If you are a bachelor or busy with work, then an electric oven can save your life. For a regular oven, you have to book the gas cylinder timely, and regularly checking the gas knob can be so much to do and pretty tiring!
However, suppose you have an electric oven. In that case, everything can be taken into consideration implicitly; induction ovens that run on electricity are even portable.
Also, it can be greener than a regular oven if your energy source is renewable.
However, every object has its own pros and cons. For that reason, many people still use gas ovens. One of the cons of using the electric oven is its preheating problem.
What is this problem? How could that affect your cooking? What are the potential solutions? This article focuses on these topics.
What is an electric oven?
An electric oven is a variant of the oven which runs on electricity rather than gas. After using electric coil cooktops for many years, the newer models nowadays use induction cooktops.
These ovens can be operated at a higher temperature for cooking than the gas oven. Rotary knobs can control the burners of an oven with finite rotations from 1 to 10. An electric oven also uses radiation to cook food like a regular gas oven.
What is preheating?
Preheating is simply a method of heating up your oven before putting all the ingredients for cooking. You turn on the switch and let it heat up to a particular temperature. As we put our pans in an oven and wait for them to get heated up, we should do the same for an electric oven.
Why is preheating important?
When you cook, your cooking mostly depends on the temperature you use. The temperature can make a difference between a delicious and average dish.
If something is not baked or cooked well, the tastes and flavors do not get blended well. With an electric oven, food can be cooked at even higher temperatures. Also, with the help of control knobs, the temperature can be modified from time to time.
Preheating plays an essential role in preparing food well. Though many foods require slow heating, most of them require an initial hit of heat and for that, preheating is very important.
When does preheating take longer? Solutions
1. Faulty thermostat
A thermometer helps to measure the temperature of anything, while a thermostat works like a sensor that helps to maintain a particular temperature of your choice.
This is one of the most important components in an electric oven, and it is a part of the cooker that regulates the food’s temperature.
Suppose there is a fault in the sensor. In that case, you will instantly understand as there will be disturbances in cooking – either the food remains undercooked, or it becomes overcooked. Indeed that will be embarrassing for you in front of your relatives in either case.
The preheating problem exists when the thermostat cannot properly raise the required temperature.
To get the solution and replace the thermostat, one needs to test if the part is really not working or if there are any other problems.
There are some steps with which one can test a thermostat – first of all, unplug the oven to avoid any sort of electrical shock. The thermostat is a piece of metal on a coil that can be attached to an oven, depending on the model.
Then calibrate a multimeter properly and use that to test the thermostat after removal. If the multimeter’s reading is zero or close to that, then the thermostat is all right; the problem is anywhere else; if it does not show anything, the thermostat is not working.
First thing first, to replace a thermostat, switch the oven off. The next thing that one needs to do is locate the thermostat, remove the screws, and unplug the cables.
Then un-clip the capillary tube of the thermostat. Now, slowly remove all the wirings and take the thermostat out of the control panel. Replace a new thermostat exactly the same way but in a reversed order.
2. Faulty heating element
Another reason for your electric oven’s preheating problem can be a faulty heating element. Suppose your electric oven is not heating up to your required temperature.
In that case, it could be possible that the burning coils are not heating up properly, which can be the direct result of a defective heating element. A heating element is a device that converts the electric energy to heat
when an electric current runs through it – the principle is called ‘Joule’s heating.’ Generally, an oven has two heating elements: the top one is for broiling, and the bottom one is for baking.
One can buy a heating element for replacement by knowing the appliance’s model number. Nevertheless, before replacing it, it is always recommended to test it to check if it is really broken or if there is any other problem.
Before removing the device, one needs to make sure that all controls are switched off and test the wires to see if any current is flowing before touching them. Then, locate the mounting plate or bracket of the potentially damaged baking element and remove all the other oven racks.
Next, you pull the heating element to see the wires behind. Touch a voltage tester to check any trace of voltage on the wires. If there is any voltage indication, switch off the correct breaker on the electric service panel and then test again until you are confirmed with the absence of any voltage.
After confirming that remove the wires one by one. Make sure that you remove the metal connector, not the wire itself. Do not lose hold of it.
Now, reinstall a new heating element and reconnect each wire onto its probes; insert the screws using a screwdriver. Next, place every other element in a reversed order, which was removed, and test the element if it is working well by turning on the switches in the circuit breaker.
Congratulations, you have successfully replaced your faulty heating element on your own!!
But as I said, do every abovementioned step only after testing your heating element first. To do that, you have to calibrate the multimeter you are using and set the resistance to the lowest ohms.
Now, touch the probes to the terminals of the heating element. If the heating element has continuity, the resistance should reach 30 to 100 ohms after touching the probes. If there is no change or insignificant change in the reading, then the heating element needs to be replaced by a new one.
3. Faulty burner coil
Another element that can potentially be faulty to make your electric oven take forever to preheat is the burner coils. A burning coil cooktop glows red to help you cook at the desired temperature.
When you switch on your oven and set the temperature, the burners are supposed to heat up within 5-7 minutes; if it takes more than 20-25 minutes and all other types of equipment are working correctly, it is time to check the burners. You can always call for a service, but you can test it and fix it yourself to save money.
Like before, you always start your diagnostics with testing.
First, one needs to turn on all the knobs for the burners. If no burners heat up, then check the electric breaker box and operate it correctly. If everything is correct, no burners get heated up,
and some other element is damaged. If anyone is not working correctly, then one can first try to repair it; otherwise, replace it.
First, unplug the oven and make sure there is no connection with electricity before you start. Now, take the faulty burner out and see two metal rods going into the stove. Take that everything out with utmost care.
After taking it out, brush both of the ends with sandpaper until it gets shiny. Then bend the ends out slightly so that they can fit with the socket properly. Sometimes the connection loosens with the socket.
Then put the burner back in its place and turn on the breakers to check if it is working. If not, then it is time to replace it.
Find the model number and order a new one. Remove the broken one and slowly reinstall the new burner. Both ends of the burner must fit well with the socket. A loose connection may cause sparks and can harm the device.
Push the burner down until it sits flat. Then switch on the electricity, turn on the breakers and check if the new burner heats up properly. If still, it does not glow properly, call a professional.
Your cooking is majorly dependent on the way of heating you provide right at the starting. Some need slow heating, and some need fast heating. The requirement of fast heating demands the oven to be heated from the beginning before your cooking starts.
So preheating for any type of oven is very important, and problems related to this are so common. So it is always good to know how to fix the common causes of these problems on your own.