Broken toaster oven
November 13, 2005 11:36 AM   Subscribe

My toaster oven continually needs more time to toast things...

I got the toaster about a year ago- it was the one on display, so it was cheaper, there were no guarantees, etc. It worked great to start with, and powerful enough- the heat dial was turned to the lighter end of the light-dark spectrum and the bread would toast perfectly.

Since then, we've had to move the dial back further and further- now it's past the medium setting and the bread gets toasted to the same extent as it did last year. Is my toaster oven slowly breaking? Can I fix it?
posted by hopeless romantique to Home & Garden (2 answers total)
Buy a new toaster. Things get old and break sometimes you know?

That or your toaster is slowing the passage of time when turned on, which would probably be worth quite a lot of money to an R&D dept. Maybe you could eBay it?
posted by alexst at 2:28 PM on November 13, 2005

Best answer: Most cheap toaster ovens use a coiled bimetal strip as a thermostat. When the strip coils or uncoils tightly enough (as in, when the theremometer loses conductivity with a contact), the power to the heating elements shuts off. This is why the thing just buzzes when you try to turn it back on immediately without turning the 'heat' up a bit.

What's happening to yours is that the cheap bimetal strip is becoming uncoiled after flexing so much. The coils naturally want to be straight, and the wiggling it gets while you're cooking stuff is enough to eventually uncoil it. (The coil or bar, depending on construction, could also be separating or otherwise losing it's temperature-reacting properties.) Therefore, you need to move the contact that controls power to the element farther out each time to get to the same temperature/cook time in the oven. Eventually, you'll have to move the contact all the way out (move the dial to 'dark') to get it to turn on at all.

The solution? Buy a new toaster oven; they're cheap.
posted by SpecialK at 4:17 PM on November 13, 2005

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