Electric Stove Burner Stays on High: Causes and Solutions

electric stoves

Is your electric stove burner stuck on the highest heat setting? You go to turn the knob to lower the temperature but the burner remains on high, no matter what you do. Dealing with a burner that stays on high can be incredibly frustrating and also poses a safety hazard.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through the common causes of electric coil burners staying on full heat when switched off and provide troubleshooting tips to fix the issue for good.

So why does your electric stove burner stay on high even when turned off? In most cases, the culprit is a faulty infinite switch that continues to provide power to the burner coil after being rotated to off. A damaged heating element or loose electrical connections can also cause the problem.

We’ll cover everything you need to know to troubleshoot and repair an electric range or cooktop with a burner stuck on high:

  • Common reasons electric stove burners get stuck on high
  • Step-by-step troubleshooting guide to diagnose issues
  • Tips for safely using a malfunctioning electric stove
  • DIY repair instructions for replacing infinite switch and coils
  • When to call in a professional appliance repair technician
  • Preventative maintenance to avoid burners getting stuck

Let’s get cooking and solve your electric range’s high heat issues!

What Causes Electric Coil Burners to Get Stuck On High?

Before diving into troubleshooting, it helps to understand what makes an electric stove burner heat up and the various components that can malfunction causing it to get stuck on the highest setting.

Here are the most common culprits behind an electric coil burner staying on high when the control knob is turned off:

Faulty Infinite Switch

The infinite switch (also called the simmer or temperature limiter switch) is one of the key components in an electric stove’s burner system. It is responsible for controlling the flow of electricity to the heating element and regulating the temperature.

The switch has contacts inside that open and close to turn the burner coil on and off. If these contacts become damaged or worn out over time, the switch may fail to fully cut power to the coil when turned to off. This causes the burner to remain on high heat continuously.

A faulty infinite switch is the most common reason for electric burner issues. If one switch fails, it’s generally wise to replace all the infinite switches on a stove at the same time, as they tend to wear out around the same period.

Defective Surface Element/Coil

The burner coil or element is what actually heats up and glows red to cook your food. These coils are subjected to high heat cycles each time the burner is used. Over time, this can lead to the coil warping, cracking, or corroding.

A damaged heating element may not heat properly and can get stuck on high. The coil may need to be replaced if it is visibly deformed or broken.

Loose Electrical Connections

Electric stoves rely on wires and connectors to transmit power between the control switches, infinite switch, and surface elements.

If these electrical connections become loose or corroded, it can cause intermittent disruptions in power flow. This may result in a burner getting stuck on high if a wire connection becomes temporarily severed.

Damaged Cooktop

Electric smooth top ranges have an underlying ceramic glass surface. If cracks or scratches develop in the cooktop around a burner, it can lead to electrical malfunctions causing unusual heating behaviors. The glass cooktop may need replacement in severe cases.

Now that you know what can cause an electric stove’s burner to be stuck on high, let’s go through how to troubleshoot and fix this issue step-by-step.

Step-by-Step Guide to Troubleshooting an Electric Burner Stuck On High

Follow these troubleshooting steps to get to the bottom of what’s causing your electric coil burner to remain on high heat even when rotated off:

1. Check for Error Codes and Indicator Lights

Start by checking your stove’s display panel or buttons for any error codes or blinking LED indicator lights. Many modern electric ranges will display fault codes that point to specific issues.

Consult your appliance’s user manual to decipher any error codes. This can provide a head start on diagnosing the problem.

2. Turn Off Power and Unplug Stove

Before tinkering with any electrical connections or components, make sure to turn off power to the stove at the circuit breaker.

Additionally, unplug the range or disconnect the electrical line leading to the unit. This prevents accidental shocks while troubleshooting.

3. Remove Surface Elements

Take out the electric coils or smooth top elements to gain access to the wiring and connections underneath.

On coil burners, twist the surface elements counterclockwise to release them from the stove frame. Lift gently straight up once detached.

For smooth glass tops, reference the manual for how to safely remove the cooktop.

4. Check Wire Connections

With the surface elements removed, you’ll be able to see the wiring and connectors leading to the infinite switch and burner coil.

Look for any loose wire connections that may be intermittently disrupted. Tighten any loose screws or connectors.

Inspect wires for damage like fraying or melting. Burnt or cracked wires will need professional replacement.

5. Test Infinite Switch with Multimeter

The infinite switch is often the primary culprit for electric burner issues. Use a multimeter to test the switch as follows:

  1. Disconnect wires from infinite switch terminals
  2. Set multimeter to continuity or resistance mode
  3. Touch probes to two switch terminals
  4. Turn knob back and forth between heat settings
  5. Reading should jump between 0 and infinite resistance as knob turns

If the infinite switch shows continuous resistance even when rotated fully off, the contacts are likely faulty. The switch will need replacement.

