How to Adjust an Oven Thermostat

If you are getting inconsistent results when cooking in your oven, the thermostat may need to be adjusted. Over time, an oven may run hotter or colder than usual. Unless you adjust the thermostat to compensate for the difference, you will be stuck guessing at the correct setting when using your oven. All you need is an oven thermometer and about an hour to test and adjust your oven's thermostat.

  1. Set an oven thermometer on the middle rack inside the oven. Turn the oven on for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. At the end of the 30 minutes, the thermometer should read close to 350 degrees. If it is way off (more than 50 degrees higher or lower), the thermostat is probably defective and must be replaced. Smaller differences can usually be corrected by adjusting the oven's thermostat.

  2. Remove the temperature knob by gently prying it off with a screwdriver. Depending on what type of oven you have, the temperature adjustment mechanism will either be on the back of the knob or inside the shaft.

  3. For ovens that adjust on the knob, remove the retaining screws or clips on the adjustment dial. Turn the dial clockwise to lower the temperature and counterclockwise to increase it. Replace the retaining screws or clips to hold the dial on your desired temperature setting.

  4. If your oven has the temperature adjustment inside the shaft, use a small, flat screwdriver to turn the screw at the bottom of the shaft. Only a small turn of the screw is needed to change the temperature. A quarter turn of the screw usually shifts the temperature by 25 degrees.

  5. Push the temperature knob back into the shaft and repeat step 1 to re-test the thermostat. Repeat the testing and adjusting process until the oven thermometer matches the temperature set on the oven's dial.

About the Author

Denise Sullivan has been writing professionally for more than five years after a long career in business. She has been published on Yahoo! Voices and other publications. Her areas of expertise are business, law, gaming, home renovations, gardening, sports and exercise.