It’s one thing to have an oven that doesn’t work, but it’s even more frustrating when it turns off by itself for no apparent reason! To help you get to the bottom of this, we’re going to look at five of the most common reasons that this happens.
Typically, an oven shuts off by itself because its ventilation system is blocked, there’s a problem with the temperature sensor or the heating elements are damaged. Additionally, the same could happen if it has electrical problems or if the control board is faulty (most common)
Let’s take a deeper dive into each of those possible reasons to understand why they happen and what you can do to fix the issue.
Blocked Ventilation Or Cooling Fan Failed
What Is it: For an oven to cook food efficiently, it needs good airflow through it.
That’s why manufacturers build modern ovens with highly efficient ventilation systems that draw cool air from its surroundings using cooling fans and pushes hot air out the back of the unit safely.
And yes, even your electrically-powered oven has a ventilation system as well!
Sadly, most people forget or don’t realise that those vents exist and require cleaning from time to time. That’s especially true in households that use their oven often.
Why it fails: With all that air flowing in and out of the oven, your oven’s vents will gradually see a buildup of dust and other messiness sticking in and around those vents.
A little dust might not seem like a big deal at first, but in a long enough timeline, it’ll build up to become a very problematic obstruction for your oven’s vents.
So, how does this cause your oven to turn off by itself? Well, ovens have built-in safety features to keep you safe from injury and prevent fires in your home.
When your oven can’t ventilate itself with enough air, it’ll overheat, causing those safety features to kick in and shut the whole oven off.
How to fix: Here’s the good news: if this is the reason that your oven is turning off by itself, it’s effortless to resolve.
All you have to do is clean all the dust and gunk out of the oven’s vents or check the cooling fan for a proper operation
Be sure to unplug your oven before you do anything, though. Once that’s done, you can vacuum dust and junk out of the vents and wipe them down as needed.
When smooth airflow resumes, you’ll have an oven that can keep itself cool each time you use it.
Faulty Temperature Sensor or Thermistor
What it is: When you look inside your oven, the odds are that you’ll see a small metal rod mounted somewhere towards the back.
That’s your oven’s temperature sensor. In some cases, you may see the user manual refer to it by another name as a thermistor (a word combining ‘thermal’ and ‘resistor’).
That thermistor has one job: to help the oven reach and maintain your set temperature. You can think of it as a gatekeeper.
If the temperature isn’t high enough, it’ll allow power to flow through to the heating elements to continue raising the temperature inside the oven.
However, once the oven starts to reach your set temperature, the thermistor helps the oven maintain it by limiting the power flow to the oven’s heating elements.
Why it fails: Thermistor controls the flow of power to the oven’s heating elements. So, a faulty one can cause many problems, including shutting off your oven even before you finish cooking.
That happens because the thermistor reacts as if the oven is already too hot and cuts off the power flow prematurely.
How to fix: Replacing a faulty temperature sensor is reasonably straightforward.
You’ll find the temperature sensor inside the oven in most ovens at one of the back corners. All you’ll need is a screwdriver to remove it, as they’re typically secured with a pair of screws.
The tricky part would be to remove the capillary and electrical connections on the back end.
You’ll want to refer to your user manual to find the exact steps to do this.
Don’t worry if you’ve lost the manual, though. Most manufacturers now have them online for you to download whenever you need them.
Always shut off the power and gas connections before moving your oven or removing any of its panelling to replace the faulty temperature sensor.
Damaged Heating Elements
What it is: All ovens rely on heating elements to generate heat and cook your food. Depending on your oven’s functionality, you may have several heating elements for baking, broiling, and convection cooking as well.
You can find these heating elements at the back of the oven and the top and bottoms as well.
These elements will heat up in different combinations (e.g. top and bottom, bottom only, etc.) according to the type of cooking you’re doing.
These heating elements power on and off as often as needed to maintain the oven temperatures that you have set.
When the temp sensor detects that the temperature is too low, the thermostat will turn on the heating elements until the oven is hot enough.
