These 'Helpful Tips' and the 'Myths About Appliances' sections could help you rectify simple problems without any other help and before they turn into costly ones. They could also help you avoid the need for service altogether. Appliance411 major home appliance parts, repair and service information for consumers.
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Test your current pots and pansIf you purchase an electric range with a glass cooktop or solid surface burners, you may have to replace your cooking pots and pans as well. For these types of elements it is critical the bottom surface of these utensils be absolutely flat. To test your pots, stand a straight-edge or ruler on its edge across the bottom of the pan. If the straight edge isn't in 100% contact across the bottom surface of the pan, it is not usable.
(Added: 22-Oct-1999)
When using foil inside the oven to help keep it clean, keep it at least one inch from any electric heating element. The foil can reflect the heat back to the element causing overheating and premature failure. Do not put foil on the oven racks as it inhibits proper air circulation and can cause poor cooking results.
(Added: 24-Jul-1999)
Don't leave it glowing red!When cooking on an electric surface element, do not allow the heater to glow red hot. When that happens it means that the pot can not absorb all the heat generated by the element. You should reduce the setting one position. This excess heat can discolour the element drip bowl and even melt the steel element frame. In addition it also wastes electricity and reduces the lifespan of the element.
(Added: 24-Jul-1999)
Clean your oven frequently to prevent possible firesSelfclean your oven frequently to ensure grease doesn't build up to the point of causing a fire or smoking so badly it sets off the smoke detector when eventually cleaned.
(Added: 6-Aug-2001)
If you notice a 'hot spot' on your electric range surface or oven element, replace it before it fails when you're in the middle of cooking a big or important dinner.
(Added: 8-Oct-2006)
Clean your oven *well* in advance of a dinner party!It is not usually a good idea to try self-cleaning an oven *immediately* prior to a big dinner. Cleaing a week or more in advance would allow service to be scheduled should a problem arise. They often do... and at the of worst times.
(Added: 22-Nov-2006)

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