Many people prefer the convenience and safety of an electric stove in the kitchen, rather than the fast heat and potential hazards of a gas burner. These days electric cooktops come in two basic varieties. The first is the traditional set of individual coiled burners (usually four to five of them on one stove top) that generate heat due to electrical current; the second is the flat glass top which is becoming increasingly popular in stylish kitchens. With a glass top electric stove, the burners are hidden underneath the glass. The sleek, flat surface can be easier to clean and more controlled when compared to the individual coiled burners.
Installing an Electric Cooktop
Since all kitchen appliances put up with the wear and tear of near daily use, an electric cooktop can certainly run into problems that require repair or replacement. Sometimes one of the burners will stop heating evenly, or entirely, or will have some other electrical issue. With a glass top, the surface can crack or break, or the burners underneath can stop working as required. In most cases, it's fairly straightforward to replace these damaged parts.
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Important Safety Considerations
In every case with kitchen appliances it's critically important to be safe. When working on any appliance, be sure that there is no electricity connected to the unit. This is done either by unplugging the appliance or, if the plug is inconveniently placed, say, behind a very heavy stove, by being sure the circuit breakers to that appliance have been shut off.
As recommended by Sears, double-check that the correct breakers have been flipped off by attempting to turn on a part of the stove that is working correctly to ensure there's no electricity still connected. The electric current of kitchen appliances can absolutely result in an injury or even death if mismanaged. There are plenty of electricians and service technicians who can do this electrical work if you do not feel confident.
In addition, make sure all parts of the stove are at room temperature. If the stove has recently been used, it's important to allow all elements time to cool down to avoid the risk of serious burns. Be sure that the parts of the stove being repaired are sturdy and stable as well.
Whirlpool Electric Cooktop Installation Instructions
With a traditional electric stovetop, like a Whirlpool electric cooktop, normally the individual coiled burners can be removed and replaced easily. If there's a problem with an electrical connection, check the manual provided with the appliance for troubleshooting and replacement. Some repairs are best done by a licensed technician, cooktop installation service or service personnel from the manufacturer.
Glass Top Replacements
Things can be trickier with a glass top, which will need to be propped up to properly access the bottom or to be removed. Again, check the manual before starting. Also check the manufacturer's website. Many common brands like Whirlpool, Kenmore, GE and others provide video and graphic instructions on how to replace pieces of the cooktop. These can be valuable guides to help the replacement process.
The first step will be disconnecting and lifting the glass top in order to access the burners underneath. This usually involves removal of a few screws or cooktop mounting brackets and/or the use of a release handle. The particular process will be detailed in the user's manual. It's usually fairly easy to detach the glass top.
If the issue with the electric cooktop is one of the burners, the glass top should be carefully propped up with a piece of wood or some other stable support so that it does not accidentally fall and damage either itself or the repairperson. The burner can then be accessed. If the issue is with the glass top, it can be carefully removed, and a new top put in place.