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Oven, Stove, Range and Cooktop Repair Foreword


This book will tell you how to fix the most common problems with the most common brands of domestic (household) cooking equipment. (This represents 95+ percent of all repairs that the average handyman or service tech will run into.)

This book will not tell you how to fix your industrial or commercial or any very large cooking equipment. The support and control systems for such units are usually very similar in function to those of smaller units, but vastly different in design, service and repair.

We will show you the easiest and/or fastest method of diagnosing and repairing your cooking equipment.

We will not necessarily show you the absolute cheapest way of doing something. Sometimes, when the cost of a part is just a few dollars, we advocate replacing the part rather than rebuilding it. We also sometimes advocate replacement of an inexpensive part, whether it's good or bad, as a simplified method of diagnosis or as a preventive measure.

We will use only the simplest of tools; tools that a well-equipped home mechanic is likely to have and to know how to use, including a VOM.

We will not advocate your buying several hundred dollars' worth of exotic equipment or special tools, or getting advanced technical training to make a one-time repair. It will usually cost you less to have a professional perform this type of repair. Such repairs represent only a very small percentage of all needed repairs.

We do not discuss electrical, mechanical or thermodynamic theories in detail. There are already many very well-written textbooks on these subjects and most of them are not likely to be pertinent to the job at hand; fixing your cooking equipment!

We do discuss rudimentary mechanical systems, heat flow, and simple electrical circuits.

We expect you to be able to look at a part and remove it if the mounting bolts and/or connections are obvious. If the mounting mechanism is complicated or hidden, or there are tricks to removing or installing something, we'll tell you about it.

You are expected to know what certain electrical and mechanical devices are, what they do in general, and how they work. For example, switches, relays, heater elements, motors, solenoids, cams, gas valves, air seals, and centrifugal blowers. If you do not know what these things do, learn them BEFORE you start working on your cooking equipment.

You should know how to cut, strip, and splice wire with crimp-on connectors, wire nuts and electrical tape. You should know how to measure voltage and how to test for continuity with a VOM (Volt-Ohm Meter). If you have an ammeter, you should know how and where to measure the current in amps. If you don't know how to use these meters, there's a brief course on how to use them (for our purposes only) in Chapter 2. Read chapter 2 before you buy either or both of these meters.

A given procedure was only included in this book if it passed the following criteria:

1) The job is something that the average couch potato can complete in one afternoon, with no prior knowledge of the appliance, with tools a normal home handyman is likely to have.

2) The problem is a common one; occurring more frequently than just one out of a hundred appliances.

3) The parts and/or special tools required to complete the job are easily found and not too expensive; and the cost of the repair is far less than replacing the appliance or calling a professional service technician.

4) The repair is likely to yield an appliance that will operate satisfactorily for several more years, or at least long enough to justify the cost.

I'm sure that a physicist reading this book could have a lot of fun tearing it apart because of my deliberate avoidance and misuse of technical terms. However, this manual is written to simplify the material and inform the novice, not to appease the scientist.

NOTE: The diagnosis and repair procedures in this manual do not necessarily apply to brand-new units, newly-installed units or recently relocated units. Although they may posess the problems described in this manual, cooking equipment that has recently been installed or moved are subject to special considerations not taken into account in this manual for the sake of simplicity. Such special considerations include installation parameters, installation location, the possibility of manufacturing or construction defects, damage in transit, and others.

This manual was designed to assist the novice technician in the repair of household (domestic) cooking equipment that has been operating successfully for an extended period of months or years and has only recently stopped operating properly, with no major change in installation parameters or location.

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