Whether you own an electric or gas appliance, having a functioning stovetop is important to any home or business owner.
In fact, dealing with problematic elements or defective controls can make mealtime difficult, and sometimes, even impossible.
Below, we’ll take a look at how to troubleshoot some of the most common stovetop problems we see.
Common Electric Heating Element Problems
Your cooktop’s heating elements only have a lifetime of about 5 to 10 years. Therefore, faulty elements are extremely common, especially on older appliances where the elements have never been replaced.
Worn Out Heating Elements
To troubleshoot your heating elements, visually inspect them to look for any signs of damages, breaks or blistering on the coil. If you easily see signs of wear such as this, there’s a good chance the element will need to be replaced.
However, not all faulty elements will have visual damage like this.
Therefore, to check for a faulty element, you can try replacing it with another element that you know is working. If the swapped element works, you can be sure that it’s only the element that needs to be replaced.
However, if the swapped element also isn’t working, you may have an issue with your element receptacle or the unit’s power supply.
If you’re still having trouble with your electric cooktop not producing any heat, you might have a wiring issue or there may be something wrong with the unit’s power supply.
Therefore, start by making sure that the unit is, in fact, properly plugged in and that the outlet has power.
You can try performing a hard reset by locating your home’s main electrical panel, turning the appropriate break off, waiting about 20 seconds, and then flipping it back on.
Common Problems with Gas Burners
Many home and professional chefs prefer gas cooktop because they’re more responsive, which means that you get more control over heating your food while cooking.
Below, we take a look at the most common issues we see with gas cooktops and ovens.
Insufficient Gas Flow
When you’re cooking on a gas cooktop, the flames should be strong, even, and blue in colour.
If you’re noticing a weak, uneven, or no flame at all, you may have an insufficient gas flow to the cooktop.
To troubleshoot, check your burner element for any blockages (such as food particles, grease, or dust). Also, ensure the cap is sitting properly on the burner, which will allow a proper flow of gas.
If the problem persists, you may have an issue with your regulator, which may need to be replaced.
Broken Gas Valve
The control valve works by regulating the amount of gas making its way to the burner.
To troubleshoot the control valve try turning it on and checking to see if it feels loose or broken. If it doesn’t, you’re most likely not dealing with a broken valve.
However, if you do have a broken valve or control know, you’ll need to have them replaced.
Knobs are relatively simple and straightforward to replace, but broken or faulty valves should only be repaired or replaced by an experienced appliance technician.
Gas Burner Constantly Clicking
When you hear your cooktop clicking constantly, the noise is usually coming from the igniter, which has either become faulty, or that is unable to ignite your burner for some other reason.
Let’s take a look!
Clogged Burner Cap
The most common reasons for a gas burner constantly clicking are the burner cap sitting out of alignment, food debris obstructing the ignitor, which in turn prevents the burner from lighting.
To check this, first ensure your burner is completely cool, and remove the burner grate from the stove. Remove the cap and reposition it so that it is properly centred on the base. At the same time, inspect the burner for any dried food or debris that may be present and remove it if necessary.
Try the burner again to see if the clicking has resolved.
The igniter and spark electrode are the components that produce the spark needed to ignite your cooktop’s burners.
Therefore, when these components become faulty, you’ll often hear repeated clicking or you may not be able to ignite your burners whatsoever.
Either way, repairing or replacing a faulty spark electrode is a bit more complicated, which is why we recommend contacting a professional appliance technician to get the job done right!
Cooktop Maintenance Tips
To prevent appliance breakdowns, it’s paramount that you take the time to regularly clean and maintain your cooktop. Let’s take a look at some of the most important maintenance tips for any make or model of cooktop.
Perform regular cleaning
Check burner element for food debris
Clean grates with vinegar or baking soda
To make sure your cooktop performs at optimal condition, always wipe down the range after cooking every meal. Also, make sure that spills or food is cleaned up and removed from the burners as soon as possible.
Once a week, inspect your cooktops burner elements for any blockages, stuck-on food, or debris.
If you notice anything stuck to the element, gently use a toothpick or other non-abrasive material to remove the item. Buildups or blockages can impact the overall performance of burners, so keeping them clean is important.
Once a month, remove all of your stovetops grates and place them in a sink of water and vinegar.
After soaking, remove each grate and use baking soda as a gentle abrasive to clean stuck-on food or spills. Rinse the grate with clean water and pat them dry completely before returning them to the stovetop.