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
I left the oven door ajar and within 30 seconds there was a loud bang,
of light and a portion of the element was burning brightly (like a
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
had melted almost to its core) but the element won't heat up. He
back cover of the range and visually examined the circuit board. There
evidence of damage. The display panel works, the oven element works,
the surface burners work; when set to broil, the display shows 500
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
some indication -- such as a burn mark.
The range still works fine except for the broiler.
On 5 Feb 2007 02:21:05 -0800, " email@example.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?
#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
#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
If you still want a broiler you will need a new board.
solid state stuff is wonderful till it breaks
Personally, I can't imagine what use a solid state
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?
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
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!
You are probably right, the initial cost is less.
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.
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
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/
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.
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.
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...
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?
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...
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.
Ther tech is probably right the board is bad. Why spend more bucks for
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
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