Exploding Broiler Element


My Whirlpool range's broiler element exploded. The range is 4 years old and has had very little use. I was baking a pizza and decided to brown the top so I turned on the broiler. I left the oven door ajar and within 30 seconds there was a loud bang, a flash of light and a portion of the element was burning brightly (like a welding rod). It appeared that the element was melting as burning bits of it dripped onto the floor of the oven. I turned off the breaker and the fire went out.
The service tech changed the element (which showed that indeed, the element had melted almost to its core) but the element won't heat up. He removed the back cover of the range and visually examined the circuit board. There was no evidence of damage. The display panel works, the oven element works, the surface burners work; when set to broil, the display shows 500 but the element doesn't heat up.
The service company, of course, doesn't cover circuit boards and they want $250 for the part. #1. Shouldn't the breaker have tripped? #2. Shouldn't the display indicate a malfunction? #3. Whirlpool 800 number wait time is always at least 30 minutes. #4. If it's a burnt out component on the board, shouldn't I be able to see some indication -- such as a burn mark.
The range still works fine except for the broiler. Thanks.
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On 5 Feb 2007 02:21:05 -0800, " snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com"

How was the pizza with all the metal welded to it? I'd call a lawyer and clain permanent health effects from eating the metal in the pizza. Then sue them for the medical bills and the price of the pizza. If this happened during the Superbowl, I'd sue for an additional $50,000 for loss of entertainment value, plus demand they send you some cooked pizzas, a DVD of the Superbowl, and enough beer to get you and all your friends drunk. (And let them know you have 500 friends). When you win the case, toss out that range and get a gas one. Electric ones suck.
I hope this helps. Now back to my beer drinking. Continued (After the Superbowl) drinking till the cows come home or till I run out of beer. whichever happens first.
By the way..... Why do they keep talking about ABs on TV? Actually, what the hell are Abs?
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#1 no not necessarily the current to fry the element is less than the breakers trip current.
#2 no not necessarily, the element fried and took out the board fast
#3 you can call them but it probably wouldnt help since the rnge is 4 years old
#4 No the boards built today have componnts that can be damaged easily, by say a power line surge. completely invisible. The real test is if a new board fixes it.
Any chance a pan or lid bumped the element somehow and led o the damage?
If you still want a broiler you will need a new board.
solid state stuff is wonderful till it breaks
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

circuit board is in an electric oven. Regular mechanical switches, clocks, and thermostat. Nobody (almost nobody) ever uses the clock so what need is there for a circuit board?
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Once you design it so that the elements are controlled by the "circuit board" all kinds of functions become a whole lot less expensive. Controlling the self-cleaning feature uses the same temperature sensor that's already in place. The only "extra" is a small electro-magnet and a switch to keep the oven locked.
I strongly suspect that with a reasonable run, it's as cheap to make a stove with the timer and electronics as a more electro-mechanical self-cleaning over.
The only problem is that when the board goes, it's gone.
I suppose it's still possible to get a truly "basic" stove with electro-mechnical thermostat and no self-cleaning features. But once you toss in the self-cleaning features the electronics is not much more expensive than basic electro-mechanical controls and you get the timer function (and clock) for only a little more cost.
I still remember the old mechanical timers. It always seemed that by the time I got around to actually using it, the timer had worn out!
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John Gilmer wrote:

But the total cost if any repairs are needed may be more. Our current stove was new in 1976. I,ve replaced one indicator light and one burner. Repair is cheap--less than $25 for a big burner, less than $30 for either oven element, $6 bucks for an indicator light, etc. All of the heating elements, stove top and oven just plug in, couldn't be simpler.
Never use the timer function, set the clock at each time change, but seldom look at it.
As for self-cleaning oven, who wants it. Costs money to operate, probably reduces the life of every element of the stove (including the circuit board) because of heat.
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Thanks for all the input! Luckily the dripping element was outside the area over the pizza (mushrooms, onions, roasted garlic, pesto) -- and it was delicious -- with no short term health effects except extra pounds. The problem definitely wasn't related to food splatter -- the element looked like someone had gone at it with a cutting torch. While the fire was going, the display showed PF (power failure). It was only after I threw the breaker that the element stopped burning; once the breaker was reset, the dislay panel worked as though nothing had happened.
dpb was correct in the sequence of events: 1) the tech (under a service contract with Century Service Systems in Florida) arrived one week later 2) examined the element 3) came back 2 weeks later with a new one which he installed and determined was not working (by touch) 4) removed the rear cover (exposing the control board) 5) assumed it was a bad control board without making any test 6) left
One week later I get a call from the office telling me that a new board will be $250 (not covered under the service contract).
I do not use the broiler very often so I'm leaning towards leaving it as is, HOWEVER, the 'other half' wants it fixed (even if she's not willing to pony up the $250).
I do all the cooking and can't stand the flat top stoves (except for clean-up). No choice but to use electric (condo). I especially hate having to reach over the tops of the pots to turn the 'burners' on/ off. As for the features (self clean, timer, digital display) -- all things I can live without -- but I'll admit that in ant/bug ridden Florida, not having to deal with cleaning out the area under the stove-top is a definite plus.
Based on the info, I think I should get the service company to send out a tech who can determine whether there is current to the element and if there is an internal fuse. I'm also checking out other sources for control boards.
Thanks again for everyone's responses.
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Thanks for the reminder. I'll clean our oven today since it is very cold and the heat from the oven is just more heat that I need from some source anyway. I'd never do it in the summer when we run the AC though.
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On Feb 5, 10:31 pm, "George E. Cawthon" <GeorgeC-

