It can be a worrying thought when you realise that your cooker has broken and about the money you might need to pay an engineer to repair it. However, sometimes, repairing your cooker can save you hundreds of pounds compared to buying a brand new one straight away.
That’s why in this article, we will explain some of the common faults that can happen to cookers, what you can do to fix them, and when it might be time to purchase a new cooker.
You can expect around 10 years of life out of a new cooker from the time that you purchase it. Even then, given how well-built modern cookers are, you may enjoy up to 25 years of use. For most people, the only time they consider replacing their cookers (especially if they have fitted kitchen units) is on the installation of a brand-new kitchen.
Modern cookers are very energy efficient and, compared to models from the 1990s and 2000s, you’ll spend a lot less on your gas and electricity bills when you’re using it. All cookers however do lose energy efficiency over time and even if your cooker continues to work after its first 10 years, it may be more economical for you to swap it for a new model. The reduction in your utility bills should mean that your new cooker pays for itself over a few years.
The ten major faults homeowners experience with their cookers are:
If your oven is not heating up, then the likelihood is that either your fan element, oven elements, or both have failed. It’s possible to buy the parts and replace them yourself but it’s a difficult job and you may feel more comfortable calling in an oven engineer to do it for you.
The other main cause behind your oven not heating up is a fault with the main changeover switch – that’s the control on your oven that switches between turning the grill or oven function on. A less common reason is the failure of the safety thermostat or the thermal fuse.
If your oven seems to be overheating all the time, meaning that your food ends up being burned even if you’ve put it in at the right temperature for the right length of time, this is normally a thermostat failure. You can buy a spare thermostat from online and retail DIY stores and there are videos on YouTube showing you how to do it, but please be careful – you may end up accidentally causing additional damage to your oven.
If your oven door or the knob controls are too hot, this is a fault in manufacturing and you should ask the retailer or installer you bought your oven from to provide you with a replacement under your established consumer rights.
If your oven keeps cutting out, this is caused by overheating within the oven caused by a faulty oven or safety thermostat. If you heard a lot of noise coming from your oven before the fault occurred, it’s probably going to be a problem with your cooling fan.
Cutting out may also be caused by a malfunctioning oven cooling fan motor, or it may be caused by a ventilation issue unforeseen at the time of installation.
There are many different moving parts in your oven and two of the hardest working parts are the fan motor and the cooling fan motor. Misalignment of either of those will cause your oven to emit a high-pitched sound because the blades will catch the side of the oven.
It may also be caused by a failure of the fan oven motor or the oven cooling fan motor, by faulty hinges, or by loose screws.
If your oven door doesn’t shut properly, this is normally caused by faulty hinges or hinge runners. If you feel confident repairing the door yourself, experts recommend that you replace all hinges and hinge runners at the same time. If you don’t and just replace the faulty hinge or runner, the fault is likely to occur again within a short space of time.
This is most likely caused by an oven door failing to shut properly because of faulty door hinges or hinge runners. If your oven is new, this is likely a ventilation issue. Whichever it is with your oven, make sure that, until you call an engineer out, you don’t place any plastic or wooden furniture near the point of escape for the heat.
Almost all gas hobs give off a faint gas smell in the background and it’s nothing that you should worry about. However, if the smell is particularly strong, you should open all windows and doors. Don’t turn on any lights or spark any flames (like with a lighter). Please call your local gas agency without delay.
There’s nothing more frustrating that standing by your hob for a long period of time trying to get it to spark. If this is happening to you, there will be an issue with either the electric ignition, the burner, or the igniter.
If this happens, the fuse in the box on your wall is trying to provide power to too many household appliances at once. You should reset the fuse box in the first instance. If that doesn’t work, try unplugging all appliances linked to that fuse and then plug them in one by one to see which appliance is tripping the switch. You should then disconnect that appliance whenever you’re using the cooker hob. If that doesn’t work, you should call out an electrician.
The parts of your cooker likely to go wrong the most are the cooker heat, the hob (whether gas or electric), or the oven fan or thermostat. The best way to ensure the longest life from your cooker is to follow the instructions in the user manual you’ll have received. If in doubt, most manufacturers have customer help desks that you can contact by phone or email to get the answer to the question you’re asking.
For one-off repairs including the supply and fitting of a new oven element or thermostat, you should expect to pay a bill of between £80 and £110. Local tradespeople will likely be cheaper than calling in an engineer sub-contracted by the company.
Many companies now offer repair and protect options starting from around £10 a month. You pay by direct debit and, should a fault develop with your cooker, then an engineer will visit to carry out the necessary repairs. Both labour and parts costs are included in the monthly subscription, so you won’t have to pay anything in addition for your visit.
Sometimes it is worth repairing your cooker and, other times, you will actually save money in the long run by purchasing a new appliance outright.
One of the instances where it is worth repairing your cooker has a cooling fan problem. As we previously mentioned, a faulty cooling fan can result in your food burning (when you’ve set the right temperature and left it in for the correct amount of time) or your oven being generally temperamental when you’re using it.
You can either do this yourself with the guidance available in the owner’s manual or with assistance from videos online. Even if you don’t feel comfortable doing this yourself, you can pay an oven engineer to do it. An engineer will be more expensive, but it will still be cheaper than buying a new oven.
Additionally, you should always attempt to get your cooker fixed if it is still covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. If this is the case, you may be eligible to have the appliance repaired free of charge.
If there have been a few problems recently with your cooker requiring you to call out an engineer whose parts and labour costs aren’t covered because your manufacturer’s warranty has expired, you should strongly consider purchasing a new cooker. This is because it will likely continue to break frequently meaning even more repair expenses.
The first thing that you should be looking for in a new cooker is a good warranty. If the manufacturer guarantees your product for more than three years, you won’t have to pay anything for any repairs you may need during that time. It is unlikely that they will break in this time, but it is a level of security that’s better to have than not.
Secondly, you should see if the new appliance has good reviews. If other customers have bought the product before you and they have all experienced common issues with it, then you might want to choose a different model.
Thirdly, you should always try and buy a new cooker in a sale whenever possible. This means that you can make a one-off saving on one of the most expensive parts of your kitchen. Unfortunately, this won’t be an option for everybody. If your cooker has broken and you are in need of a new one immediately, you won’t have time to wait for a sale. If this is the case, you should still shop around to see what each retailer is offering for their products.
Finally, research the energy efficiency of each of the appliances you are considering purchasing. Cookers will need continual use, and this will use energy. If you are paying more to get the same result, you may end up spending more in the long run by choosing one cooker over another.