How to Tell if My Oven is Heating Correctly

Nothing is more frustrating than preheating your oven, throwing a frozen pizza or a casserole inside, setting the timer…and then it doesn’t cook all the way. What’s going on? If your oven isn’t heating correctly, there could be several different reasons why. But all should be diagnosed by a professional repair company. However, there is an inexpensive way to tell if your oven isn’t hitting the right temperature. Once you confirm that it isn’t, you’ll know it’s time to call a pro.


How Your Oven Works

Ovens can be tricky because they aren’t exactly made to be precision appliances. Instead, ovens work on approximations. So, what does this mean? Well, your oven has a tolerance zone for the temperature you set. When its internal temp hits the lower threshold, the oven’s heating element will kick on until it reaches its upper threshold temp. Then, the heating element will switch off. So basically, your oven temperature bounces back and forth throughout a cooking cycle. The overall goal is to hit an average temperature around the number you set.

How to Test Your Oven Temperature

If one or two meals come out undercooked even after setting your oven to the proper temperature, that doesn’t necessarily mean your oven is broken. However, it should compel you to do some testing. The best way to do this is to purchase an oven thermometer. You can get one at a hardware store for around $6. Then, do the following:

  • Hang the thermometer in the center of the middle rack of your oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Wait 20 minutes and check the temperature on the thermometer. If it’s between 345-355 degrees, it’s preheating correctly.
  • Take more readings every 20 minutes for a period of up to two hours. Add up all the temperatures and divide by the number of times you checked. If the average is between 345-355, your oven is heating correctly.


If your oven isn’t heating properly, it’s time to call in the pros. Give Express Appliance a call and we’ll get your oven working in no time.