Why do oven elements fail?
The outer sheath of an oven element is a tube filled with fuller’s earth type material, with a spiral element running through the middle. It is then terminated or connected via male spade terminal at each end.
Over a period of time and or use the outer sheath expands and contracts with heating and cooling. Like an elastic band eventually, the metal loses its elasticity, cracks allowing the outer sheath to short to the inner element. The result is failure of the element.
Replacement / Reasons for early replacement.
1). I would recommend that the element is replaced by a qualified cooker engineer as there are a number of factors that need to be checked when an element is replaced. Most people think it is easy just to replace an element, all you do is remove the old one and fit a new replacement. (that would be the first mistake). There are several checks and additional tests that should be carried out when an element is replaced by a professional engineer.
a) Cable condition.
b) connection condition
c) Correct element and wattage for the cooker. (many copy elements are incorrect) This causes failure of timers, selector switches and oven thermostats.
2). Depending on the size of the family and how much the household likes to cook, will also depend how long an element lasts. Also, if you have a multifunctional oven, are you using the roasting setting, baking setting correctly? Using the roasting setting for high temperatures will make the baking setting (circular fan element) last for a long time.
Single Fan element ovens, tend to fail more than multifunctional element ovens that are used correctly.
3). Type of cooking, will also determine how long an element will last. (if you cook pizza at 225+ degC. Or incinerate your Sunday roast regularly, the oven element will not last as long if food is cooked below 200 degrees C). I have also seen people turn the oven to full thinking it will get to temperature quicker. Big mistake as the element will fail very quickly.
4). Do you leave food to cool in the oven? This causes the element/s to corrode with premature failure. (I have often found a smelly Sunday roast on a Monday morning when repairing a cooker).
In our experience some oven elements last 10+ years and others fail within 12 months.
The above information can apply to all electric cookers not just our Ilve or Bertazzoni.
MRCR / Bertazzoni / Ilve UK technical engineer and adviser.