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How to Test an Electric Range Plug-in Heating Element

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Many electric ranges use plug-in heating elements. They are coil made of nickel and chromium. The coil is covered with sheath containing magnesium oxide. At the end of a heating element there are terminals that plug into a receptacle (a plug like mechanism). If a heating element does not produce heat, you can test the element easily and replace it if required. You can follow the steps below to test the heating element.

  1. 1 Take precaution: Turn off the power source by putting the control panel switch at OFF position or pulling out the fuse for the range. Unplug the power cord if there is any. Be absolutely sure that the range is not getting power by turning ON the switches for each heating element. With the power OFF and the switches of the elements ON, wait for about three minutes. Put your hand close to the heating elements; avoid touching the heating elements. You should not feel any heat. Turn the switches at OFF position.
  2. 2 Remove heating element: Hold the heating element firmly and gently lift it up about an inch. Then pull the heating element out of its receptacle.
  3. 3 Test for incorrect seating: With the power OFF, reinsert the heating element in its receptacle. Be sure to align it correctly. Turn ON power and the switch for the heating element. If the heating element does not heat up, read the next steps.
  4. 4 Test heating element by inserting in another receptacle: Check if the range has a heating element that is of same size or little bit bigger than the heating element you are testing. Pull out the good heating element and insert the test heating element into its receptacle. Turn ON the power and the switch. If the heating element does not heat up, it is bad and you need to replace it. Turn OFF power and switch at the end of this test.
  5. 5 Test heating element using VOM: Set your VOM (volt-ohm-meter) for continuity testing (RX1). Zero out your VOM (volt-ohm-meter) by touching its two probes. Hold the two probes at the end of two terminals of the heating element. If the VOM reads infinity, the heating element is bad and you need to replace it. Be sure to turn OFF power and switch at the end of this test.