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So my oven's thermostat is wildly inaccurate. Case in point: I was roasting some potatoes and squash with the oven set to 350F, but the oven thermometer read 600. It's not usually that bad, but it's also not uncommon for the oven's temperature to be off by 100 degrees. What can I do about this? I'm burning a lot of food, and my neighbors don't appreciate how often the smoke alarm goes off.

I've tried just getting used it it, but the inaccuracies are not predictable. Sometimes setting the oven at 350 gets me 375-400, other times (like today) it's much more.

Does the placement of the thermometer affect the reading? That is, could the thermometer be reading extra-hot because I put it in the wrong spot? I have it up close to the door, and it hangs down closer to the heating elements than the food (but still 3-4" above the elements).

Also, I heard somewhere that the way you arrange trays & dishes in the oven affects the ability of the oven's thermostat to do its job. Can someone clue me in on that.


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Are you positive it's your oven that's faulty and not the thermostat itself? Meaning perhaps the oven is the right temperature but it's just reading wrong. From the sounds of the "burning food" part of this question it sounds like it is the oven, but this is something you could verify pretty quickly with an oven thermometer or a laser temperature gun. At least that way you know if it's a cheap part to replace or a major electrical issue. – stephennmcdonald Apr 3 '11 at 19:27
up vote 5 down vote accepted

It sounds like the oven needs desperately to be looked at. Please have someone check it out before a fire starts!!!!

The thermometer placement isn't a huge concern. It should be near the middle for general use (top to bottom) and off to the side. Or if you prefer you can just hang the thing in the middle. As long as you can always safely see it it should be fine. If your coils are on the side and not top and bottom put it in the center (where the window would normally be)

Really though I can't stress it enough. If your setting it to 350 and sometimes it is temperature x and sometimes it is temperature x + 100 then you really need to have it looked at before it gets worse.

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This is great advice. An inconsistent swing that big could indicate a major problem, possibly electrical, that could start a fire. It's not uncommon for the top and bottom of your oven to register a 50F or even 100F difference, but that difference should be consistent - when I set mine to 350, the bottom is 350F and the top is 400F - but it is always that, not 400 one day, 200 the next, and 600 the next. I agree with Feltope that you should have it looked at, if it is faulty electronics a fire could start...even when it's not turned on! – stephennmcdonald Apr 3 '11 at 19:25

Likely you've a bad thermocouple (temperature sensor). On some ovens this is a do it yourself repair. On others it is not.

oven "defective thermocouple" replace

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