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Our ovens (double-stacked Nutone Hotpoint circa 1960s) are old:

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About 2 months ago, we noticed that the bottom one - which had been running great for years - wouldn't get any hotter than just "kind of warm". No matter what we set it to (Bake 500 degrees, Broil, etc.) and no matter how long we waited, the bottom oven would never get anywhere past 100 degrees or so. No big whoop, because we still had the top one working fine.

Well now the top one is doing the same exact thing which means we're out of a usable oven. This is a very big whoop.

Ideally, I'd like to troubleshoot, diagnose & repair the ovens. I just find it strange that these 2 ovens have been running strong since the 1960s and now they both go within a few months of each other.

I'm not sure where to even begin troubleshooting. For one, they certainly could use a cleaning, so I think I'd like to start there. But I have to ask: what steps/processes should I go through to figure out what is going on with these?

  • I can only offer a general idea that if both the bottom and top heating elements to the oven are acting the same way, I would start with trying to identify where the temperature sensor exists and check or replace that. Odds are the reason they both failed about the same time and are exhibiting the same behavior is because something in both has reached the end of the road. – treeNinja Sep 11 '14 at 20:38
  • Thanks @treeNinja - so would these ovens share the same temp sensor? If that's the case, then I could understand how it would affect them both, but still strange that the sensor would continue working for one for several months... any ideas as to how I would access the temp sensor? Thanks again! – smeeb Sep 11 '14 at 21:11
  • I would envision two distinct sensors, one for each oven. Generally it is something that sits within the oven itself. That's pretty much the extent of my knowledge however. Hopefully someone else here can provide some more input. – treeNinja Sep 11 '14 at 21:23
  • Could be a bad element, which can be checked by measuring the resistance across the element. Compare the value you get to the specifications on the oven, or in the manufactures documentation. The more likely culprit, is a bad thermostat. Not sure how to replace the thermostat in your specific oven, but you should be able to find documentation on the Internet. – Tester101 Sep 12 '14 at 14:37
  • Thanks @Tester101 - 2 quick followups: (1) did you mean "...measuring the resistance across the element...", or did you actually mean residence? If so, what is "residence"? And (2) What's the difference between: (a) thermocouple, (b) temp sensor and (c) thermostat? Thanks again! – smeeb Sep 12 '14 at 16:59
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I'm guessing that coiled up wire at the top right is the thermocouple. Do I see a silver tip thing on the end of it? You can splice thermocouple wires if you use ceramic wire nuts, otherwise you have to trace that back to behind the control panel. Here's some good info at Appliance411. I'm not to keen on electric ovens, but with the door open and perhaps a fan blowing in, I'd like to think you'd see the elements glow at least briefly in order to eliminate element or control knob problems.

  • Thanks @Mazura - so are you suggesting that the problem is with the thermocouple or with the temp sensor? Or are these units one in the same? – smeeb Sep 12 '14 at 12:56
  • It's the same thing and the only reason other than element failure or a knob issue. Doesn't sound like a lose power line as they failed independently. @smeeb – Mazura Sep 12 '14 at 13:49
  • Thanks again @Mazura - can you please confirm that there my problem is one of three possible things: (1) bad thermocouple, (2) bad element or (3) bad knob? If so, are there any other articles/blogs/etc. that you can point me to for troubleshooting the element and knob? I'd like to troubleshoot everything that is a potential candidate and hopefully find the rotten egg in the bunch. Thanks again! – smeeb Sep 12 '14 at 14:56
  • I can't really confirm any of this guess work, but a thermocouple is the first thing I'd try to replace. @smeeb – Mazura Sep 12 '14 at 17:52

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