Nobody likes hearing mysterious clicking noises coming from their kitchen appliances. So, if your oven starts making weird clicking noises, what should you do about it?
Clicking noises from your oven isn’t an immediate cause for concern. The clicking sounds may be from a gas oven’s igniter or even the baking and broiling element. The clicking noise may also be a sign that the relay board may be defective.
In this guide, I’ll explain the various causes of oven clicking noises and what you can do about them.
Ovens Are Supposed to Make Clicking Noises
Many people aren’t familiar with the inner workings of their kitchen appliances, even though they may use them almost every day. Unlike some major issues, such as the oven not turning off, most of the time, that’s not a problem when you hear strange clicking noises, but it’s still important that you know what’s going on behind the scenes.
In this section, I’ll briefly explain the mechanics of an oven and why the oven is supposed to make clicking noises.
Inside every electric oven is a relay board. This component is responsible for regulating the oven’s temperature by opening and shutting electrical circuits to the heating elements. When you preheat an oven, the relay board will allow an electrical current to pass through the heating elements, and when the oven has reached the desired temperature, the relay board will limit or prevent the flow of electricity.
The opening and shutting process can happen multiple times during the baking process. This is because the relay board has to continuously regulate the flow of electricity through the heating element to maintain the desired temperature. This is entirely normal.
Electric ovens come with two heating elements—one on the ceiling for broiling and one on the bottom for baking. Again, the relay board is in charge of directing electricity through the heating elements when needed to regulate and maintain a consistent internal temperature. However, there is an additional layer of temperature regulation that involves powering the heating elements at different times.
It can be nearly impossible for ovens to maintain the desired baking temperature. So, what most oven models do is fluctuate the baking temperature by about 30°F over and under the target temperature, creating an average internal temperature equal to the desired baking temperature.
To achieve this, ovens can cycle between activating the top and bottom heating elements. Whenever the relay board cuts or starts the flow of electricity to either heating element, you’ll hear a clear clicking noise. This, too, is not a cause for concern.
If you have a gas stove or oven range, you’re probably used to hearing clicking sounds whenever you turn the dials. The clicking noise is the sound of the appliance’s igniter system creating a spark. When the flow of gas catches a spark, it produces a steady flame that signals the igniter to stop creating new sparks.
However, manual gas ovens require placing a match near the gas supply valve to start a fire. Such models do not have an igniter system, so you won’t hear any clicking noises coming from the oven range.
When Ovens Are Not Supposed to Make Clicking Noises
While clicking noises are entirely normal in gas and electric ovens, there are times when the sounds can be a sign that something isn’t working properly. Here, I’ll explain the various causes of unintended clicking noises and what you can do to resolve the problem.
The oven has been idle for too long
Infrequent use of an oven can cause its moving parts to stick together. So, if you haven’t touched your oven in over a week, it might have trouble reheating the coils, at least in the beginning.
Fixing this problem is rather simple. All you need to do is turn the oven on and let it run for 30 minutes while ignoring the clicking noises. If the oven heats up like it’s supposed to, the clicking noises should return to normal.
However, if the clicking noises don’t stop, or if the oven struggles to maintain a consistently high temperature, you will need to inspect its inner workings. Keep reading to find out what things to inspect.
Too much moisture
Moisture and ovens are sworn enemies. Condensed water molecules inside an oven can prevent it from heating up properly, which may throw the relay board out of whack. It will continuously try to adjust its temperature by opening or shutting the flow of electricity to a heating element.
Now, how did moisture get in your oven in the first place? There are three possible causes:
- The ambient temperature in your kitchen is vastly different from the inside of the oven before turning it on.
- There might be a crack in your oven that allows moisture from adjacent appliances to enter.
- Your oven cannot vent steam properly.
To figure out whether any of these are truly the main cause behind the unnecessary clicking noises from your oven, shut the oven off and leave the door open for 24 hours. Allow the oven to dry completely before attempting to run a test cycle. If the clicking noises persist, you should inspect the oven for damage, leave the oven door shut whenever it’s not in use, or unblock the vents.
Defective relay board
It’s not uncommon for an oven’s relay board to fail prematurely, seeing as how it’s one of the most active electrical components inside an oven. Over time, continuous temperature and electricity control can wear the relay board down, causing it to produce nonstop clicking noises in an attempt to regulate the flow of electricity.
To determine whether or not the relay board is salvageable, open the back panel of your oven and test the relay board for continuity. If your multimeter registers a negative reading, you may have to check the cables’ connections to ensure it’s plugged in or replace the relay board entirely.
On average, the relay board in an oven will remain intact for 10 years. If your oven is older than a decade, it might be time to replace the entire rather than replace defective parts.
Defective heating element
A faulty heating element can cause uncontrolled clicking noises as the relay board continuously tries to heat it up. You’ll know when the heating element is defective when there are blisters or cracks on its exterior or if a multimeter doesn’t register a reading.
Sometimes, removing solid debris from the heating element will fix the problem, but if there are gaps in the coil, your only option is to replace it completely. You can use a screwdriver to remove the mounting screws before pulling on the cable to detach it from the oven.
The heating element should last anywhere from 5 to 15 years, depending on how frequently you use the oven. If it’s past the 10-year mark, and if you haven’t used the oven in a while, you should consider replacing the heating element.
Blockage in the ignition
It’s not uncommon for a gas oven’s igniter to become soiled with debris. This will happen when you don’t keep the unit clean or when moisture finds its way into the igniter and dries. One clear sign that the igniter can’t light the flow of gas is nonstop clicking noises until you shut off the gas.
To fix this problem, you will have to remove the bottom panel from the oven to access the igniter. Use a soft-bristle brush to remove all solid and greasy debris from the igniter. If that doesn’t work, you might have to replace the igniter.