If you haven’t read our article on How Toasters and Toaster Ovens Work, you might want to do that before you start any repairs. If you feel ready to tackle a smallish job like this, then read on…
How to Repair a Toaster
In many homes, toasters malfunction more than any other small appliance. There are two reasons for this. First, toasters are typically built economically to be a throw-away appliance. Replacement models start at $10.
Second, malfunctions are frequently not the fault of the toaster itself but of food particles that interfere with its operation. Excess pieces of bread broken off by carriage movement fall into the base of the toaster and accumulate, obstructing carriage movement, shorting out heating elements, plugging the latch release, and interfering with solenoid operation.
That’s why most pop-up toasters have a large crumb tray and door at the bottom of the toaster. By sliding or unlatching this crumb door you can release food particles trapped in the bottom of the toaster.
For a toaster that is used daily, this should be done once a week. Simply unplug the toaster, hold it over a trash container, and unlatch the door. Once the primary food particles have fallen out, move the toaster around to release other particles that may be trapped at the edges. Periodically clean out the toaster using a can of compressed air, making sure you don’t damage sensitive heating elements or switches.
How to Repair a Toaster Oven
Toaster ovens operate much like toasters. However, a toaster oven is more complex and is typically more expensive to purchase. The higher cost means that repairs are easier to justify. You will probably think twice before tossing a $75 toaster oven into the recycle bin. And because toaster ovens are less compact, they are often easier to work on than pop-up toasters.
Some toaster ovens simply toast bread and related food products horizontally rather than vertically as with pop-up toasters. Other toaster ovens are actually miniature ovens. The differences are identified by the wattage used — broilers require more watts of electrical power to operate — and by the controls. Some toaster ovens allow you to bake and broil foods, offering precise temperature and function control.
Typical toaster oven repairs include servicing the main switch, the thermal fuse, the heating element, and the solenoid.
Step 1: Remove the side panel and, if necessary, the power cord.
Step 2:Check the contact points for pitting or discoloration. If they are not making good contact, carefully rub them with very fine sandpaper, then clean them with an electrical contact cleaner spray or isopropyl alcohol on the end of a cotton swab. Be careful not to bend the contact leaves out of alignment.
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The two dark rods along the base of this toaster are the heating elements.
Step 3: Once the heating element has been removed, replace it with one of identical rating and structure. Be very careful not to distort the shape of the new element as it is installed. Element wires are fragile and can be damaged easily. Higher-wattage elements are of thicker wire, much like the element in your conventional oven.