Self-Clean Range Will Not Work

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We have a ten-year old GE self-cleaning glass-top electric range. My wife had never used the self-cleaning feature mainly because of the high electricity consumption (she says).
Anyway, because she is now disabled, leaving me to become chief cook and bottle-washer, I find that I now need to clean the oven. I decided I would try the self-cleaning feature to ease my tasks a little.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the cleaning cycle would only run some 10 minutes before tripping the 220 breaker. When I reset the breaker, and tried it again, it did the same. Three times before I quit, fearing that there must be an overload. The breaker is a 40-amp'er.
I can and did clean the oven manually, with easy-off, and can continue to do so. But I am wondering why this all happened.
What does everyone think?
xiexie
Wei
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We have a ten-year old GE self-cleaning glass-top electric range. My wife had never used the self-cleaning feature mainly because of the high electricity consumption (she says).
Anyway, because she is now disabled, leaving me to become chief cook and bottle-washer, I find that I now need to clean the oven. I decided I would try the self-cleaning feature to ease my tasks a little.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the cleaning cycle would only run some 10 minutes before tripping the 220 breaker. When I reset the breaker, and tried it again, it did the same. Three times before I quit, fearing that there must be an overload. The breaker is a 40-amp'er.
I can and did clean the oven manually, with easy-off, and can continue to do so. But I am wondering why this all happened.
What does everyone think?
xiexie
Wei
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On 5/6/2012 1:24 PM, snipped-for-privacy@taiwan.com wrote:

I'll admit this may be a long shot but I'd start by checking the actual current draw with a clamp on amp meter.
And while I had the panel cover off, I'd check to make sure the wires at the breaker were tight. Prolly pull the breaker and check the buss for signs of overheating as well.
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Self cleaning ovens typically work on a catalytic process. The use of Easy Off likely killed that process.
Can't say for sure as you did not list the make and model.
As to tripping the breaker it could well be a defective breaker but you need either an electrician or the skill set of one to make that determination.
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On 5/6/2012 12:32 PM, NotMe wrote: ...

I'm unaware of any pyrolytic-process self-cleaning ovens that actually have any catalytic action...they simply heat hot enough to char most food residue to ash. The catalytic cleaning cycles are those that operate at normal cooking temperatures and don't have a separate high-temperature cleaning cycle.

He did say it is a GE; specific make/model is likely immaterial to this particular issue...

There I'm inclined to agree it's a good possibility especially if the breaker is getting along in age. I had a similar problem w/ the A/C unit last year that I kept futzing with trying to figure out why the compressor (I thought) was drawing excess current. Turns out it was the breaker itself that was simply overheating and tripping. Replace breaker and voila! problem solved.
As another posted, it would be _a_good_thing_ (tm) to actually check the current draw, but that it took a while to trip each time makes me suspect the breaker. The possibility of a poor connect there adding to the heating is always there, too, of course.
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circuit breakers are designed to become more sensitive as they age. the self cleaning ranges burn off the spilled stuff, no catalytic action involved. the cat cleaner ovens are continious clean. they dont work as well.
most breakers are pretty cheap i would pull main power and replace the range breaker. that wll likely fix it.........
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On 5/6/2012 3:01 PM, bob haller wrote:

Nonsense.
Wasn't that what I just got through saying (other than the judgment; I've not had a continuous clean so I can't make a comparison)?????
They're still "self-cleaning" whether continuous or not...

Well, given the followup of the OP on tripping the breaker w/ all off, it appears there's more wrong than a possibly failing breaker...
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You sound like my wife.

