your home is wired with copper wire, you probably still have some connections that use aluminum wire as common leads; especially at the main panel and/or subpanels.  The leads for these connections may need anti-corrosion chemical (it's often sold in paste form  -  in tubes or tubs) treatment. 

The suggestions I've made here are not intended to be instructive.  On the contrary, they are intended to be informative only.  Make certain any work done to examine and/or repair your household electrical circuits is performed by a qualified llicensed electrical contractor.  Don't try to do these things yourself.    Electricity is invisible and can kill you without warning.

Steam can be very invasive, especially large quantities of steam that exceed the amount released in "normal" cooking, and it can infiltrate and damage sensitive electronic circuits.    But if you braise a roast in your oven in an open roasting pan and don't experience problems with that process, I doubt it's a steam issue.


Aprea's picture

Thank you for your thoughts - this gives me something to go on when I deal with these guys - I have a repairman - and an electrician.  The oven has been fixed again - I used one of them this evening without a problem..

I need to also find out if using both ovens causes an overload.  I would like to be able to use both at the same time without fear of expensive overloads.  The first time this happened last month - I was trying to bake bread in both ovens.  I had the melted board replaced and now the second board had to be replaced, along with the control panel.

I am going to contact our electric company - to see if this can be prevented.  I know our wiring is what was used in the 70s.  Someone told me not to replace it because what they use now is much less quality then what they used through the 70s.  



drhowarddrfine's picture

Now we've got a little more information to go on but first I'd like to say that "overloading" by an oven does not break components and no double oven should ever prevent you from using both at the same time, especially since you obviously have the proper amperage to handle such a thing. If an oven is "overloading", that is, drawing more current than it should, then the oven is defective.

You said you are having melted relay boards. This is a fault of the oven and nothing else. While it is true that a power surge could cause such a thing, we would be talking about surges of such a huge amount that you should be blowing fuses as well as having other appliance damage. Either the appliance is bad or their is some electrical problem inside the oven causing these components to melt. I'd find someone else to look at this. OK, it happened once. Twice? Someone's pulling the wool over your eyes.

flournwater's picture

I wired homes in the 70's and, although some contractors of that era specified low cost low quality materials, many homes of that period were built with quality stuff. So I would disagree with your information source about the "70's" construction methods as universally inferior.  I do agree with drhowarddrfine that the problem is least likely to be a component in your electric range; although it could be.  A lot of the technicians that service appliances today are remove and replace laborers, not true trained technicians.  I had an experience with a over-the-stove microwave oven technician who didn't even know how to remove the oven from its wall mounts and I had to explain the schematic diagram to him so he could order the warrant part I needed.

I recently replaced a sub-panel (in a 1990's constructed home) that was originally sold with a very cheap sub-panel/breaker combination.  The evidence that the sub-panel was faulty was the fact that household wiring was getting so hot, including wall outlets, that they were uncomfortable to touch with the bare hand.  What I found in the sub-panel were breaker connections that had lost their tension and, under load, were actually throwing sparks where they contacted the main power lugs.

Therefore, in my experience, if that circuit had been supplying a circuit in the electric range with power it certainly would have damaged the relay circuit boards.

Just Loafin's picture
Just Loafin

At the point you're at, I'd throw out a very large net into your circle of friends and family, and find someone who is or was in that industry. You need very real and honest answers, and the only way to get them is for that person to come and inspect your oven. Please request and SAVE all previous replaced parts for this trusted person to inspect (where possible).

Your power company has an obligation to provide stable service to your meter. After it leaves your meter and travels through the breakers into your house, you're responsible for it. Ask your trusted electrician about spike and brown-out protectors.

If you baked with steam daily, might that be an issue? I don't know... but you seem to indicate that you don't run anything near a commercial rate out of the oven, so the steam thing seems a rather weak link to me.

Do a Google search for your exact make/model of oven and see if people are having similar problems. Might it be a manufacturer issue? You'd be surprised. Find forums like this that center around your particular oven and post the direct question: "Is anyone else having these problems?" Again, you'd be amazed what might drag up. If you come to find out it's a manufacturer's issue and you're nowhere within their warranty (and there's no official recall), then it's time to pitch the money-pit oven and get something else.

This is the consumer nightmare. Is it the appliance? Is it the environment? Is it something I'm doing wrong? It's frustrating to get answers. Get someone trusted who can physically come to your home and talk straight up with you. Best of luck!

- Keith