Why Does My Oven Keep Tripping the Electricity?


RCD short for a residual-current device is a tool that instantly breaks an electric circuit to prevent serious harm from an ongoing electric shock. Basically, it can save you from a severe electricity attack. When the RCD or as some call it – fuse, trips and the culprit for that is your electrical appliance, in this case, your oven, it will be as a result of either a dead short or earth leakage. This means that the RCD will trip every time you turn the appliance on.

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With that being said, some household devices tend to “trip” only when you use certain functions. The problem is most commonly seen with cooking apparatus. This shows that the appliance has a dysfunctional component. The above explanation is not carved in stone but is valid in most cases.

In this article, we will cover the types of electrical faults you might encounter, the general problems that cause your oven tripping the rcd and how to test the components.

The types of electrical faults you can encounter

To help you understand why your oven keeps tripping the rcd, we will explain with the use of the principle of standard house wiring as an example.

So, there are three main types of wirework in your property: The Live wire, the Neutral one, and the Ground. The Live is the main power wire, the return one is the Neutral and the Ground is the safety return wire.

The power that your oven uses to function goes through the Live wire and returns through the Neutral one. The electricity flows through the Ground system only if there is a problem with the device.

You’ve probably heard of the term “Short Circuit”. It means that the power that goes through the Live and Neutral wires is unhindered, or in other words – the electricity has a very low resistance path between the two. Short circuits occur when a direct link has been made between the oven’s body and the Live and Neutral. This makes the electricity flow unhindered back to Neutral, thus shorting the circuit. When this happens, you’ll hear a BANG! The cause for this is the resistance building up in the oven, which leads to a burn-out of the let’s say the selector switch or any other element.

When the safety Ground wire conducts current, a Ground fault occurs. RCB (Residual Current Breaker/s) are designed in a way that they can trip open the circuit if there is more than 0.005A electricity flow through the ground path. It keeps in check the electricity flowing through the Live and Neutral, as well as if any difference occurs. If the calculated difference is more than 0.005A, the circuit trips open. By doing this, the current flows straight to the earth and the residual circuit breakers can still detect a fault. Basically, a ground fault occurs when some or all of the Live current flows anywhere besides the Neutral wire.

In the case of an oven, you are more likely to experience an Open Circuit than a Short one. Such faults happen when your appliance has an element that doesn’t work properly. A typical example is an oven tripping the rcd when it reaches a certain temperature. The heat triggers the broken wiring inside the component to expand, which results in failure. With time passing, the part will get even worse and the problem will start to show up more frequently.

We advise that any kind of electrical work should be handled by a certified technician. Handling house wiring is a tough challenge. You can harm yourself and cause damage to your property. You could practically start a fire if you don’t know what you’re doing. Fantastic Services can provide you with qualified and experienced electricians who can take care of all the domestic electrical issues that you might be experiencing. From simply changing a light bulb to fuse boxes & consumer units replacement – we do it all! Book us today!

The general problems that can cause the RCD to trip and how to fix them

There is a problem with the circuit

If there are any existing problems with the circuit, you will need a qualified professional to handle the job. They will investigate whether multiple devices have been attached to the same circuit as the cooker. If that is the issue, the solution is simple – just unplug all the other appliances that are connected and turn on the cooker again. This should stop the oven tripping the rcd. If there are no other appliances plugged into the same circuit, the technician will do the following: He will measure the current power load of the oven with a clamp-on ammeter and if it’s too high for the circuit, you’ll be advised to upgrade it.

What may cause the electricity to trip can be also a circuit wiring problem or a damaged breaker. If that is the case, again, you should hire a qualified electrician to check for any faults in the insulation of the circuit wires. He will test the suspected circuit break by swapping it with one of the same rating from another functioning circuit.

There is an existing issue with the oven power plug

You’ll need a technician for this one, as well. He will measure the current when the cooker is off. If everything’s is OK, it should read zero. If it shows 0.3A or more, then, the wiring is probably damaged. He’ll also inspect the power plug for any damage, of course, after he unplugs the oven from the electrical socket.

There are companies in Europe that design their appliances with terminal blocks. In order for one of those to work with the UK circuits, the connections need to be fitted in a specific manner.. Read the instruction manual, so you know how to correctly connect your newly purchased oven.

However, if you have an older model, check to make sure that the block is in a proper functional shape. The component has the disadvantage of deteriorating as time passes and you’ll need to replace it with a new one. Discuss the matter with an electrician, so he can best advise you on what type of terminal block you should look for.

There is an element in the oven that is out of order

Before you start to snoop around for issues, check that there aren’t any other connected appliances to the circuit. Turn on the oven and set it at a low temperature and if the electricity doesn’t immediately trip, there is no short in the fuse, into which it’s been plugged in. After that, raise the oven’s temperature. If it trips, this will be a sure sign that there’s damage in one of the heating components. Call out an electrician to replace the broken element to solve the issue.

Other elements that can cause your oven to trip are the selector switch (used to change oven functions), the fan, the thermostat or the internal lamp.

How do I safely test the components?

Once you’ve finished with testing the likely culprits, move on to examine each element in turn. You don’t need to go through every bolt and wire in the oven. There are specific parts of the appliance that are known to break more frequently than others. Here are the three most common elements that tend to cause problems and learn the proper way to test them:
Before we get to the actual list, remember that safety must be your top priority! Cut off the power before you start the job or otherwise you’ll get electrocuted! Also, get yourself a tool, such as a multimeter, so you can determine any faulty components that need to be repaired or replaced.

  1. Thermostats
    The quickest way to check if your oven thermostat is working properly is to use an oven thermometer. Switch on your appliance to the highest temperature setting and place the meter inside. If the thermostat is in good working order, the oven’s control panel reading should match that of the thermometer. Repeat the test at different temperatures to get an average and confirm your findings. Furthermore, you can test the thermostat with a multimeter, after you unplug your appliance, first, and remove the device ( it’s exact location will depend on your oven model). This type of test, however, requires electrical expertise.
  2. Switches
    After you are done with the thermostat, it’s time to check the switches. To test them, you’ll need to have access to a wiring diagram if you aren’t confident on how they work. Most of the times, the switches will look burnt-like, there may be marks of arcing across the terminals or the commutator that is placed in the middle will be broken.
  3. Fan motor
    You can detect failure with the multimeter but it won’t give you a 100% guarantee. Insulation might only trip near the operating voltage. To test your oven’s fan motor for damage, measure the resistance between the winding (any terminal) and the motor frame. If anything else out of the ordinary occurs, the element is out of order.

As you can see, handling electricity is a hard and health-hazardous task to undertake. If you experience your oven tripping in the middle of cooking your favourite pasta recipe, we advise you to contact a professional who will fix it for you. This way, you’ll ensure that you don’t damage your appliance any further and eliminate any potentially harmful face-to-face interactions with electricity.

Posted in Home Improvement

Last update: October 16, 2018
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