Electric Cooktop: Surface element doesn't heat

On a cooktop that uses surface element switches to control the elements, a failed surface element switch can prevent the surface element from heating. On electronically-controlled cooktops, a failed surface element relay on the electronic control board that controls surface elements can keep a surface element from heating.

No matter which type of control your cooktop uses, a broken surface element won't heat. If your cooktop uses coil surface elements, examine the element that isn't heating and replace the coil element if you see a cracked or broken coil. Radiant surface elements are harder to check for damage because they're under the glass cooktop. Unplug the cooktop and remove the burner box to access and check a radiant surface element that isn't heating. Replace the surface element if you see a break in the ribbon element.

A radiant surface element has a limiter switch that cycles the radiant element off to protect the ceramic glass cooktop from overheating. A failed limiter switch won't allow the radiant element to heat. Disconnect electric power to the cooktop and check for continuity through the limiter switch using a multimeter. You should measure near 0-ohms of resistance through the limiter switch indicating that the switch is allowing current to flow through the element. If you measure OL or "open load" indicating that the switch isn't allowing current to flow through the element, then the limiter switch has failed. The limiter switch is often included with a radiant element but not always. Replace the limiter switch if it's a separate part and it's preventing the radiant surface element from heating. If the limiter isn't available as a separate part, replace the radiant surface element.

electric cooktop

These repairs may help solve your electric cooktop problem

Replace the cooktop radiant surface element

Replace the cooktop radiant surface element

A radiant surface element is mounted under the glass top. It provides the heat source for cooking. If the radiant surface element doesn't heat when you turn it on, replace it.

How to replace a radiant element on an electric cooktop

Learn how to replace a radiant element on an electric cooktop at Sears PartsDirect. Find out which parts and tools you need, get step-by-step instructions and more.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 45 minutes or less
Read more
Replace the cooktop surface element switch

Replace the cooktop surface element switch

The surface element switch-also called a surface burner switch or infinite burner switch-turns on the heating elements on an electric cooktop. If the switch's electrical contacts fail, the switch might not turn the surface burner on or off, or it might not control the heat level of the burner.

Replace the cooktop coil surface element

Replace the cooktop coil surface element

The coil surface element-also known as the coil element-plugs into the terminal block in an electric cooktop. It's controlled by a surface element switch (also called an infinite burner switch) and sits above a drip pan. It provides the heat for that location on the cooktop. Replace the coil surface element if it's physically damaged or won't heat.

Replace the cooktop electronic control board

Replace the cooktop electronic control board

Some cooktops use an electronic control board to control the surface elements. If the electronic control board doesn't turn on a surface burner or the display panel or indicator lights don't light up, replace the electronic control board.

Replace the cooktop limiter on a radiant surface element

Replace the cooktop limiter on a radiant surface element

The radiant surface element has a limit switch that shuts off the element to protect the ceramic glass cooktop from overheating. That limiter is included with the element on some radiant surface elements, while on others it can be replaced as a separate component. If a surface element fails to heat, or the limiter is not regulating the maximum temperature properly, replace it.

Symptoms common to all cooktops

Choose a symptom to see related cooktop repairs.

Main causes: lack of electrical power, gas supply failure, bad pressure regulator, control system failure

Repair guides for electric cooktops

How to replace a coil surface element on an electric cooktop

Easily replace a coil surface element in 15 minutes or less by following these step-by-step instructions.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less
November 20, 2014
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace the glass top on an electric cooktop

Don't use a cracked or damage glass cooktop—replace it, using these instructions to guide you.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
How to replace a radiant element on an electric cooktop

Follow these step-by-step instructions to replace a damaged radiant element on your electric cooktop when the element won’t heat when it receives voltage from the control.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 45 minutes or less

Articles and videos common to all cooktops

Use the advice and tips in these articles and videos to get the most out of your cooktop.

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