Why it fails: There are many ways that your oven’s heating elements can get damaged.
A heavy weight falling onto them or bumping into them could bend those heating elements out of shape.
Internally, there might be wiring problems preventing the heating element from working altogether.
One of the possible outcomes of that damage is that the heating element may work for a while before cutting off entirely. From the outside, that’ll look as if your entire oven has turned off by itself.
How to fix: You can’t really fix a heating element, so you’ll have to replace them entirely.
Whether you’re doing it yourself or calling in an expert, these kinds of components can’t be rebuilt or reconditioned in any way.
Instead, the only solution is to remove the existing heating elements that are damaged and plug in new ones.
What it is: If you’re using an electric oven and you’ve ruled out all of the other reasons mentioned above, then there’s a possibility that your problems might have something to do with the oven’s electrical system.
Remember: inside an electrical appliance like your oven is miles of wiring, many switches and plenty of circuitry.
The more advanced your oven is, the heavier it’ll rely on all sorts of electrical (and electronic) components to work correctly.
Why it fails: There are several reasons why your oven may suffer from electrical problems. The most common (and the most frustrating) is the problem of a broken wire.
One possibility is that the wires weren’t appropriately attached at the factory and came loose later on.
The reason why something like a broken wire can be so frustrating is that it’ll be tough for you to pinpoint its exact location or the location of any other electrical problem for that matter.
How to fix: When it comes to fixing electrical problems, the best thing you can do is refer to a qualified technician.
Firstly, you’ll want to do this for safety reasons. Working with electrical parts can be quite dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing, and it’s not worth risking injury or electrocution to do on your own.
Second, your technician’s experience is invaluable. They may have experienced similar problems with other customers and can therefore resolve your issue much faster than if you did it all on your own.
Problematic Control Board
What it is: Another possible reason your oven turns off by itself because it has a problematic control board.
In a way, you can think of the control board as the brain of your entire oven.
Once you’ve put in your instructions and set the time and temperature you want, the control board will coordinate all the different components to get the job done.
Why it fails: There are several reasons why an oven control board can start to fail.
For starters, your oven may have a control board that’s inferior in terms of quality.
If the control board wasn’t put together correctly in the factory, then it’s always been doomed to fail at some point.
Besides that, the components on the board could suffer burns, either through power surges or if the oven’s heat somehow reaches the board.
On top of all that, you should also consider the age of your oven. If you’ve had it for several years, it could be that the components on the control board have stopped working correctly, which results in a wide range of problems including an oven that shuts off by itself for no apparent reason.
Another problem can occur due to control board overheating. Usually, as a result of not proper ventilation and some amount of heat spreads out on the control board behind the front panel.
How to fix: There are two ways to fix this issue. The first one is to diagnose the control board and fix whatever component isn’t working properly.
If you have the skills and experience, you may choose this option, or you can send your control board for a professional to fix.
However, another option that many people prefer is simply to replace the control board entirely.
Just like the first option, you could hire someone to replace it for you, or you could find the parts you need from a reliable supplier and do it yourself.
The first step to replacing the control board is to turn off and disconnect the main power supply.
Then, you’ll have to remove whichever panel will give you access to where the control board is mounted inside of the oven.
Oven control boards are typically held in place with a few mounting screws.
Before you remove them, it would be an excellent idea to snap a few photos with your phone.
You’ll want clear images that give you a good view of where all the screws and connectors go into the control board so that you can instal the new one the same way.
Once you’ve fixed the new control board in place and ensure that all the connectors are correct, then you can put the panels back and plug the oven back in.
Remember: the oven’s control board is responsible for all of the oven’s different functions. To make sure that you’ve installed it correctly, it would be a good idea to give each of those functions a quick test.
Modern ovens come with a lot of fancy features that make our lives easier. Sadly, all of those additional features also open up the possibility of more ways for the appliance to malfunction.
Luckily, you can troubleshoot and fix the issue yourself. If you’re unsure, it’s always a good idea to call in an expert.