Electric Range - Failing on High Heat

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burt
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Electric Range - Failing on High Heat

Post by burt » Sat Mar 09, 2019 8:15 am

Wondering if anyone has experienced this failure mode on an electric range.
GE electric range, coil heating elements, 3 years old.
Temperature knob is set to 2 (simmer). 30 minutes later the pot is at a high boil and the element is glowing red hot.
This has happened 3 times over the past 2 weeks. Also has happened on 2 different burners.
Needless to say I consider this a serious safety issue.
Rather than repair the unit, I will most likely replace it with a different manufacturer. I don't trust that the replacement part is any different. Also this could be a serious design flaw which a replacement part would not fix.

Thank-you for any advice or comments.

burt

Nowizard
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Re: Electric Range - Failing on High Heat

Post by Nowizard » Sat Mar 09, 2019 8:50 am

Element obviously OK. Had same issue, and it turned out to be the thermister (sp) that regulates the heat. Costs about $20. Our range is a GE Monogram, and the thermistor can be replaced easily, even if you are not much of a handyman (I'm not with that type of thing). May be worth a shot to talk to a person at a supply store. An easy fix, if there is one, would be preferable to a new range.

Tim

sawdust60
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Re: Electric Range - Failing on High Heat

Post by sawdust60 » Sat Mar 09, 2019 5:47 pm

Not a GE, but I've had a problem with the knobs. The plastic cracks, and the knobs' position does not match to indicate the true state of off-lo-med-hi. I added reinforcement over the outside of the knob; the hardware store had some clear vinyl tubing (and very tight fitting).

Also, there are metal inserts in the knobs. Remove each knob and confirm that each knob has the insert. If the insert remains on the control, and then a different knob with an insert is pushed onto that control, the insert will be pushed further onto the shaft. It may not be a problem for that control, but then there is a knob/shaft with a missing insert, and that will have a problem.

Image

iamlucky13
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Re: Electric Range - Failing on High Heat

Post by iamlucky13 » Mon Mar 11, 2019 1:43 am

I've had a similar issue with a Samsung range, with two burners so far (both of the dual-element burners). It was the "infinity switch" that controls how much of the time the elements are supposed to be on, based on the knob position. Ours gradually increased who much they stayed on until we no longer had any doubt they were malfunctioning.

The replacement part I received is a different brand from the original. I'm hoping that is because Samsung realized they had a quality issue and changed to something better.

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lthenderson
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Re: Electric Range - Failing on High Heat

Post by lthenderson » Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:32 am

sawdust60 wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 5:47 pm
Not a GE, but I've had a problem with the knobs. The plastic cracks, and the knobs' position does not match to indicate the true state of off-lo-med-hi. I added reinforcement over the outside of the knob; the hardware store had some clear vinyl tubing (and very tight fitting).

Also, there are metal inserts in the knobs. Remove each knob and confirm that each knob has the insert. If the insert remains on the control, and then a different knob with an insert is pushed onto that control, the insert will be pushed further onto the shaft. It may not be a problem for that control, but then there is a knob/shaft with a missing insert, and that will have a problem.

Image
I have the same problems on knobs that look the same. I have always used zip ties as reinforcement but have to finagle the zip tie head through the hole in the sheet metal. I'm definitely going to have to look at clear tubing next time.

adamthesmythe
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Re: Electric Range - Failing on High Heat

Post by adamthesmythe » Mon Mar 11, 2019 10:27 am

I would try nowizard's approach first.

This sounds like the car repair discussions, that you may be making an excuse to get a new range. The difference is that the cost of an attempted repair is negligible and it's not messy to try it.

Big Dog
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Re: Electric Range - Failing on High Heat

Post by Big Dog » Mon Mar 11, 2019 10:35 am

no way I'd replace a 3-year old range. Electric burners are rather basic with simple parts to fix. Instead of purchasing new, you could have a GE authorized repairman come out for ~$95 service fee + a few bucks for parts.

OTOH, if you really want to change out the color....

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burt
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Re: Electric Range - Failing on High Heat

Post by burt » Tue Mar 12, 2019 7:43 am

OP here.
Thanks for your replies and suggestions.
It's not the plastic knob.
I set heat to simmer (#2) and 15 minutes later the coil is glowing red hot as if the heat is set to HI (#10) and the pot is boiling over. This has happened 3 times on 2 different burners.
What really bugs me is that the design is not fail safe. I would expect that a component failure would result in heat being turned off. Back in my working days, fail safe was mandatory for design.
After using ovens for 50+ years, this is the first one that failed on high heat. I really don't want to replace a 3 year old oven, but I also don't want to burn the house down.

burt

captpete
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Re: Electric Range - Failing on High Heat

Post by captpete » Tue Mar 12, 2019 7:49 am

We had a similar issue with our 1980 model JennAir range top. I researched and found that it was the "Infinity Switch" as mentioned in an earlier reply.

I found one on GenuineReplacementParts.com for $60.

Good luck

jstat
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Re: Electric Range - Failing on High Heat

Post by jstat » Tue Mar 12, 2019 8:21 am

The Infinite Switch https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infinite_switch . So that's how the stove works. Also a good name for a band or album.

drawpoker
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Re: Electric Range - Failing on High Heat

Post by drawpoker » Tue Mar 12, 2019 8:12 pm

This is scary. Similar thing happened on my 25Year+ Whirlpool model some time ago.

Set a big pot of water with potpourri on one of the smaller burners on the low setting to simmer, thinking to give the house a nice scent for hours. Actually, it did simmer for a few hours just as expected. But, good thing I did not go to bed for the night. Somehow, hours later, the burner jumped from low to "high". Steam coming out of the kitchen - went to investigate, the pot of potpourri was at a heavy boil, almost getting dry. Thank God the knob managed to function when I turned it to "off' position, crisis was soon over.

To this day I am convinced I would have had a kitchen fire if I had gone to bed. Never called in repairman, just assumed that dirt/grime/grease over the years had accumulated inside the knob to such an extent that turning the knob could no longer be relied upon. Even a slight vibration (maybe next-door townhouse neighbor driving a nail to hang a picture?)
caused the slippage. Still hard to understand how it could slip all the way from "low" to "high" though. :?

OP, if you are experiencing this on more than one burner, and your unit is only 3 years old, the problem is clearly quite more serious than mine.

quantAndHold
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Re: Electric Range - Failing on High Heat

Post by quantAndHold » Tue Mar 12, 2019 9:54 pm

How long is the warranty on your 3 year old range?

Regardless, repair is probably cheap, and stoves tend to last forever.

iamlucky13
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Re: Electric Range - Failing on High Heat

Post by iamlucky13 » Wed Mar 13, 2019 9:34 pm

burt wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 7:43 am
OP here.
Thanks for your replies and suggestions.
It's not the plastic knob.
I set heat to simmer (#2) and 15 minutes later the coil is glowing red hot as if the heat is set to HI (#10) and the pot is boiling over. This has happened 3 times on 2 different burners.
What really bugs me is that the design is not fail safe. I would expect that a component failure would result in heat being turned off. Back in my working days, fail safe was mandatory for design.
After using ovens for 50+ years, this is the first one that failed on high heat. I really don't want to replace a 3 year old oven, but I also don't want to burn the house down.

burt
It's always been a possibility for a range to fail on, but it sounds like this time you got a defective part such that it actually happened to you.

Fail safe generally means a failure is not worse than normal operation. The range itself should be able to remain at maximum heat indefinitely. It's whatever you are cooking that could be a concern.

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