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Crock Pot Turns On but Won’t Heat Up

Crock Pot Turns On but Won't Heat Up

An inventor and electrical engineer, Irving Naxon, applied for a patent for a food heating device in the 1930s based on inspiration from his Lithuanian grandmother. The basic design has not changed drastically over the years; a bowl is encased by a portable heating reservoir and used to simmer food slowly and evenly. What could go wrong with this design?

If a crock pot turns on but won’t heat, reset it. One source of the problem may be the light is faulty, but it still heats. Otherwise, test the outlet and the electrical cord, and the electronic circuitry. If all looks well, call the manufacturer, and possibly you are still under warranty. 

Learn the history and differentiate between the different terminology for crock pots. Throughout this article, you will also discover how to reset a crock pot and fix electrical issues. If do-it-yourself solutions don’t help, it may be time to call the manufacturer to order new parts or return for a replacement appliance. 

Crock Pot History

Crock Pot History

The Crock-Pot is a name brand trademarked by Sunbeam Products in the 1940s, subsequently becoming a generic phrase for a slow cooker electronic appliance. As a free-standing piece of equipment used to cook food at a low and steady temperature over long periods of time, it was popularized when women began working outside the home and found that it was an easy way to prepare a meal; set it and forget it. 

It is similar to oven braising and requires some liquid to prevent bottom burning; however, little meal preparation is needed. It is a method of hands-off cooking. 

Currently, there are numerous brands of slow cookers, for example, KitchenAid or Cuisinart, available at multiple price points. Amazon sells all sizes and colors; for example, the Crock-Pot Oval Slow Cooker is a lightweight, 6-quart version, easily programmable using a free phone app.

Difference Between Crock Pot, Slow Cooker, and Multi-Function Cooker

  • A crock pot is one type of slow cooker with a glazed ceramic cooking bowl (or “crock”) inserted into a metal surround containing a heating element. 
  • A slow cooker is a general name and may have a glazed ceramic insert or aluminum or stainless steel insert. Not every slow cooker is a crock pot. 
  • Multi-cooker is a slow cooker, a pressure cooker, rice cooker, and sometimes includes an add-on air fryer feature, taking the place of multiple appliances.

Table of Cook Times

Conventional Oven Cook TimeCrock-Pot Cook Time on LowCrock-Pot Cook Time on High
15 to 30 minutes4 to 6 hours1 ½ hour
30 to 40 minutes6 to 8 hours3 to 4 hours
50 minutes to 2 hours8 to 16 hours4 to 6 hours

If the crock pot does not heat up, partially heats, or does not turn on at all, the process of troubleshooting begins.

Crock Pot Won’t Heat Up

Crock Pot Won’t Heat Up

Chances are, you already know what questions to start with:

  • Is the appliance switched on?
  • Is the electrical outlet working?
  • If the light will not turn on, is the cord visibly free from frays, twists, knicks, or tears? Is the plug in good condition?

How to Fix

  1. Flip the switch off, unplug, re-plug, and turn back on.
  2. Try plugging in another appliance into the outlet to see if it works; if it does, you know the outlet works.
  3. If another appliance doesn’t work, flip the switches in the fuse box to ensure you did not trip the breaker. Try another appliance to see if the outlet works now.
  4. The crock pot appliance in this video is short-circuited; therefore, it doesn’t turn on. Gain knowledge on how to replace the electrical cord as demonstrated in a short 3 minutes:

Crock Pot Turns On but Won’t Heat Up

Crock Pot Turns On but Won’t Heat Up

If the light turns on, but the appliance does not heat, reset the appliance to ensure that the issue is not due to the automatic cut-off being triggered. 

Reset

Plug in the crock pot, hold down the select button for 30-seconds, or check the owner’s manual for reset instructions.

If still not heating, there may be an electrical problem. Depending on the type of crock pot you have purchased, there are different electrical issues that you may have. Here are common problems and videos depicting resolutions; however, be sure and unplug the appliance before proceeding with any electrical work.

Powerboard Problem

The crock pot is deconstructed in this 13-minute video, and it is determined there is a problem with the powerboard because the capacitor has blown. A new metal film capacitor is purchased from China because it is not manufactured in the United States. The installation is demonstrated.

Heating Element Problem

The consumer often replaces inexpensive crock pots with a new one, especially a faulty heating unit. Disassembling the appliance will many times invalidate or void the warranty. Additionally, faulty sensors may be difficult to obtain in the United States and not worth paying shipping costs from other countries. 

Other Causes

  • Fuse problem. Possibly, the thermal cut-off fuse is blown; if so, buy a replacement part and install it.
  • No electrical connection. The solder has cracked; therefore, simply resolder, as shown in this Frugal Repair 7-minute video: 

Crock Pot Not Heating Enough

Crock Pot Not Heating Enough

After reset, if the heat is still not working correctly:

Assume the temperature gauge may not be working correctly and test using the FLIR ONE Thermal Imaging Camera for iOS from Amazon. The device attaches to your mobile phone and turns it into a heat map viewer. Detect and measure heat changes, commonly used to find energy leaks but in this instance, to see if the crock pot is heating up correctly. 

How to Fix

If the thermal imaging device determines the heating element is not correctly working, search the Internet for a replacement. Or contact the manufacturer to ask where to purchase a replacement part. When obtained, install it yourself or bring it to a small appliance repair shop.

Testing Crock Pot After Fixing

Testing Crock Pot After Fixing

After repair, ensure the crock pot heats by running the cooker for 10 minutes before turning it off. This step ensures that the heating element can run properly for a continuous time frame without experiencing electrical shortages.

If your corded crock pot turns off before it reaches the 10-minute mark, it may have short-circuited, or there could still be another less obvious electrical connection problem.

Furthermore, if it still does not work, then it is time to call a local repair shop or contact the manufacturer’s customer service team as listed in the owner’s manual. If it is still in warranty, you may be asked to send it in for repairs. If the repair is thought to be catastrophic or not worth the expense to repair, you may be sent a replacement.

Final Thoughts

Control and consistency of cooking are trademarks of the crock pot’s design. Safety and ease of use make a slow cooker popular, and the appliance is built to withstand the test of time. However, all electronic appliances have a lifespan. By following the variety of suggestions found throughout this article, you will increase the longevity of your crock pot to get your money’s worth.

Here is a quick recap:

  • Check for light and heat
  • Check the validity of electrical wires and outlets
  • Repair electrical as needed or contact customer service
  • After fixing, test the heat for at least 10 minutes

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