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How to Test Burner Switch or Surface Element Switch

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If the burner switch (surface element switch) is a suspect in creating problems in your oven or range, you can follow the steps below to test the switch.

  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 if the power is OFF. Turn the switches at OFF position.
  2. 2 Access control panel: If there is not enough working space at the back side of the range, make space by pulling away the range from the wall. Be careful so that you do not damage the floor or the furniture. Switches are generally mounted at the back side of the range. Remove the screws from the back panel; make sure the back panel does not fall out. Remove the back panel using hands; be sure not to strain any wires.
  3. 3 Locate the suspected burner switch: The burner will be located behind the switch knob. You can also trace the power wire from the terminal box to the switch. The burner switch has at least four terminals, two for wiring coming from the terminal box and two for wires leading to the burner or surface element. The terminals that connect the wires from terminal box are marked with L1 and L2; the terminals that connect the wires leading to the burner are marked by H1 and H2 or numbers.
  4. 4 Locate a good burner switch: Locate a working burner element that is of almost same size. Also, find the switch for this burner element. Label the wires and the terminals of this good switch. Disconnect the H1 and H2 wires that lead to the burner from the burner switch.
  5. 5 Test burner switch visually: Check the suspected burner switch visually. If the terminals are burned or damaged, the switch needs to be replaced.
  6. 6 Test burner switch: Disconnect the H1 and H2 wires that lead to the burner from the suspected burner switch. Now, connect these two wires correctly to the terminals of the good switch. For SAFETY, put the back panel in place by using its screws; make sure no wire except the power wire is exposed outside. Turn ON power and turn the good switch at different ON positions. If the burner element (surface element) heats up, the suspect switch is bad. You need to replace the switch.

    Note: You can also use continuity test to identify if the suspect switch is bad. Turn power OFF and make sure the power is absolutely off. Set the VOM (volt-ohm-meter) for checking continuity (RX1). Label the wires and the terminals using masking tape. For this discussion, let us assume that the switch terminals are marked with L1, L2, H1 and H2. Disconnect the switch from the range. Set the switch at ON position. Touch the probes of VOM at terminals L1-H1 and then L2-H2. Repeat the test at terminals L1-H2, and L2-H1. If all the tests fail to show continuity, the switch is bad. You need to replace it in this case.

  7. 7 Put all disconnected parts back in place: With power OFF, put all the wires and parts back to their original positions. If you opened the bad switch for testing, you may keep it disconnected for helping you in buying a new one.