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electrifier, Master Electrician
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The lower heating element on my Kenmore oven (not sure what

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The lower heating element on my Kenmore oven (not sure what model) was broken, so I bought a replacement. When I first installed it, I tested it and it worked fine, so I put the back of the unit in place and moved it back against the wall. This time when I turned on the oven, there was a loud pop and a flash from the back of the oven. I couldn't see where the flash happened, but I noticed the insulation around the upper heating element was scorched. What happened and how can I fix it?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  electrifier replied 5 years ago.
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You are corresponding with Bob - Your personal online "Home Improvement Consultant"

Hello Jeff,
When you put the back on the oven something came into contact with the upper element wire connections. The frame of the oven is grounded so touching it with any wiring will cause a short. Did this trip the circuit breaker for the oven? If so you must reset the breaker. Look on the inside of the back panel and see if there is a burned spot where the wiring touched. Someplace near the burned spot you will find a wire or terminal or something that also looks burned. To fix this you need to find what shorted against the wiring or the terminal and move it. It is possible that a wire got pinched when you put the back on the oven. It takes a visual inspection to locate the trouble area. When you find it let me know and I'll help you eliminate the problem in the best way.

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electrifier, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 1630
Experience: Electrical contractor and electrical inspector for over 24 years with phone and networking expertise
electrifier and 2 other Electrical Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
The circuit breaker wasn't tripped when the short occurred. That was the first thing I checked. The new, lower heating element stuck out about a half inch farther through the back of the oven than the one I was replacing, so that's obviously what made contact with the back panel and caused the short. As I said before, the element worked fine when I first installed it but something shorted out after I replaced the panel. As you instructed, I just did a visual inspection and the connection to the lower element looks fine, but the upper one is scorched. I removed the leads from the upper element and the worst damage seems to be on the left side, the wire that connects to the dial that starts the oven. What needs to be replaaced? The upper element? The wiring connecting to it? Both?
Expert:  electrifier replied 5 years ago.
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You are corresponding with Bob - Your personal online "Home Improvement Consultant"

Hello Jeff,
Thank you for the accept of my answer. We have more to do however.
Is there a burn mark on the back panel of the oven?
Is the burn at the connection to the element or is it in the wire away from the terminal?
The upper element is for broil, does the oven work on bake?
If you remove the back will the oven work without a problem?

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
There was no burn mark on the inside of the back panel and the burn was right at the connection, not farther back up the wire. Neither element is working at all right now, either with the panel on or off.
Expert:  electrifier replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for asking your question on graphic
You are corresponding with Bob - Your personal online "Home Improvement Consultant"


Do you have a meter available to test volts and ohms?
Do the burners work?

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
The burners work. No, I don't have a voltmeter.
Expert:  electrifier replied 5 years ago.
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You are corresponding with Bob - Your personal online "Home Improvement Consultant"

Did you turn off and back on the 2 pole breaker for the oven? Try this to see if it corrects the problem.
Did the wire burn in half where it was scorched at the terminal?

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
No, the wire is intact. And yes, I did toggle the circuit breaker. I just tried it again to be sure and it still won't heat up.
Expert:  electrifier replied 5 years ago.
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I would like to know that 240 volts is available at the range, that full power is available. Do you have a way to get a volt meter to test the receptacle for 240 volts? This could also be tested at the terminals where the cord connects.

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I suppose so. I used to have one; I'll look again to see if I still do. If not, I WalMart is just around the corner. Not sure how to use one, though.
Expert:  electrifier replied 5 years ago.
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You are corresponding with Bob - Your personal online "Home Improvement Consultant"

If you get one I can teach you how to use it. You notice I'm an electrician. Let me know when you have one.

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Give me about 15 minutes.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I'm having a little trouble finding one at the moment. Assuming I do, what should I check and how should I check it?
Expert:  electrifier replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for asking your question on graphic
You are corresponding with Bob - Your personal online "Home Improvement Consultant"

Set the meter to AC volts 300 or anything greater than 240 volts. Some digital meters are auto ranging so just choose AC.
Connect the probes in the proper plugs for AC Volts. One plug may say Com.
Since the back is off the oven it's easiest to check at the cord connection. There are red and black wires on the outside terminals. They should be 240 volts across those terminals. The center is the neutral and each one should be 120 volts to the neutral. To test touch one probe to one terminal and the other probe to the other terminal. The meter will then show you the voltage. 120 and 240 are nominal voltages. Your power may be a couple of volts off of these values. This will tell us if the problem is in the oven or in the wiring coming to the oven.
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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
It might take me until this evening to locate a voltmeter. Can I log off, then log back on tomorrow to tell you (or someone else) what I figure out?
Expert:  electrifier replied 5 years ago.
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You are corresponding with Bob - Your personal online "Home Improvement Consultant"

Yes, no problem. Log back on and you can return to this question.
Any idea what time tomorrow? I have no plans tomorrow but I do have to play in a euchre tournament tonight.
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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Isn't he a baseball announcer? Anyway, I'm figuring mid-morning, maybe 10-ish (PST).
Expert:  electrifier replied 5 years ago.
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You are corresponding with Bob - Your personal online "Home Improvement Consultant"

Who is a baseball announcer?
ROFL. Bob Ucker is an announcer. Bob Ufer was a college football announcer for U of Michigan over 20 years ago. Similar names
Euchre is a card game. It's popular in Michigan, where I am, and east of here. It seems to be regional as I understand it.


