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magic chef range: oven element hotspot / fire

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odin:

Exciting times last night with the heating element in my Magic Chef range's oven getting a white-hot hotspot on it that started sparking and burning.  Didn't trip the circuit breaker, turning off the oven didn't help, and had to crawl under the oven to pull the power cord then hit it with the fire extinguisher.

Ugh.

Realized my range is not on a circuit breaker(!) so will have to get an electrician in to fix that.  And spent several hours today cleaning up the after-effects of the fire extinguisher.  Annoying, but can't complain since it could have been so much worse.

Buying a new range since this is my second short circuit in as many months, so I no longer trust this unit, and don't want to pour more time and money down the drain trying to keep this one working.

Main question - is this a common failure to have a heating element literally burn up like this?  I'm assuming if my range was on a circuit breaker it would have tripped, but I'm no expert, so I'm curious to hear from the experienced folks here.  I found one other thread here that sounded similar but that was it.

Thanks.

tgoods:

--- Quote ---is this a common failure to have a heating element literally burn up like this?
--- End quote ---

Yes, in fact, it's the most common failure.  And the breaker almost never trips because it's not a dead short.  It's a short of the heating coil to the outer case of the element. The case becomes a conductor for the element and burns up.  I wouldn't replace a range for a bad element, it's quick and easy repair.  I doubt that you don't have a breaker, it should be a double pole 40 or 50 amp.

odin:

Thanks for the info, tgoods.

Now that I'm pricing ranges, replacing the element seems a little more attractive, even though it means cleaning all the extinguisher gunk out of the oven.  My main worry is that having two different shorts in different parts of the unit (burner control connector shorted ~6 weeks ago) makes me think there's some larger problem with the unit.

Double-checked the circuit breakers - flipped them all off, and the oven still has power.  Hard to imagine that someone would install a 220V appliance without being on a breaker, but there it is.

odin:
Quick-update: found the circuit breaker for the range.  For some reason the master circuit breaker and range circuit breaker are outside by the meter rather than in the house.  Good to know it's there, bad that any random person can come by and turn off my power...

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