What Is The Heating Element In An Air Fryer & How To Check It In An Air Fryer?

If you have this fantastic miniature oven in your kitchen, you may be curious about its components. Unlike most ovens, the air fryer does not use still air. It uses convection air to cook your food. But the source of heat is similar; the heating element. This component is one of the most significant in your oven. 

The heating element in an air fryer is a critical component responsible for generating the heat needed to cook food. It typically consists of a coil or wire element made of materials that can withstand high temperatures. When the air fryer is turned on, electricity flows through this heating element, causing it to heat up rapidly. As the element gets hot, it radiates heat into the cooking chamber, where a fan circulates the hot air.

This heated air cooks the food in the air fryer, creating the crispy texture characteristic of air-fried dishes. Proper maintenance and care of the heating element are essential to ensure the air fryer’s efficient and safe operation.

How Does The Heating Element Function?

When you turn on your air fryer, electricity currents pass through the heating element. It heats up and transfers heat through convection in the cooking chamber. 

The surrounding air gets heated and circulates around your food in the air fryer basket or the oven’s cooking chamber. That is if your model is an air fryer oven.

With the help of the fan, the air blows consistently, thus hastening the cooking process. Food is also cooked evenly. In an air fryer oven, you can have a rotisserie that rotates the food hence cooking faster and evenly. Some air fryers have multiple heating elements for better and quicker functionality.

How To Check Heating Element In Air Fryer?

Unless there is a severe issue, the heating elements in your air fryer should last a lifetime. However, wear and tear are inevitable due to frequent use and, sometimes, lack of maintenance. 

Your air fryer may be experiencing a go-slow, or you may want to clean the element. Those are sound reasons why you may want to inspect your air fryer’s heating element. You need to follow the right processes. How do you check the heating element in your air fryer? 

Step One

The initial step will be to identify the location of the heating element in your air fryer oven. The position matters with the brand, so the user manual will come in handy to indicate the position. However, most air fryers have the element above the cooking chamber.

In other models, it is beneath; in others, it is a dual functionality. One element is beneath the cooking basket, and the other is above. The dual element types cook faster because there is more heat.

You will access the component within the unit, so you have to open the top shell that features the panel on the basket air fryer. The cooking element lies next to the fan and thermostat and in the same compartment. Also, there, you will find the control board and other vital components. 

Step Two

Now that you know where to locate your air fryer heating element, unplug the unit. Remove the basket, tray, rack, and any other loose components.

Step Three

Overturn your air fryer to access the element beneath the cooking basket. In other models, you must open the casing and access and remove other parts of the controls and wiring before reaching the component.

Step Four

Remove the top cover and all the screws that hold the cover for models with the element on top. Inside, you will get various components that lie together with the element in the same housing. These include the thermostat, control board, and thermal fuse. 

Step Five

Unthread the screws that hold the heating coil to the metal housing. 

Step Six

Gently hold the element and pluck it out.

Step Seven 

Inspect the heating coil/element breakages and other damages. If it is intact, check if it is greasy or dirty. When cooking, oils and food residues from your cooking basket get to the coil. The dirt reduces the heating element’s performance.

The unit is brittle, so use a soft vegetable scrubber with vinegar and water to clean off the dirt. At this point, test the element with a multimeter for continuity. Cracks and breaks indicate a damaged component that needs replacement.

Step Eight

Order a new cooking element. It must match your model, so make an order from your dealer or take your oven for a replacement to the nearest repair center. If you are still confident you can replace your oven’s heating element, go ahead. Follow the user manual to replace and assemble your unit.

Step Nine

Test your air fryer to ensure all is well. You can place a few chicken wings or french fries to test if your unit is okay. 

Related articles: How To Replace The Heating Element In The Air Fryer?

Does An Air Fryer Have An Open Heating Element?

Your air fryer has a heating coil at the top of the basket. You rarely find one with an open heating element, as the component is usually housed within the air fryer body. The heating element comprises a coil of wires or several coils. These coils are high quality and generate heat to cook your food. 

The reason for not having an open heating element is for safety while using the oven. You cannot get injured with the housing, plus the design allows indirect and even heating. Enclosed heating elements in air fryers also prevent fire. If food particles stick to an open heating element, they are likely to cause smoking and fire.

Here’s a summary of why air fryers have an enclosed heating element design;

  • To prevent burns and injury: An enclosed heating element cannot burn you when cooking, especially when flipping your food or getting it out of your oven.
  • The design prevents smoking and fire outbreaks: Grease and food residues cause smoking in air fryers, especially those with the open heating element.
  • Allows easy cleaning: An enclosed heating element is easy to clean by wiping the housing and the exposed part with a soft wet cloth.
  • To prevent excessive clogging from dirt: The most straightforward design to avoid excessive greasing and dirt in air fryer elements is the enclosed one. The housing prevents spatters and oils from reaching the component.
  • For consistent and efficient cooking: Heat from an enclosed unit is more consistent than an open coil. The hot air spreads over your food consistently through convection, hence cooking evenly.
  • To protect the element from damage: An open heating element can get damaged easily. Contact with the basket, racks, tray, and other accessories will easily break the brittle component. In case of impact during travels or falls, an open heating element will break more quickly than an enclosed one.

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