Cleaning every few years is not all much of a pain either.
Another thing that is bothering me is that when I was cleaning the oven yesterday with the easy-off, I laid a wet rag on top of the oven element (oven switch was off of course) which was cold and it popped (a short) tripping the breaker too. Scared me. Really, when you think about it, there should not have been any juice in the element. So something must be wrong. I tested the oven just now, and all seems okay as far as heating is concerned.
xiexie
Wei
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On 5/6/2012 3:55 PM, snipped-for-privacy@taiwan.com wrote:

Yah, time to call a pro.
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After clearing the circuit breaker I'd be tempted to suspect the element. Since it takes some running time for the problem to occur it appears that component replacement is your only alternative. If you can, I'd try this first--with the oven on and the element hot, tap the element several times in different locations. If there is an intermittent short you might make the breaker trip. I don't think that you can do this in the cleaning mode as there I think that there is a door interlock. Maybe open the door during the cleaning cycle (before the problem) tap the element and start it up again. MLD
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I agree for sure. Monday is a workday unlike today. I plan to put a test meter on the element to see what I see. Then I will remove the circuit breaker box cover so I can look at the breaker as well as check the tightness of the breaker's screws and the condition of the wire contacts involved. I know how to do that, and know how to change a breaker, but I might still bring in an electrician just to be sure all is okay. As I said, my wife is disabled, with dementia, and I don't have the time any more to handle things like this, and certainly need to worry about how this could affect her.
We cooked a meal tonight in the oven, and it went okay.
xiexie
Wei
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On 05/06/2012 06:20 PM, snipped-for-privacy@taiwan.com wrote:

If putting a wet rag on an element caused the breaker to blow, the problem is in the range itself
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philo wrote:

To trip on that kind of load, there'd almost have to be a ground fault detector in the system somewhere. I doubt you could push 15 or 20 amps through a wet rag, and pop a regular breaker on current. But something like a GFCI, is would make milliamps to trip one of those. Do they use something like that now (as code) ? Would there be ground fault detection in the range itself ? Sounds pretty weird. A regular breaker shouldn't be that easy to trip.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Residual-current_device
Paul
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On 5/7/2012 12:21 AM, Paul wrote: ...

I'm thinking that (the rag) was coincidental to whatever actually caused the breaker to trip unless there's a bare connection or somesuch that it jarred to ground to the range body which is at ground...
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Not in the USA NEC, that's for sure.

Not in any range I've ever heard of. It would just be another expense, so why would they do it? And even if there were, then that GFCI would be tripping, not the panel breaker, which is what happened.
Sounds pretty weird.

Agree. The odd thing here is that a heating element with the oven shut off would have power on it at all. I guess it's possible they only switch one side of the 240V. In that case, a short to ground would result in a 120V path. If that is the scenario, then the wet rag could have completed a short that was partial to begin with. As could the extra high heat from the clean cycle.
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On 05/07/2012 07:58 AM, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Bottom line: the OP needs to get it fixed and by someone who knows what they are doing. Even 115 volts can be fatal!
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wrote:

Even that shouldn't happen. The heating element is ceramic with the heating wire running through the core, so it's surface is totally insulated. Although it's connected across 240v, a stove is basically a 120v device. The panel breaker assembly has two 120v breakers, one to each 120v bus. All stove elements are 120v, and wired so that in normal use the load is equalized from each 120v bus to neutral.
Something that puzzles me is that the stove's fuses haven't popped. The only difference between self-cleaning and normal operation is that the oven elements are on continuously for an extended period. The oven (bottom) and broiler (top) elements altermate during the self-cleaning. The OP's breaker trips at ten minutes, but in normal usage the oven elements could be on for up to 15 minutes continuously to reach operating temperature. Also, during self-cleaning the top burners are usually disabled, so the electrical load should be no more than normal oven usage. There's something else going on here which will require checking of the entire circuit from stove to panel bus connections.
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With 240V across the heating elements, a stove is *not* a 120V device. If it is then so is a water heater, a dryer and anything else that runs off 240V

I'll bet you I can find ovens where the heating elements are 240V and connected directly across the 240V. And I would bet that's most of them.

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On Tue, 8 May 2012 12:01:04 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net"

The clocks (and any electronics) are often run off 120V, though I think what he means is that no point of the (NA) stove is more than 120V from ground.

I don't think you're reading this the way he wrote it. Try the above paragraph again. ;-)
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On Wed, 9 May 2012 06:12:56 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net"

You're right, he was OK until "All stove elements are 120v, and wired so that in normal use the load is equalized from each 120v bus to neutral". There is only 120V (to ground) at any point, though.
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