Unfortunately, most of us don’t realize our oven temperature isn’t right until it results in a ruined dinner. Why is my oven temperature not accurate? In electric ovens, a failed bake element is often to blame, while a faulty igniter may be responsible in gas models. Determine how to troubleshoot oven temperature problems with these likely causes.

Signs of an Oven Temperature Not Accurate 

No, you didn’t read the recipe wrong or set the wrong time on the timer. But, often, signs of an inaccurate oven temperature can mimic cooking errors. Here are some common signs when your oven won’t heat properly:

These signs can indicate that your oven temperature isn’t accurate:

  • Under or overcooked food: Food may be raw or overdone when cooked for the recommended time.
  • Longer or shorter cooking times: Food takes longer or cooks faster than the recommended cooking time.
  • Uneven cooking: Heat fluctuations and inaccurate temperatures can cause food to cook unevenly, with some items cooked through while others remain raw or burnt.
  • Outside thermometer shows different temperature: If a kitchen thermometer placed inside the oven shows a different internal temperature, the oven’s temperature is likely inaccurate.

Why Is My Oven Temperature Not Accurate?

There are typically 4 common causes when you find your oven temperature not accurate. Here’s how to pinpoint the problem and find the right solution for better cooking results.

Bake Element Burned Out

Is your electric oven temperature not right? A burned-out bake element is one of the most common causes. Located at the base of the oven, the bake element’s metal coil contains wiring that generates heat when it receives an electrical charge. When functioning properly, the bake element emits a steady, even heat and shows a uniform red glow.

troubleshoot oven temperature

The following signs are typical of a burned out bake element:

  • Uneven cooking: Food may be cooked on top, but raw or underdone on the bottom
  • Visible damage: Breakage and blistering may be evident throughout the bake element or in a particular area.
  • Interrupted red glow: The bake element may be dark in some spots or not glow at all.

If multimeter testing of the bake element confirms that it’s burned out with a lack of continuity, it must be replaced.

Igniter Weakened

A weakened igniter is a likely reason you find your gas oven temperature not accurate. In addition to lighting the gas, the igniter must garner enough electrical power to open the oven valve that allows gas to flow. As the oven’s heat can fluctuate, it must do this repeatedly during cooking to maintain a steady temperature.

Over time, the igniter can weaken, leaving it unable to harness enough electrical power to open the valve. Once this happens, the oven’s temperature will decrease drastically before the gas has a chance to reignite. This results in underdone food and longer cooking times. If a separate thermometer shows that the oven’s temperature dropped over 40℉ since fully preheating, the igniter is likely weakened and requires replacement.

Broil Element Burned Out

Similar to the bake element, the broil element is located at the top of electric ovens. While it’s primarily responsible for broiling food, it works with the bake element to provide an even heat throughout when baking and roasting.

If you find your electric oven not getting hot enough and food is underdone on top, the broil element may be burned out. If it shows visible damage, an interrupted red glow or no continuity with multimeter testing, it must be replaced.

Temperature Control Thermostat Not Calibrated

oven temperature not right

Whether you have a gas or electric oven, the heat inside will fluctuate even when set to a specific temperature. The temperature control thermostat monitors these fluctuations, signaling for more or less heat, as needed, to maintain your temperature setting.

Most temperature control thermostats are calibrated for accuracy by the manufacturer. However, it may need to be recalibrated to better reflect your cooking preferences. How do I calibrate my oven temperature? As the exact method varies depending on your model oven, refer to your user manual for specific instructions. Generally, the temperature control thermostat can be adjusted in increments by as much as 35℉.

Is your oven temperature not accurate even after following these steps? Try following some of our oven cleaning tips first, then contact our team at Callahan’s Appliance if the problem persists. Schedule oven repair service for a fast and professional repair.