Q: We recently moved into our house and now that it’s getting cold we are concerned that the stove won’t turn on. We know we need to get it working before the pipes freeze, but we have no idea what the problem is. Can we fix an oven not turning on problem before calling a technician?
ON: Aside from making a cold house uncomfortable, a faulty stove can cause costly damage to your home – including, as you mentioned, pipes freezing. Cold temperatures, or the resulting condensation, can potentially damage windows, and structural damage can also occur if a home is left unheated for several months in cold temperatures.
Starting up your stove in cold weather is a high priority that should be addressed immediately. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean calling a maintenance specialist. There may be simple solutions to stove problems you can perform, from adjusting the thermostat to re-igniting the pilot light on a gas stove. So read on to find some troubleshooting tactics.
Make sure the thermostat is on.
The most obvious solution to an oven that won’t turn on is often overlooked: some people fail to check the thermostat – the part of your heating system that evaluates the room temperature and allows you to set and set the temperature you want. A thermostat is usually installed on one of the main walls of your home, roughly level with a light switch.
If the device is not powered by your home’s electrical wiring system, it will not be able to tell the stove when to turn on. So if you have a programmable thermostat, check that the display is on, the oven is on, and the device is set to heat. Manual thermostats can be inadvertently turned off by dusting or doing other household cleaning. Set the heater to a temperature at which the oven would normally turn on. This can vary from thermostat to thermostat. If it won’t turn on after about a minute, increase the temperature significantly while you continue troubleshooting.
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Make sure the gas is on.
Each gas oven has a valve or gas tap located within 6 feet of the unit. The design of the oven valve varies, but often includes a small disc with a small handle or lever. Other gas valves may look like little boxes, while others still resemble a lever the size of your index finger (often brightly colored).
This valve may have been closed by mistake or by someone working on the oven who forgot to turn it back on. While the valves can vary by brand or manufacturer, a gas valve is usually in the open position – meaning gas flows through the pipe – when the handle on the valve is parallel to the pipe. If the handle is perpendicular to the pipe, the valve is likely closed. To open it, turn the small handle so that it is parallel to the pipe.
If the stove still does not start after opening the valve, check another gas appliance in the house, such as a gas heater. B. a stove or fireplace to see if it is still working. If the other gas appliances won’t turn on, gas may not be getting into your home. This could be the result of crews working somewhere on the gas line, or there could be a gas leak, disruption, or even a blockage in the line. A gas leak can be a dangerous situation. If you suspect this is the case, immediately call 9-1-1 and follow the instructions.
To assess the situation, go outside and check both the street side and internal house side valves to see if they are on. If they aren’t on, turning the valve to the open or on position (as described above) should bring gas back into your home. If your oven and other appliances are not working, contact your utility company to find out if they are working in your area or if there has been any business interruption. If it doesn’t, check the status of your account. Whether it is a technical malfunction or human oversight, a missed or incomplete payment by the utility company can result in an interruption in service.
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Check the position of the power switch.
Sometimes the reason a stove won’t turn on is because it just turned off. Find the power switch on the stove itself, which is likely to be on a nearby wall or even on a ceiling or floor joist near the unit. It often looks like a normal light switch, but it may or may not be labeled. Usually, but not always, the on position is active, but this depends on the installation. It’s easy for someone unfamiliar with the house to accidentally turn off the stove and mistake it for a light switch. Turn this switch back on and wait for the device to start. Some ovens can take a few minutes to work again.
Replace an air filter.
A clogged air filter prevents an oven from heating properly. A restricted air flow can cause the heat in the heat exchanger to increase continuously. Each oven has limit switches that are activated when temperatures exceed a certain point and switch off the oven. Oven air filters should be replaced every 1 to 3 months regardless of heating or airflow issues. Dust, hair, or other household waste can clog an air filter, making your oven less efficient.
To find the filter, find the place where air enters the furnace while you work. Manually slide out the old filter and check the page for the model number and size that indicate the correct replacement to purchase. When replacing the filter, check the frame for an arrow mark indicating the direction in which the air is flowing. Position the arrow so that it points to the oven side when you insert the new filter.
RELATED: Change Filters Frequently to Optimize Oven Efficiency
Check the ignition sensor.
Once you are confident in your DIY skills, you may want to clean the ignition sensor (also known as the flame sensor) on your stove. The ignition sensor is a safety device that detects whether the oven is burning gas. The sensor uses the rising temperature in the furnace to identify flames. If the sensor cannot detect a flame, it will turn the stove off to prevent any unburned gas from escaping. Residues can affect the proper operation of the flame sensor. Cleaning allows the oven to turn on and function properly. If this troubleshooting tactic is beyond the scope of your DIY skills, it may be time to call a pro. Observe the following basic instructions:
- Turn off the oven before attempting to clean your sensor. An oven does not have an on / off switch. To turn it off, find the gas valve that controls the gas flowing into your oven and twist the small handle on the valve to the closed or off position (perpendicular to the pipe).
- Then look for a porcelain plinth with a small metal rod in front of the pilot light in the oven. Use a screwdriver with the appropriate head to loosen and remove the screw next to the sensor and slide the dirty sensor out of its current position.
- Gently clean the metal rod with a bundle of steel wool or a clean, straight-edged knife to remove any debris. Rub very carefully and patiently; You don’t want to detach the bar from the base.
- After cleaning, slide the sensor back in, reinstall the screw that secures the sensor, and turn it back on.
If an oven still does not turn on after trying these solutions, you may want to call an oven repair professional. Check the online directories to find repair technicians in your area. Your local home renovation business can also be a good source for finding oven repair technicians.