How to Check an Oven Bake Element
How to Check An Oven Baked or Broil Element
If you are working on a wall oven, turn the broil element on to see if it gets red. Don't leave it on too long because that will heat up the oven cavity where you will be working.
After you confirm that you have 220 / 240 volts to the range or oven, you need to disconnect it from the electrical supply. In most cases that is simply a matter of unplugging the cord from the receptacle. On some ranges, and more often on wall ovens, you will find that the unit is hardwired into the electrical supply. Meaning that there is no cord to unplug and you will have to turn off the breaker at the service panel. The best way to confirm that you will be turning off the appropriate breaker to a range or oven is to open the door to confirm that the light comes on. Then go to the breaker panel and flip the breaker identified as the range or oven. If the breaker is not identified, it will be a double breaker since it is using both 120 volt circuits in the panel. Confirm that the light bulb is off when you return, and as a backup, turn on one of the burners or the broil element to see if it gets hot.
Once you have confirmed that there is no electricity to the range or wall oven, the easiest thing to do is to remove the oven racks. Before you do anything else, inspect the bake element real close. If you see a damaged area where the bake element is cracked or blown out, then you are done with your diagnosis. The bake element needs to be replaced. There is no need to check for voltage to the bake element, because in order for a bake element to blow out, it requires all 220 / 240 volts.
Assuming there is no damage to the bake element remove the screws that secure it to the rear wall of the oven cavity. Very gently now slide the element forward watching closely at the point where it makes the transition from the inside of the oven to the outside. Sometimes the ends of the elements curl upward; if that is the case the element needs to be tilted upward inside the cavity, to bring it through the two holes. The main reason for gently pulling it out is to present the wires from slipping off the terminals. If one of the wires comes off and you cannot fish it out from the inside of the oven, you will have to take the back off the oven or range to retrieve it.
A high percentage of the time you will find that the connector is separated from the wire that supplies the voltage to the bake element. If this is the case all you need to do is repair that wire with a new terminal and secure it back on the bake element. We know that the bake element is good because in order for that wire to burn off, current must be passing through the element causing friction where the wire is connected to the terminal. In order for current to pass through the wire the bake element must be intact, the circuit must be complete.
If the wires are intact, you can use an ohmmeter and check the bake element for resistance. You MUST REMOVE at least one of the wires from the bake element to check for resistance. Since the bake element does a lot of work, its resistance will be low. You can expect that a bake element will have a resistance somewhere between 2 and 15 ohms.
If you find that your digital meter just blinks, and does not indicate resistance, the circuit within the bake element is open, and it needs to be replaced. To confirm your diagnoses, touch the meter leads together and confirm that the meter reads zero resistance.