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Oct 17, 2013 05:52 AM

Cleaned electric stovetop, now one burner is shorting circuit

All burners were working fine yesterday. Today I did some cleaning with hot water and towels and now when I turn the dial on one of them the electricity on that whole circuit shuts off. The oven and other 3 burners work fine.

Any idea what this could be? It might be more livable had it been one of the back burners but it's the front large one.

It's such an old and ugly stove oven combo that if it's a costly fix id rather just buy a new one. Not in a hurry to call an electrician for same reason.

Just curious what I did lol...

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  1. Does the indicator light go on for the burner and the burner does no work?

    This might just mean the burner is not properly seated.

    If the indicator light does not go on, its likely a fuse went. There should be fuses somewhere in the stove.
    It could be that there was indeed a short (with excess moisture?), but the fuse blew, protecting the appliance and you.

    These are two easy fixes.

    Otherwise, more investigating might be needed - wiring gone bad (perhaps from cleaning, jiggling, age, etc), bad burner, etc.

    8 Replies
    1. re: porker

      Indicator light has never gone on since I've been using it (2years). I think it burned out long ago.

      The burners are not removable so I don't think it's a seating issue.

      My friend said it might be excess moisture. Do you think it may come back after drying or that it is just gone?

      Will have to ask the man where he keeps the pamphlet for the stove. I have a feeling his response will be "what pamphlet."

      Fuses are cheap I think? I have no idea where that thing would even be. I explored the beast pretty well yesterday except for the back.


      1. re: youareabunny

        I'm suspecting the moisture thing as well, since it was working before the cleaning, but obviously, I can't be sure.

        If the coil shorted out due to moisture, the fuse likely blew. Once the fuse is replaced, the moisture gone (naturally in a couple of days or so - unless you dumped a gallon in there), you should be back in business and avoid costly repairman or replacement costs.

        Fuses are cheap. Older types like this
        are not everyday items, but can usually be found in larger home centers or hardware stores.
        You can usually tell when they're burned as the conductor inside the glass is broken and blackish. Sometimes it isn't obvious.
        They're color coded for amperage (blue for 15 amps orange for 20, etc), so if replacing, use same colored fuses. Might be a good idear to get an extra or two.

        First thing, you gotta find the suckers. I haven't had an electric stove in over 30 years, so don't quite remember where they are, but I'm thinking somewhere in the top control panel, maybe at the back. Sometimes you gotta remove a small access panel.
        Might be a good idear to un-plug the stove or shut the circuit breaker before poking inside...

        1. re: porker

          Oh definitely. I'm minimizing poking for now.

          So say I did blow a fuse. Isn't that the connection to... everything else? Because it still shuts off everything when I use it. Like I turn the dial and the kitchen light, oven and microwave turn off and I have to flip the switch on the electricity box.

          I'm good at a lot of things but not anything having to do with electronics. I buy brand new computers that are already broken. Then someone fixes them for me, then I break them again.

          This is a strange stove - no coil, no glass. Just raised metal rounds. There is a thin gap where water could've gone but otherwise they don't look removable at all. And I fear what's behind the stove....

          1. re: youareabunny

            OK, your problem is not as simple as I thought.

            "I turn the dial and the kitchen light, oven and microwave turn off and I have to flip the switch on the electricity box"

            Usually, there are internal fuses in the stove which will blow before your panel breaker (switch on electricity box) shuts off.

            So everything else is OK: you can turn on other burners and your kitchen light, etc stay on?
            If this is the case, then that one particular burner is shorting out when turned on ( you clearly said in the OP...).

            My only suggestion would be to wait a coupla days to see if a moisture causing problem will evaporate.
            Maybe run a hot hair dryer over any cracks to try to speed up the process.

            Internal stove fuses are not the problem - its somewhere between your on/off dial and the guilty burner.

            Wait a few days and give it another try - kinda like dropping your phone in water: let it completely dry before atttempting to turn it on.

            Good luck, lemmee know what happens.

            1. re: porker

              Ahhh I was thinking about the dial too! Ok my friend told me to stop messing with it cuz I don't need to play with the circuit breaker so much.

              Yes the offending burner/dial shut down the whole kitchen and hallway I believe. But all the other dials and oven work just fine.

              I've put orange masking tape on the dial and I will try not to touch it for a few days. A week maximum. Hopefully it will dry out and be a-ok. As much as i want to just buy a new stove (this one deserves to burn) we will be moving within the year so it's not worth it.

              Thanks for your support through this trying time :). Will let u know mr porker. Really hoping I won't need to poke back there because that's just begging for trouble. I'm the type that throws instructions away and just goes for it

            2. re: youareabunny

              The only way that can happen is if there is a 110v circuit in addition to the usual 220v circuit for the heating elements. What is the make and model of the stove?

