How to Test an Oven Element with a Multimeter (Guide)

Oven elements or heat elements are the heating coils on the top and bottom of your electric oven. They heat up and glow when current flows through them, and the oven turns on. However, these heating coils may get damaged over time. Damaged coils do not convert electric current into heat or they may do so in an inefficient way causing slower cooking and raw food which could be a health hazard to you.

In this guide, I will teach you how to perform a continuity test for your heating coils.

It is not difficult to check if the heating element of your oven has continuity. Start by unplugging the oven from the socket (turn it off), and then separate the panel from the oven. Place your heating elements on an insulating material or a non-conductor. Set your multimeter to ohms using the selection knob. Then touch the probe leads on both terminals of the heating coils. Note the display unit reading. A coil with continuity should register zero, or very few ohms.

Symptoms Associated with a Faulty Oven Element

Ovens with damaged heating coils do not function properly. To diagnose or verify a faulty oven’s heating coil, check if your oven shows the following signs:

fully heated oven

  1. No bright orange color. A fully heated heating element turns a bright orange color (at a temperature of about 350 degrees). If your element does not have a bright orange color, then it is probably burned out and needs replacement.
  2. Check the signs of wear. Identify burns, blistering, or cracks on the heating coil. (1)
  3. Food does not cook or it cooks partially. If that is the case then you need to perform a continuity test to find out if the heating element is working properly. Another cause for this problem is a faulty temperature sensor probe, so it’s wise to know which one is the issue.
  4. A dirty oven. Yes, if the oven is unclean the coils may get insulated or not perform. Clean your oven and try using it again. Otherwise, you need to clean the filth, if it is overly dirty.
  5. Increased electric bill. That means your coil is consuming more power than usual. Then there is a problem with the coil. The reason could be a faulty door gasket. A smaller electrical bill means the coils are under-heating. (2)

Now Let’s Check the Heating Element or Coil with a Multimeter

Checking the heating coil with a multimeter is a very easy process you can perform at home. All you need is a multimeter, a screwdriver, a pair of pliers, and a heating element.

You may need to buy a new heating element if you find out your coil doesn’t have continuity.

Follow the steps to check continuity:

Step 1: Disconnect the Oven from the Power Supply

plugging in power supply

Unplug your oven from the power socket and let it cool for some time. You cannot perform your test on a hot device. If you were just cooking with the oven, then turn it off and leave it to cool for about 30 – 60 minutes. Note the following tips:

  • You may get burnt if you perform a test on an oven that’s still on.
  • Turn off the breakers of the kitchen before unplugging your oven.
    • This is especially relevant if your oven is set on a wall.

Step 2: Remove the Heating Element from the Oven

The heating element is located at the top and bottom parts of the oven. Take off the oven door, and remove the metallic racks. You will see a metal coil at the bottom-most part.

Proceed and check for the secondary heating coil at the roof of your oven’s interior. Most heating elements are black or grey.

Now remove the heating coils that you want to test. Unscrew them from the panel connecting them to the oven body. Lift each coil slightly to expose the terminals. The terminals are connected to 2 wires (for each coil). Gently move the metallic brackets at the ends of the 2 wires for each coil, to expose and remove the coils. Use a pair of pliers to do this. Then lift the coils out of the oven.

Note: Do not allow the wires at the coil terminals to fall back into the oven’s frame. Otherwise, you will have to remove the oven’s back door to retrieve the wires. Remove the bottom panel from the oven to avoid this.

Step 3: Perform a Continuity Test

continuity testing on oven element
Video | AMRE Supply

A continuity test will verify if a continuous electrical path is present in the coil. A coil in good condition needs to have a resistance between 0.0 and 1.0 ohms. Any other value indicates a fault in the coil.

Set your multimeter to the ohms setting using the range selection knob. Now follow these steps:

red multimeter with OL reading
Video | AMRE Supply

  1. Place your coil on a non-conducting surface to evade electrocution.
  2. Plug the multimeter probes into the ports on the multimeter. Plug the red probe into the port with a V symbol and the black probe on the COM section or port.
  3. Now adjust your multimeter by pinging the probe leads together.
  4. Put the red probe on one terminal and the black one on the other terminal of the heating element.
  5. Note the reading on the multimeter display unit. A reading between 0.0 and 1.0 shows the presence of continuity in the heating element.

woman holding multimeter probe to test oven element
Video | AMRE Supply

If the coil does not have continuity, you will have to replace it with a new, and compatible coil.

How to Replace the Oven Element     

To replace a faulty heating element or coil do this:

  1. Replace the faulty one that has no continuity, and connect the new element to its wires. These are the wires from which you disconnected them.
  2. Now screw the two heating elements back into their respective positions.

Take a look at some of our related articles below.





References
(1) Identify burns – https://www.webmd.com/first-aid/types-degrees-burns
(2) electrical bill – https://www.cnet.com/pictures/23-tips-to-help-you-save-money-on-your-electric-bill/

Video References

How to DIY with Sammy Bones

AMRE Supply

About Sam Orlovsky

b1d87d2ee85af3e51479df87928bdc88?s=90&d=mm&r=gI realized early on carpentry was a huge passion for me and I’ve stayed in the industry for over 20 years now. This gives me a unique ability to really be able to tell you what the best tools and recommendations are. I’m not only a carpenter but I also like machinery and anything to do with electrics. One of my career paths starting off was as an apprentice electrician so I also have a lot of experience with electrical products and anything related.