Oven Thermostat Faulty

Problem: Oven thermostat set ting is off and needs adjustment.

Background: If, when using the time given in recipes, foods consistently brown too little or too much, the oven thermostat may be out of adjustment. Over time oven thermo stats may drift from the factory setting; 5-to 10-minute differences in liming between an old and a new oven are not uncommon. To correct the situation, on many ovens you can make a simple adjustment in the thermostat (oven temperature) knob. Small adjustments can be made a little at a lime, or a precise temperature tester (available at an appliance parts store) can be used to determine temperature inside the oven so you can adjust the thermo stat knob accordingly.

What to do: Pull the oven temperature knob off of its shaft and look at the back of the knob and note the setting of the pointer before making any adjustment. To increase the temperature, move the pointer toward “high” or “raise”; to decrease, turn toward “low” or “lower.” Each notch should change the temperature 100. On some knobs you have to hold the skirt of the knob firmly in one hand and turn the knob with the other hand to move the pointer. The pointer is designed to be difficult to move but you can loosen it by slightly lifting up the end of the pointer with a thin screwdriver, knife blade, or similar instrument. On other knobs you may have to loosen 2 screws on the back to move the pointer I notch in the desired direction. Replace the knob to the shaft, and recheck the oven’s performance before making additional adjustments.

Special advice: If you are using a temperature tester to calibrate the oven, allow the oven element to cycle on at least twice. Then, with the oven set at a specific tempera- tine, take 4 readings to get an aver age temperature. Take 2 readings when the element cycles on, and 2 readings when it cycles off. Add up the readings and divide the sum by 4 to get the average temperature. The average should be within 25° of the knob setting. If it isn’t, recalibrate the setting.

Helpful hint: When testing the oven temperature, do not rely on the inexpensive thermometers you can buy at discount stores. Their readings will not provide the accuracy needed.

Gas Appliance Venting Faulty

Problem: Inadequate air supply within home.

Background: Gas appliances such as furnaces, water heaters, space heaters, and gas logs, must be connected to a flue vented to the outdoors and have an adequate fresh-air supply. If vents, flues, or chimneys are not kept clean and in good repair, toxic carbon monoxide can accumulate. Signs that indicate a gas appliance has an inadequate air supply may include indoor condensation, a yellow or wavering flame, soot in your home, a gas smell, over heating, sick houseplants, or a pilot light that keeps going out.

What to do: Turn off the appliance and call a technician if you have any of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, which include: an aching head, smarting eyes, ringing ears, nausea, weariness, or frequent yawning. If you have weatherized your home with caulk and weather stripping, and have closed off the normal air flow through walls, at tics, windows, and doors, you may need a fresh-air intake duct to pro vide sufficient oxygen for your furnace. A heating contractor can in stall one for you.

Special advice: Make sure flues and chimneys are kept clear of debris such as nests, branches, or ivy. Avoid blocking air vents, valves, or controls if you add insulation around the water heater. Don’t cover the top of the heater or the space between the floor and heater.

Helpful hint: To make sure your home is safe, hire a qualified heating contractor to inspect and tune up your gas furnace and water heater each year and check any automatic vent dampers in use.