How to Replace Drip Pans on Your Range Top Stove

Tired of a dirty range top? One easy way to make a tired old electric range top look new again is by replacing the drip pans beneath the coiled surface elements. Drips pans are the shallow, chrome trays that fit beneath the elements of the range.

Drip pans have a purpose beyond looking attractive. Drip pans capture and reflect heat back to the coil which makes the burner work more efficiently. Drip pans also catch spills that otherwise would drip down into the internal workings of the stove and can prevent electric shock to the user. With regular use, drip pans do become discolored with time and may have to be replaced. Here is how it’s done.

CAUTION: Before attempting any repair, shut the power off to the stove.

1. Remove the element
Locate the part of the burner where it plugs into the receptacle. Grab the coiled element firmly with both hands and pull backwards and away from the connection. Set aside.

2. Remove the drip pan
Pick up the drip pan by the center opening; lift up and away from the range top. If old food spills make the drip pan difficult to remove, gently pry up the edge of the pan using a padded screwdriver to protect the range surface.

3. Purchase a replacement drip pan
Drip pans aren’t the same size for all makes and models of ranges. If you own a high end or specialty range top, you may have to purchase replacement pans at a local appliance center. If however you own a basic low to mid priced model, replacement drip pans for these ovens can be found at all discount department stores and hardware stores. Drip pans are usually bundled up in sets of four (2 large and 2 small) or in sets of two (one large and one small.) The price ranges vary from $15 – $30 for a set of four.

Most stores carry two types of drip pans; one size for Hotpoint and GE ranges, and one size for everything else. Be sure take note of which model range you own so that the right pans are purchased.

4. Reinstall the drip pan and element
To reinstall the drip pan, simply drop the pan back into the range top opening so that the notch on the side of the pan lines up with the surface burner receptacle. Insert the prongs of the element into the receptacle and push firmly. If the element legs won’t rest flat on the rim’s edge when the coil is pushed down into position, remove the element and try again.

So what about lining the drip pans with aluminum foil instead? This low cost fix is no longer considered to be a safe alternative for sprucing up a dirty drip pan. The heat beneath a range top element can reach upwards of 1000 degrees F which can ignite the aluminum foil, damage the range top and put you at risk for injury.

More by this contributor:
How to replace the element on a range top.
How to deep clean your oven and rangetop like a pro.
Die instructions for removing tough wax buildup on kitchen floors.

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