Last night, I started my home's Jenn-air gas stove/oven as normal, got the usual clicking and sparking but upon ignition, I heard a rather loud pop, saw sparks coming from behind the stove (I think, it all happened very fast), smelled something like burning plastic, and it cut the house electricity (or that bank) off and then it came back on, resetting one or two surge protectors in different rooms.

I peered behind the stove but couldn't see any blackened spots and the power cord comes out down low not high where I think I saw the flash of sparks. or it could be the sparks came from the top burner on/off knob. i put my nose to it and did smell that burning plastic smell.

The breaker did not pop such that I had to go reset it. rather, when the event happened, everything on the circuit flickered and went on/off, lights, laptop, etc.

I guess this is a job for the appliance repairman, right? And that I shouldn't retest the oven on my own?

the oven is over 10 years old. given the issue, it might be best and most cost effective to get a new one. then again, perhaps it's a simple fix.

Thoughts? Suggestions?

Elsewhere, I read the following: Suppose your circuit breaker trips the moment you turn on your stove. If that’s the case, then that’s a tell-tale sign that the problem is somewhere in the stove itself. However, if you’re using the stove normally and the breaker trips a little later, then that’s a sign that your breaker is the one with the problem instead. Quite often, the problem here is that the breaker is too weak or undersized to keep up with the energy demands of the stove.

In my case, the breaker did its momentary breaking right when I turned the stove on, suggesting that the problem is with the stove and not the breaker. what say you?

edit: below are pics of the breaker box and of the stove outlet.

  • If the breaker did its breaking job then you would have had to reset it. The fact that it ddid not do its breaking job even with all the excitement happening is concerning though ...
    – brhans
    Jun 30, 2021 at 16:39
  • 1
    @brhans Unless it's an CAFCI or GFCI breaker then why would you expect it to trip. A spark doesn't necessarily indicate that the amperage draw was exceeded.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Jun 30, 2021 at 16:54
  • @MonkeyZeus - "and it cut the house electricity (or that bank) off and then it came back on" - seems like more than just some sparks.
    – brhans
    Jun 30, 2021 at 17:01
  • 2
    @brhans OP doesn't sound confident in their assessment/experience. "house electricity" could refer to far too many rooms on a single breaker; we don't know.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Jun 30, 2021 at 17:06

2 Answers 2


Yikes turn the breaker off.

Since you saw arcs and sparks something is probably loose

The items to check are in no order if once they stove is out you see more check that location.

examine the receptacle, including the condition of the plug

Examine the cord and where it entered the stove, if there are screw terminals verify they are not loose.

It is also possible the “glow worm” or hot surface ignighter wiring shorted out check that area a loose wire is more likely but a small gauge wire could have shorted burning off the wire prior to the breaker tripping.

These are the areas I would look at and since you saw sparks there was probably a loose connection arcing or possibly a conductor shorting to ground but there are normally telltale arc marks close to the problem area.

Maybe I missed this the first time breakers do not reset them selves! A loss of power on 1 leg is a serious failure in the distribution system. I would want to inspect the panel, specifically the lugs to make sure they were not arcing, next I would inspect the buss connection. Depending on the type of panel this could be a problem that will get worse. I believe that the stove was at fault. However, if other things on that branch went out there is a secondary problem. It may be further out on the utility side but your panel, the lug and buss connections need to be evaluated. I would suggest a pro we will see things that you will not and they have knowledge of what is right or wrong but if you examine things at least call the utility and notify them you had a loss of 1 leg temporary.

The problem could be on the utility side but a panel inspection is needed.

  • yup, OP is not at all confident when it comes to these things.
    – linter
    Jun 30, 2021 at 18:45
  • let me add that the main box is very old and stuffed full of wires and two or three months ago an electrician said the whole damn thing should be cleaned at the least ($800) or better still changed completely and upgraded ($4000). at the time, i had a breaker go bad, so i just replaced that breaker but i fear lots of other things are about to go bad, too. i'm going to unplug the stove now and ponder my next move.
    – linter
    Jun 30, 2021 at 18:48
  • Right now is a tough time to get someone so $ have increased, if you could add a picture of the panel we may be able to better advise you on what is needed. It’s always a good idea to get a couple of quotes and references.
    – Ed Beal
    Jun 30, 2021 at 18:59
  • i added a pic of the panel and of the stove outlet in the first post. couldn't figure out how to add em in a comment. looked at the stove best i could w/ flashlight and didn't see scorch marks or anything like that. the plug looks good too. yes, very expensive, esp since i live in $an diego thanks for your help!
    – linter
    Jun 30, 2021 at 20:11

Welcome, you have a serious problem. Since I cannot inspect it directly I will take a guess. It sounds like a bad connection between the range and the breaker box, Is that the breaker that you replaced? What brand of breaker is it, there were some out there that would not trip and you would experience something similar to what you are asking about. I will assume you are living in a fire trap and if anybody is sleeping there they are in danger. It appears you are not qualified to find and repair the problems yourself so do the right thing and hire a professional.In the meantime be sure all of your fire and CO detectors are operating properly and all exits are not blocked.

  • Gil, since the lighting was affected this goes further back than the stove and breaker box, yes it could just be a back stab or a bad connection but with the limited info more needs to be evaluated as there were 2 problems, the stove arcing and a momentary loss of power on the lighting circuit, we don’t know if it is the same circuit at this point and normally the stove would not be on the lighting circuit but on one of the small appliance branch circuits. Stating someone lives in a fire trap with the information provided is not supported someone sleeping in danger earns a down vote!
    – Ed Beal
    Jun 30, 2021 at 20:44
  • sadly, the labels for the BB are ancient and don't single out the range. see pic. i.imgur.com/4JtQhfZ.jpg wouldn't the most likely one be the one labeled fridge? let's see. the breaker i replace are the 15 doubles, lower left, and they're related to the bedroom / bath. which isn't to say they aren't for the range, too. i dunno. but after gil's response, i am a good bit freaked out. and worried that i won't be able to get an electrician here any time soon.
    – linter
    Jun 30, 2021 at 22:54
  • I understand, my parents home caught on fire, they found a bad connection in the wall. Symptoms were similar. They they were not injured. Just be safe!
    – Gil
    Jul 1, 2021 at 14:25
  • any further thoughts, ed? gil: got it, understood.
    – linter
    Jul 1, 2021 at 15:08

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