I have an older GE electric stove: there are 6" & 8" burners.

If you set the heat to max the elements each and every one glow cherry red and you have to watch food to make sure it does not burn.

But below the one or two highest settings the burners not only don't glow; they don't seem to produce much heat. So they produce what I consider accurate heat, but only at the very highest settings.

I think the burners are old; should be replaced.

Is there an acceptable resistance value, that if I were to test the burners with a DM I could determine if they are defective/failing?

Thanks for reading

1 Answer 1


The burners on stoves are either on or off, there's no "variable" resistance in them. The "variable" part comes from the switch that has a bi-metal switch that varies the amount of time the burner is on. At low temperatures the switch opens fast so the burner doesn't get too hot. When you set the switch for high temperatures, the bi-metal switch stays on longer so the burner get hotter. It works like a thermostat on your AC or heater unit. the fact that the burners get red hot tells you that they are good. The switches are probably bad and are not making proper contact at the lower temp settings. Think of replacing them.

  • We have a 25 year old GE electric slide in range with coil burners. None of the four coils heats at all on the lowest part of the range. The one burner we use the most has lost the bottom 1/5 of the range. I swapped the coils on the worst burner and the other one that size and found that the controller is at fault not the coil. The only solution would be to replace all four burner controllers, but it would really not make sense to do this on a range of this quality and age. Aug 1, 2020 at 1:44
  • I had no idea that stove top burners were cycled on and off. I just assumed that a variable amount of current was passed to make them heat to a variable amount. #TIL and now I can go to bed happy.
    – FreeMan
    Aug 1, 2020 at 16:01
  • 1
    @FreeMan Glad I could put your mind at ease...
    – JACK
    Aug 1, 2020 at 16:13

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