              1. re: GH1618

                All I know is that it is old and french! So finding a manual online will be hard and on top of that, it'll be in french lol.

      2. I don't understand what you mean "whole circuit shuts off." An electric range should be on one 220v circuit, and if there is a short, the circuit breaker should trip, which would shut off the entire range.

        You may have a loose connection. You need to turn off the circuit and look at the wiring to that burner. If you can't do this yourself, ask someone who can.

        4 Replies
        1. re: GH1618

          As you likely know,
          An "electrician" could have branched off one phase of the circuit for lights, plugs, etc.

          Or the electrician could have used two single-pole breakers to supply 220 and only one phase is being affected.

          or a combination, or somebody screwed up the house wiring in general,
          or its a faulty main entrance breaker thats tripping

          I agree, if you can't resolve the issue (or if its ONLY a moisture problem which resolves itself), ask someone.

          1. re: porker

            If there is nonstandard wiring (as it seems), it could be dangerous. If it were my kitchen, I would disconnect the range promptly and have the wiring inspected.

            1. re: GH1618

              We power our wall oven and our cooktop off the same breaker in our fuse box. This is not a problem as long as your wiring is an appropriately heavy gauge. If we instead had a freestanding range with oven and burners, we would be only using a single breaker connection - so there's not a lot of difference. just make sure the wiring is heavy enough gauge, the wiring splitter is solid (preferably greased up with a good dielectric) and you use metal conduit. The metal conduit is used to shield the wires and is important because, if something goes wrong, a short won't start a fire or electrocute anyone.

          2. re: GH1618

            When I turn the dial for that burner, everything in the kitchen shuts off. I guess it trips my circuit breaker. So I have to turn the button on the circuit breaker for the kitchen back on. It only happens with that burner, the other burners work fine.

          3. Most likely you have got water somewhere it should not be. You may be able to fix this yourself. First, make sure you have the power switched off at the fuse box - should be a 220 volt breaker. Then you can flip up the burner coil and even remove it - this at least allows you to examine and clean the contacts and, if you wish, replace cheaply with a new burner coil. Then I'd suggest examining the cavity underneath the burner - if you have standing water there, that's your answer, you should get the water out - disposable diapers may help you dry things out better. If you don't see standing water anywhere, then the short or water is hidden somewhere in the bowels of your stovetop (Not sure that a simple stovetop has that many places for water to hide). Rather than disassemble the whole thing, you could try using heat to dry the water out - leave the offending coil disconnected or at least swung upwards - reconnect the circuit breaker at the fusebox and leave all the other burners on high for a few hours - see if that dries things out enough for the bad burner to turn on without shorting anything. If none of that works, I'm not a fan of getting random folks in to make these kinds of repairs - get a new stovetop or, if money is tight, check the consignment stores.

            1 Reply
            1. re: kagemusha49

              Yes I think it is water that is causing the problem. This is a strange stove design I've never seen before and the burner plates don't look easily removable at all.

              And I agree I'm not too interested in having someone come in. Normally I'd find this as perfect opportunity to replace this crap stove however we will be moving within a year so I'd rather not. But obviously if it truly is fried then I'll look into buying a cheap or used one so I won't sell new owners a broken stove.

            2. Not all appliances are 220v, my oven can be hooked up to 110v, or 220v. Depending on how old it is, it may be 110v.

              My cooktop did the same thing, but it only affects the cook top.I pulled it out, and took it apart to see what was going on with it. There are no fuses on mine, but what was wrong was one of the burner controls had finally worn out creating a short. I just disconnected, and isolated that circuit since it was a burner I rarely use anyway. That was the odd part, the switch I rarely used was the one that caused the problem.

              1 Reply
              1. re: BIGGUNDOCTOR

                like mrs porker always tells me, "use it or lose it"

              2. Monday morning, it's back!! It just needed to dry! Yesssssssssssss

                I'm never cleaning it again! Ok ok I'll just be more careful with the water. I just hate cleaners, so stinky. Thanks everyone :)

                6 Replies
                  1. re: porker

                    Electrical resistance coils pop right out of their receptacles and are fairly inexpensive to replace. It's important to keep the contacts free from grease and other contaminants, and obviously water. Always have a fire extinguisher within easy reach of a stove or toaster oven.

                    1. re: Veggo

                      bunny's coils are the solid type and are seemingly not pop-out friendly.
                      I'm just sayin.

                        1. re: Veggo

                          To make mattters worse, its apparently a French stove and an old one at that!
                          "Allo, Marseille?..."

                      1. re: Veggo

                        I've been avoiding a pic of said burner due to the dirt I just can't pick off but for clarity's sake here goes.

                        And yes it's french. I call it a merde stove!