6. Replace Infinite Switch

To replace an infinite switch:

  1. Disconnect wires from faulty infinite switch
  2. Remove mounting screws to detach infinite switch from bracket
  3. Install new infinite switch and remount using screws
  4. Reconnect wires to proper terminals (note wire locations!)

Replacing the infinite switch often resolves burner stuck on high issues. Use caution to connect wires to the correct terminals.

7. Inspect Burner Coil

With the surface elements removed, check the condition of the burner coils. Look for any cracks, warping, bulges or corrosion. The coils should lie flat.

If the heating element is visibly deformed or damaged, it likely needs replacement. Melted or broken coils can get stuck on high heat.

8. Reconnect Wires & Restore Power

Once all components are checked and replaced as needed, carefully reconnect any wires removed from the infinite switch and elements.

Restore power at the breaker. Verify proper burner operation before reassembling the cooktop.

9. Contact Appliance Repair Technician

For any burner problems that persist after troubleshooting, contact an experienced appliance repair company. A technician can inspect all stove components and wiring in detail to reveal issues.

They have the expertise to safely replace any damaged wires, glass cooktops or complex switch mechanisms.

Is It Safe to Use an Electric Stove With a Burner Stuck on High?

An electric coil burner that remains on high heat continuously can potentially overheat and pose a fire hazard if left unchecked. Here are some tips on using a malfunctioning electric range safely:

  • Only use the oven minimally until fixed. The burner may overheat the cooktop.
  • Avoid leaving the kitchen while oven is on – monitor for signs of overheating.
  • Do not place flammable items near the stove.
  • Turn off power to the oven at the breaker when not in use.
  • Only re-enable power when cooking to monitor the stove.
  • Have the issue repaired by a professional ASAP.

While inconvenient, avoiding use of a malfunctioning electric stove altogether is the safest option until repairs can be made.

How to Replace an Electric Coil Burner or Cooktop?

If troubleshooting points to a damaged coil element or cooktop as the issue, here is how to replace these components:

Replacing Electric Coil Elements

Electric coil surface burners are typically easy for DIY replacement:

  1. Twist element counterclockwise to release from frame
  2. Detach two terminal wiring connectors
  3. Attach terminal wires to replacement burner
  4. Set coil into frame and twist clockwise to lock

Match the wattage of new coil to the old. Make sure the burner sits flat in place.

Replacing a Glass Cooktop

Smooth top electric ranges require more work:

  • Remove screws and brackets to lift out old cooktop
  • Detach wiring connectors below cooktop
  • Lower new replacement cooktop with gaskets into place
  • Reattach wiring connectors
  • Replace screws and brackets to secure

The glass cooktop is heavy and fragile. Having an appliance technician replace it is recommended.

Properly replacing damaged electric stove components like coils and cooktops will get your burner working again.

Maintenance to Prevent Electric Burners From Getting Stuck On High

You can avoid many electric stove burner problems through proper maintenance:

  • Clean up spills promptly – Don’t let sugary or acidic spills bake on, causing damage.
  • Avoid abrasive scouring pads – Scrub gently to prevent scratching cooktops.
  • Don’t slam elements – Repeated impact can warp coils.
  • Inspect elements periodically – Look for cracks or corrosion on coils.
  • Keep infinite switch contacts clean – Use a contact cleaner spray.
  • Check connections yearly – Ensure wires and connectors are tight.

Routine preventative maintenance keeps your electric stove’s burners operating safely for years.

Electric Stove Burner Stays On High: FAQs

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about dealing with an electric range burner that remains on high:

Why does my stove burner stay on high even when turned off?

The most likely culprit is a faulty infinite switch that continues providing power after being rotated off. A damaged coil or loose wiring connection can also cause this problem.

How can I tell if my infinite switch is bad?

Use a multimeter to check if the switch keeps transmitting voltage to the burner when turned off. Have an appliance technician test it if unsure.

Should I replace all infinite switches if one goes bad?

Yes, it’s wise to replace all the infinite switches at once if one fails. The switches tend to wear out around the same time.

Is it safe to use an electric stove with a burner stuck on high?

No. A coil staying on high constantly can overheat, melt wiring, or cause a fire. Unplug the stove immediately and avoid use until repaired.

Can I change an electric coil burner myself?

The surface elements are generally easy for DIY replacement by following instructions. But reaching the wiring or switches can be complicated, requiring a professional.

The Bottom Line

Dealing with an electric stove burner that stays on high heat, no matter where you set the knob, can try your patience. But the problem is usually fixable with the right troubleshooting.

Tracing the issue back to a faulty infinite switch, damaged coil, or loose wiring and replacing the problematic part will typically get your electric range’s burner working properly again.

Preventative care like cleaning spills promptly and having technicians periodically inspect connections can help avoid future burner issues. With some electrical safety know-how and appliance parts replacements, you can get your temperamental stove burner off of high and cooking at the right temperature again.

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