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We've got burners that flop between partially-lit states, mainly by starting like

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after being on a while, switching to

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sometimes some of them do this, and then we stop using them

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What's going on?

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Electric coils that are that uneven I would replace, sooner rather than later.

I have personally experienced the end of an oven element when one of the "hot spots" burnt through and it was happily arcing away. Fortunately I was in the kitchen and noticed it right away so I could shut things down, as it did not trip the breaker.

I have read of the same thing on a stovetop coil burning a hole through the bottom of a pot.

Fortunately they are generally quite inexpensive. I would replace the whole set, myself.

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