It's an unpleasant surprise to start dinner and find out the oven won't heat up. There could be several causes for this problem, but an obvious thing you'll want to check is that the oven has power. If the burners work but the oven doesn't, then you know the problem is with the oven somewhere. Here are some possible causes and how they can be fixed.
A Bad Heating Element
The heating element on the bottom of your oven is the coil that normally glows as the oven is heating up. It's common for these elements to go bad, so that's the first thing you should check. Watch the element when you turn the oven on to see if it glows or glows partially. If not, that doesn't necessarily mean the element itself is bad; however, if you see a spot on the element that looks broken or has an unusual appearance, then that's a good sign the problem is with the element. Another thing to test is if the element on top of your oven that works when you turn on the broiler is bad. This could give further clues to the problem. If you were cooking something in the oven and it didn't bake completely but the top was burned, that's a sign the top element is working but the bottom one isn't.
When a heating element goes bad, it has to be replaced. This involves turning off the power to the stove and removing the old heating element. If you don't feel comfortable taking your oven apart and working with wiring, then call an appliance repair service to change the element for you so you can start cooking as usual again.
A Bad Thermostat
If the thermostat is bad, your oven may not heat up so the temperature may be off quite a bit compared to the setting you choose. It's obvious if the oven doesn't heat up at all but if it heats some, you need to test the oven to see if it's getting to the temperature setting. This is easy to do with an oven thermometer. If the thermometer reading is much lower than the setting, then the thermometer may need to be adjusted or replaced by a repair person.
One thing to keep in mind when working on appliances is that the unit can hold an electrical charge even after it's unplugged. For that reason, you may not want to attempt DIY repairs that involve the electrical components of an oven.
Other parts of your oven that could be bad are the temperature sensor, fuse, and control board. If you have a newer oven that displays error codes, the oven may tell you what's wrong. Also, look in your owner's manual for instructions on what to do when the oven won't heat. However, when you want quick repairs and you don't have any desire to figure out the problem yourself, then call an appliance repair service to solve the problem of a cold oven.