How do I keep the coils on my electric stove level?
October 1, 2011 3:15 PM   Subscribe

How do I keep the coils on my electric stove level?

They are perennially unlevel, which causes food to cook unevenly, and oil to pool at one end of a pan. I can sometimes push the coil into the teeth of the metal holder and get it to level out temporarily but it inevitably pops back out. This is much harder to do when the stove is already in use, obviously.

Can I do something to fix this? I rent and I doubt my landlady would be interested in fixing it. If not, is there a good way of working around it?
posted by grouse to Home & Garden (14 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
When I had really bad coils in my rental apartments, I just used extremely heavy cast iron skillets. The weight holds the coils flat, and the dense metal distributes the heat more evenly.

If you don't want to have to deal with cast iron all the time, I've done a ton of cooking in my enameled cast iron from lodge, which is a lot cheaper then le creuset. I even use my dutch oven as a stand in pan to cook steaks in it.

Also, depending on your stove, the coils are around $10 to replace.
posted by mrzarquon at 3:25 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

It's a Whirlpool range. Is it likely that replacing the coil would do the trick? The receptacles are almost perfectly level.
posted by grouse at 3:44 PM on October 1, 2011

I have this problem - on one of my coils even Lodge pans slide right off the coil. I think replacement is the only solution, though I'll read this thread with interest.
posted by SMPA at 4:26 PM on October 1, 2011

All ranges should have one or more adjustable feet. You screw them in or out to level the whole thing, which should get most of the cooking surfaces pretty close to level.
posted by clvrmnky at 5:21 PM on October 1, 2011

Not a solution, but maybe a clue: A couple apartments ago, we never had this problem until we bought shiny new chrome trim rings with those chrome disc things that go underneath the coils. The next week, our next apartment had the exact same situation. I just assumed the discrepancy started with the replacements being cheap approximated knock-offs of the originals.
posted by The Potate at 5:24 PM on October 1, 2011

clvrmnky, the range itself is already near-level, and I think the different coils need different adjustments.
posted by grouse at 5:33 PM on October 1, 2011

I can't access your pics for some reason, but you might try putting folded tinfoil shims under the metal arms that hold the coils, to either hold the arm in place, or raise the other side so it is level when it pops out.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 6:27 PM on October 1, 2011 [3 favorites]

I think I have fixed the album now. Sorry about that.
posted by grouse at 6:35 PM on October 1, 2011

I would do the following: level the range. Then get out my file and file down the high points on the burner's legs until they fit nicely and were level.
posted by gjc at 7:55 PM on October 1, 2011

It looks like the metal arms that hold the coils are not exactly 120 degrees apart, so they don't match the slots in the tray underneath, and ride up on the curved surface. Can you bend them carefully so they do fit in the slots? And sometimes the stiff wires that supply the power to the element are constrained and/or don't have enough slack to let the element fall naturally into position. If you are absolutely sure the power is off (breaker off/fuses out) you can take out the trays and free up the wires underneath. In your fourth picture it looks like the element has separated from the arm itself. That's a more complicated fix. You might also try using some wire to clip/hold the element arms down--something heavier than a paper clip, but lighter gauge than a coat hanger. Nichrome wire would be perfect, because it would take the heat.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:32 PM on October 1, 2011

Okay, I just tried this on my stovetop and it actually seems to have worked: I pulled the burner coil out, then looked at the two prongs that plug into the stove. I bent them gently and kept working at it until the burner coil finally sat level again in the drip pan notches. In my case I had to pull the two prongs open a little and also push them both down slightly.
posted by belau at 9:47 PM on October 1, 2011

Now that I've thought about it, since this is a rental, folks may have replaced the coils or more likely the drip pans with universal replacements instead of ones fitted to the whirlpool. Hence the mismatch in grooves not letting the coils lay flat.

It's around $12 for a new set of universal drip pans (which are what are mean to go underneath the coils) and $10 a pop for the universal 5 coil from the same manufacturer that should fit in together.

You could try bending them, but also, if you remove the old coils (and pans) and keep them in the box, when you move to your next rental, you can bring these nice, level, coil/pan combination with you and leave the old one in place.
posted by mrzarquon at 12:34 AM on October 2, 2011

Doesn't everyone just shim them with foil? That's what I do.
posted by mhoye at 6:17 AM on October 2, 2011

FWIW, on ranges I've owned with those types of coils, I've never, ever, ever, had all of them sit level.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:48 AM on October 2, 2011

« Older Should I try to "understand" what's going on...   |   Name this painter Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.