On one front burner I have a big problem. I turn it on medium high until my water (or whatever) comes to a boil -- then, I turn it down to low heat (apx #2) -- and then many times, I look at it and the burner is bright red with an extremely high heat even though the dial is on low heat. What could be causing this?

Kenmore electric range model 911.93614010

3 Answers 3


IME, Most electric stoves rely on duty cycles to adjust the heat of a burner. They do not alter the "flow" of heat like a gas stove. The burner is either producing heat, or it is not. If you watch it long enough, I bet you could even time the patterns of the different temperature settings.

I would call the manufacturer and see if there are any known issues, defects or recalls. Otherwise, I'd chalk this up to it's normal mode of operation.


This is not normal. Telling people this is normal is dangerous and may lead to a fire.

I understand the temperature cycling process. The burner can only be on or off. The temperature control turns the burner on or off more or less frequently to keep it at the desired temperature. However, this mechanism can fail and the burner will turn on and not cycle off like it is supposed to. I have seen two stoves, built since 2000, where the burner control fails closed, not open.

The problem: The control is set to a low or medium heat, the burner goes red hot, stays red hot and does not turn off until the control knob is turned off or moved.
Solution: The burner temperature control knob on the stove is defective and needs to be replaced. On certain models an entire control board may need to be replaced.


Guessing: Sounds like the control for that element is dead and needs to be replaced.

Traditional electric ranges use a simple thermostatic timer mechanism to cycle the heating element on and off at varying speeds to control the heat output. The contacts can get stuck, or the timers heater may fail, leaving the element on continuously. It's faster and easier to swap in a new control module than to try to repair the existing one, and the component isn't very expensive.

If your stove has electronic controls, the equivalent repair would be a considetably bigger and more expensive problem.

  • I have a brand new stove with electronic controls and the burners cycle on and off, appearing bright red and very hot at times even on medium/low settings. This may be perfectly normal. May 30, 2015 at 15:09
  • Most of these thermostatic units are designed to fail "open" or off so they do not run constantly. I've never seen one with contacts that can stick closed after about 1970 ish. Jul 29, 2015 at 16:22
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    Well it happened to units made after 1970... my stove has two burners doing that very same thing. Turn it on a 1/4 and it gets bright red. Didn't do that new. If I wasn't watching it would burn up my pan and start a fire...turning bright red IS NOT NORMAL on low settings...
    – Mark
    Feb 1, 2017 at 0:53
  • Not in US, but I've seen it happen at least once. The contacts on simmerstats tend to weld closed pretty easily. Apr 20, 2017 at 8:20