Most people will only notice the oven light when it has burnt out, and they’re trying to shine some light on the golden layer of meringue, coating an amazing lemon pie, the golden color of home-made bread when ready to be taken out, or some other culinary masterpieces, without opening the oven door.
Effectively, even if it comes on automatically when the door is opened to load the food inside or take it out, the oven light is seldom noticed unless specifically switched on.
Once you notice that the bulb is burnt out, though, you might be tempted to replace it with whatever light bulb you have on hand—which could be a bad mistake on your part.
Ovens, like most other appliances, require small profile bulbs to fit within their assigned restrained spaces within the cooking chamber.
With that, those light bulbs, usually labeled under “appliance light bulbs,” are constructed more ruggedly than a regular light, with their filaments withstanding extreme heat and able to absorb excessive vibrations without breaking apart.
Choosing the Right Oven Bulb
Before rushing to the hardware store to buy a light bulb, you might be wiser to consult your “owner’s manual” to check for the bulb type suggested for that particular oven.
You might be tempted, of course, to simply read the specifications stamped on the old light bulb—but what if it has already been previously replaced? Could the wrong type of light bulb have been chosen as a replacement?
The E26 base 40-watt appliance bulbs are by far the most utilized light bulb used to illuminate the oven chamber. But different other types are also used by different manufacturers, such as GE, which also uses GU10 base 50-watts 120-volts halogen bulbs and also the G9 looped terminals base 50-watts halogen bulbs.
Getting into the lamp bases with different types of terminals, however, will require a very careful lamp selection, as many similar types can be slightly different in size. The owner’s manual is still your best guide in this selection.
What makes the traditional incandescent bulb, as well as the halogen, the ideal pick is primarily the fact that both these types operate at very high temperatures under normal use, making them suited to withstand the high temperature of an oven.
Using a bulb that’s not built for high heat in an oven is never a good idea. For instance, when activated with electricity, the ultraviolet light produced in Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL) is then exposed to the white phosphorescent of the bulb resulting in producing a light source without generating any heat.
Making the CFL 75% more energy efficient than others, however, the CFLs, because of this, don’t stand a chance in a 400-plus degree F oven heat. Even if their lighting labels indicate safe temperatures, look carefully for the warnings in the fine print.
Another no so common example is using a LED light to illuminate the oven.
Because most LED bulbs are made of many plastic components, unless an LED bulb specifically indicates that it is good for high oven temperatures and is physically not showing any plastic visible in its construction, it should NEVER make it inside an oven.
If ever you can find a LED rated for high temps, you will find that it is constructed mostly of metal and glass parts—but such an item still remains to be seen.
Clear a Workspace and Locate the Light
Step 1 - Before opening the oven chamber door, make sure the oven is cooled down. You should also unplug the appliance from its wall plug. If it is difficult to reach, you can instead turn off the circuit breaker.
Step 2 - Give yourself plenty of room to work by removing all the racks from inside the chamber.
Step 3 - With this done, look around inside, possibly using a trouble light or a flashlight, and find out where the light or lights are located inside. they are usually found in one or both of the top corners at the back wall (or possibly on the sidewalls) of the chamber.
Removing the Glass Cover
Step 4 - Determine how the protection glass dome is secured and how to remove or displace its fastening attachments. A smaller dome indicates a halogen light underneath, while a bulkier one is a sure sign of an incandescent light bulb.
Step 5 - Remove the protective glass dome(s). The cover is usually secured with wire clips, a metal ring, or a specially formed arched lock mechanism that applies firm pressure on top of the glass—so proceed with care and patience around the glass.
Once the fastener(s) is or are out of the way, if loosening up the dome(s) remains problematic, it’s probably from grease deposits around the glass, so keep moving it and twisting gently from side to side while spraying with a kitchen cleaner.
Replace the Light Bulb
Step 6 - Put on a pair of cotton or latex gloves before touching the light bulb. The bulb might have simply gotten loose inside the socket and just need tightening up.
Therefore, if you’re dealing with halogen bulbs, you must avoid getting body oils secreted through the pores of your skin onto the bulb itself, which will greatly reduce the light’s lifespan. Gloves will also protect you from getting cut if the bulb breaks while handling it.
Step 7 - Gently grab the bulb with your fingers and try turning it just slightly counterclockwise, unless it’s not a screw-in type, in which case you’ll need to twist or pull.
You can then try to turn it clockwise to see if it wasn’t simply loose inside the socket. In that case, your defective light bulb would be a simple quick fix.
Step 8 - If you’re not dealing with a loose bulb, remove it from its socket. You can then replace it with a new light bulb, gently turning or twisting it clockwise until you feel a slight resistance—do not over-tighten it. If it’s a plug-in halogen-type bulb, you just need to push it into its socket.
Step 9 - Once the light bulb is in, you only have the glass dome to put back on. Simply follow in reverse order the same procedure as in step 5, making sure all the securing clips and gadgets are properly put back in place.
Step 10 - You can now replace the oven racks back inside, close the door, and reset the breaker or plug the appliance back in to give your workmanship its final test.
If you encountered problems, however, where you ended up dealing with a damaged socket or light still not coming on, you may have to consult a qualified serviceman for advice and/or his expertise.