OTOH, range here is of about the same vintage (GE w/ the microwave unit in the oven which I don't think is available any longer :( ) and the self-cleaning feature has been used regularly. Incremental cost isn't that much as it is used relatively infrequently and after a baking session so oven is already pre-warmed. Certainly can't tell it's had any effect on lifetime of any component as repair list is about the same as yours -- one oven element and needs a few of the neon indicator lights.
The timer is used virtually every day, multiple times a day and the timed bake cycle averages at least once/week. Personally, I would think that type of usage far more typical than not from my experience from grandparents to parents to our usage. But, if I were to go to a population that included my kids' generation and younger, the need or existence of a range at all would be almost totally optional...
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Jeff,
I'm not sure I follow the sequence of events. The service guy comes out, tests, diagnoses the problem (bad element and bad board), replaces the broiler element as authorized, and leaves because you won't authorize the board replacement. Is that right? Why did you authorize the broiler element? After the tests and diagnosis what did he say to you? Just a bad element? Bad element and a bad board? Does the oven element work? Like you, I'm surprised the breaker did not trip. PC boards can fail without "burn marks". I'm troubled by the absence of error codes. Why does the tech want to replace the board? How does he know that the new element isn't at fault or a wire?
Dave M.
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My guess is sequence of events went something like --
1. Replaced element w/ no prior diagnostics as it obviously failed. 2. Somewhat surprisingly, actually tried it before left. 3. Assumed board must be bad. 4. Failing to have one with him, had no clue of what else could be wrong and no idea how to find out.
It's not very surprising the element didn't draw enough current to trip the breaker. Turning off the broiler element at the oven should have been as effective as the breaker. If it wasn't, that would be a clue that there actually was another failure at the board level.
Not knowing what faults are and are not detectable by the onboard diagnostics, the lack of a failure code might or might not be of any significance. That's one thing the Whirlpool people should be able to provide. It might be there's a "reset" somewhere or a fuse in the line although if so, one would expect it to have gone earlier -- but, it's possible it was weakened then went when the power was reapplied if it exists. Could, of course, simply be a faulty replacement element -- somewhat unlikely, but not impossible. Or, it's possible a connection was also burnt when the element went as someone else suggested indirectly. If OP has a VOM, could measure voltage at the element connection to see if it is actually not getting power. I'm guessing that given that he/she called a tech to replace an element that isn't likely, though.
Could check w/ the online appliance parts places and see what the board costs that way for a quick comparison. Of course, if needs a tech to replace it, that's of little comfort, too...
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Usually when an element goes, it is just the element that is bad.
Could be the new element is defective, the tech installed it incorrectly, the switch for the broiler element burned, a wire melted between the switch and the element connection.
Most people never use the broiler element, some people use it a lot. If you don't use it much, then forget it.
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Does the stove have a set of fuses hidden away under the top panel or in the bottom drawer?
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Ther tech is probably right the board is bad. Why spend more bucks for another tech?
Just tell the service company you will pay for the board as long as it fixes the problem? No workingg board no $$ for them.
You should be able to find the wiring diagram on stove or at local parts place and look for fuse, which I doubt you will find, as a local parts store this mst of come up before.
as to self cleaning ovens that run the temp up to clean........
they have superior insulation and are higher end units so they are better made. frankly I wouldnt be without it, and only clean ours a couple times a year preferably in winter, the excess heat helps warm the house
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