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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Bob Uecker. Never mind. Bad joke. Talk to you tomorow,
Expert:  electrifier replied 5 years ago.
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You are corresponding with Bob - Your personal online "Home Improvement Consultant"

Thank you. I'll be around. I'll get a notice on my screen when you reply tomorrow.
  • If you need further clarification on anything I posted, please dont hesitate to ask
  • 100% customer satisfaction is my goal
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
OK, Bob (or whoever). I'm back now. Sorry for the delay. I got a voltmeter and checked the cord connection. When I set the meter at 250, the needle reads 240 to 250 across both terminals and 125 or so to the neutral. Just like it should. What do I try next?
Expert:  electrifier replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for asking your question on graphic
You are corresponding with Bob - Your personal online "Electrical Consultant"

Now turn the oven on bake and test for voltage across the terminals of the element in the back. Then test each element terminal to the center conductor of the power, the neutral.
After doing this turn it to broil and test the upper element the same way.

Let me know what your results here are.
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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
OK, I tried it and got no reading at all on either the upper or lower when I put the probe on the positive and negative terminals. But I got a reading of 120 when I touched it to either outlet and the ground.
Expert:  electrifier replied 5 years ago.
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You are corresponding with Bob - Your personal online "Electrical Consultant"

What do you mean by positive and negative. We are dealing with AC here so there is no positive and negative.
Are you saying you touched the probes to either element terminal, when you say outlet, and ground and got 120 volts?

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
That's what I'm saying. I turned on the oven and checked the lower terminals, then turned on the broiler and checked the upper terminals. In both cases, when I touched the probe to the left and right (red and black) terminals at the same time, I got no reading at all. When I touched one probe to the left or right terminal and the other to the ground on the back of the oven, I got a reading of 120.
Expert:  electrifier replied 5 years ago.
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You are corresponding with Bob - Your personal online "Electrical Consultant"

One of the wires going to the controls has a problem. If this 120 volt condition is for both elements then the problem is in front of the control and it sounds like this is the case. Something between the terminals where the cord connects and the heating elements is blown or broken but only on one side of the 240 volts. This is why you have 120 volts on both sides of the element.
Turn on the burner and touch one side of the burner terminal with the probe and touch the other side to first the black and second the red terminals where the cord attaches. One side will show 0 and the other will show 240 volts. This side that shows 240 volts, either red or black, is the side with a blown component. Now you will know which color of the circuit to test. Does the oven have a wiring diagram for the controls somewhere on the back?
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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
OK, I think we're getting close to an answer. I did what you said and the left terminal (the black wire) was showing 240. The right one (red wire) was 0.

Couldn't find a wiring diagram, but there are two wires attached to the right terminal. A pink one connects to the broiler terminal and a red one goes up to the back of the control switch.
Expert:  electrifier replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for asking your question on graphic
You are corresponding with Bob - Your personal online "Electrical Consultant"

Just for giggles, do the same with the broiler and see if you have a similar result. See which one shows 240 volts and which one shows 0.
Then give me the results.
Game time now but I'll be around.
  • If you need further clarification on anything I posted, please don't hesitate to ask
  • 100% customer satisfaction is my goal
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Same result. Right side (red) is dead. Right side (black) showing 240.
Expert:  electrifier replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for asking your question on graphic
You are corresponding with Bob - Your personal online "Electrical Consultant"

So black is running thru the controls and red is not. Now you have to look at the red side wiring and it's route between the elements wiring, from the controller probably, and back to the feed at the terminal block. Someplace there will be a break. Which one had the burned look on the terminal wiring? Was that the one, the one that shows 0 volts?

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I checked the red wire from top to bottom and didn't find any breakhe s or scorching. I did remove the back panel from the top of the oven -- the panel covering up the controls -- and discovered some scorched marks on the circuit board. There's a black plastic component plugged into the board and there's scorching around the outside of that component. I'm guessing that's significant.
Expert:  electrifier replied 5 years ago.
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Yes, exactly. If the power comes into this board and the wires for the elements come from this board then it sounds like the solution.

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
So do I replace the whole board or just the black plastic thing plugged into it?
Expert:  electrifier replied 5 years ago.
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You are corresponding with Bob - Your personal online "Electrical Consultant"

Go to a service location for your brand of oven and take the board with you. I'm not sure the parts just unplug from it without seeing it. Is there burn marks on the board as well? How about on the back side?

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
The burn marks are on the board. Nothing on the back panel. I can replace the board asily enough. The only remaining question is why did it fry before and will it do the same thing when I plug in the new one?
Expert:  electrifier replied 5 years ago.
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It must have fried when you turned on the burner. Is it possible the burner terminal is touching the back of the oven when you put it back together?

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Yes. The new element extended about a half inch farther out the back than the old one, so it almost certainly pressed up against the back panel. I can probably adjust the element or, worst-case scenario, just leave the back panel off.
Expert:  electrifier replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for asking your question on graphic
You are corresponding with Bob - Your personal online "Electrical Consultant"

It it touched the back panel that was a direct short to ground. That would blow the board for sure. Don't leave the back off, hopefully you could bend the end up or down so it doesn't touch anymore.

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I'll try that. I've got the panel out and I'll find a replacement tomorrow. Thanks for all your help.
Expert:  electrifier replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for asking your question on graphic
You are corresponding with Bob - Your personal online "Electrical Consultant"

It's been my pleasure. Keep me posted.
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  • 100% customer satisfaction is my goal

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