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I have a GE double wall oven, model JTP45SD1SS1.

In July 2020, the heating element in the upper oven burned out while cooking (set to 350F) with bright flames and a loud hissing noise. I purchased a replacement WB44T10018 heating element and installed it.

On March 18th 2022, the element burned out again, this time during a cleaning cycle. Once again, I ordered a replacement element and installed it the day it arrived (March 24th).

Today, exactly two weeks after I installed the new element, it burst into flame while cooking (set to 400F).

It's possible that I just ended up with a bad replacement element (and I am requesting a replacement), but is there any other problem that could cause the element to burn up like this?

UPDATE: As discussed in the comments, none of the three burn-outs were anywhere near the connections. Here is a diagram of approximately where each element burned out:

burnouts

Note that the connection points are not actually inside the oven cavity - there is a metal plate on the back of the element (visible in the image above) that covers the hole in the rear wall and the spade connectors are behind that plate. The plate also has the hole for the screw that holds the element in place.


1 The model number on mine is printed as "JTP45S0D1SS", but as far as I can tell it is the same model.

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  • Contact GE service and make sure it is the right heating element. Probably it will fit different models, but need to be sure. Usually not much between the heating element and the plug in the wall(switch, thermostat) to cause them to burn up. Might just be a bad batch of replacements.
    – crip659
    Commented Apr 7, 2022 at 23:29
  • @crip659 Their official parts website says it's the correct element.
    – Moshe Katz
    Commented Apr 7, 2022 at 23:31
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    Where does the failure occur - some random spot along the element, or is it consistently right next to the connection point?
    – Mark
    Commented Apr 8, 2022 at 1:13
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    @Mark it's been in a different place all three times, none of them anywhere near the connection point. I'll edit the question with a diagram.
    – Moshe Katz
    Commented Apr 8, 2022 at 2:27
  • Is the element resting straight in the supports? I could see that if things are cockeyed where the element intersects the support it could overheat.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Apr 8, 2022 at 17:25

2 Answers 2

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It's not normal, and barring something I'm not expecting (nor accusing you of) like bending the element when installing it, there's no outside cause for an element (or "Calrod®" which is a major brand name - if you were searching for similar experiences) failure - that's the resistive element inside the sheath (metal tube that's the surface of the element) shorting to the grounded outside of the sheath, and it's impressive when it happens (as you know. Too well, by now...)

Here's an image from Wikipedia:Calrod cross section RayFrancoPhD, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

I've had one do that, and it was 50+ years old at the time, so it felt "reasonable." I've read about (and not experienced myself, for which I'm thankful) surface elements doing the same thing - and blowing holes in the bottom of pots as a result.

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  • Interesting. Magnesium is used as the fuel in a tracer round. It seems to be an odd choice in the heating element where a short could catch it on fire.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Apr 8, 2022 at 17:04
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    Magnesium Oxide - different. Already burnt, (oxidized) can't burn any more. Also not an electrical conductor, which magnesium metal certainly is.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Apr 8, 2022 at 17:21
  • ah, good point.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Apr 8, 2022 at 17:24
  • The picture of the inside of the element makes me think that it was almost certainly a defective part or that trauma during shipping dislodged part of the magnesium oxide layer. The first time I turned the oven on with the new element, I noticed that the glow was not even across the whole thing - It was brighter in some places and dimmer in others. Unfortunately, I don't remember if one of the brighter places (i.e. probably closer to the surface) was where it ended up breaking.
    – Moshe Katz
    Commented Apr 8, 2022 at 18:58
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Heating elements operate with the full voltage across them, so over-voltage is really not possible. They are turned on and off to set the temperature - on time longer the higher the temperature setting.

Bad parts are one possibility. It also could be a bad connection where the heating element's terminals are plugged into, screwed into the connections for the oven. A higher than normal connection resistance would overheat that connection.

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