The oven is a particularly sturdy piece of kitchen equipment. It can handle daily use and still perform as needed. But of course, as with everything over time, the oven can eventually have some things go wrong with it. The first signs may be subtle, like your cake not being cooked through, or you may notice the oven taking much longer than usual to come to temperature. When looking inside the oven as it is heating, you may notice tiny sparks along the bake element. Any of these symptoms may mean it's time to replace the bake element.
The first step when it comes to working on your electric oven is to turn the breaker off at your home's service panel, or breaker box. This is extremely important, because most electric ovens require 220-volt electricity to operate, and that voltage won't only hit you hard, it can kill you. Place a sign on your breaker panel stating that you are working on the electrical. As an added precaution, unplug the oven from the wall outlet. Remove the drawer below the oven chamber to see if the plug is accessible from there. Otherwise, you may have to pull out the oven a bit to unplug it.
Be sure that the oven has not been used in a while and that the elements are completely cool. Remove all of the racks from inside the oven. If it makes it more comfortable, you can even remove the oven door by opening it and sliding it off of the "arms" that hold it in place.
Locate the bake element. It resembles a metal tube that's been bent into a square shape and it is located on the bottom of the oven's interior. It can be quite dark inside the oven, so grab your flashlight and shine it to the rear of the oven's interior to locate where the bake element is connected to the oven wall.
There will be two screws holding the bake element in place. Remove the two screws and place them somewhere where you will not lose them. Now, pull the bake element out of the oven wall. There will be wires attached to each "leg" of the bake element. Note: There is usually not much wire to work with, so do not pull too hard. Once you have about 4 or 5 inches of wire exposed, place a piece of black electrical tape over the wire at the point where it enters the oven. This will help keep the wire from falling back inside the hole.
At the point where the wires are connected to the bake element, you should see a screw. Remove the screws and separate the wires from the bake element. Keep the old element for reference when shopping for a new element that matches the old one exactly.
Install the new element by connecting one wire to each leg of the element with the screws, just as they were with the old element. Wrap a layer of white fiberglass tape around the terminals. Push the wires back through the holes in the rear of the oven until the bake element is back in position. Use the screws to secure the new element to the oven wall, as before.
Replace the oven door if you removed it earlier. Plug in the oven, then turn the breaker back on. Turn on the oven and test the new element. You may notice some smoke coming off of the element as it heats up for the first time. This is ok, as these are just oils burning off of it. The smoke will stop in a few seconds.