It's not uncommon that the temperature setting on your electric oven doesn't exactly match the actual oven temperature. Generally, ovens are designed to heat up to a point above the setting and then cycle off and on around that temperature while your food is cooking. However, sometimes it's obvious that your oven's temperature is way off, especially if things are not being cooked despite being in the oven for a long period or being burned after a short time. Here are some reasons why your electric oven is not cooking at the chosen temperatures.
Problem with the heating elements:
Any time your oven isn't heating correctly, make sure that the heating elements inside of it are working. Check to see if the heating element is turning red or putting out heat. A standard electric oven has both a broil element on the top of the oven and a bake element on the bottom. Depending on what temperature you set your oven, or if you choose bake or broil, at least one element should be working. Sometimes, elements which are damaged or loose will only heat up slightly or not at all. Heating elements can also fail if there is a bad or worn electrical connector.
Your temperature sensor is broken or damaged:
Your oven's temperature sensor may either be broken or damaged by residue. Some ovens have a sensor in the back of the oven which is controlled by an electronic control board similar to a computer board, and some models also have a second temperature control in the form of a probe. If one or both of these aren't working, then your temperatures will be inaccurate. Your oven could potentially run at very high temperatures, which can be dangerous.
Your knobs or control need calibrating:
If your oven uses round knobs to control the heat, then they may only need a small adjustment. This is actually a very simple fix and can often be done by anyone who has some mechanical knowledge. The main tools needed are an oven-safe thermometer, a screwdriver, time, and patience. For those ovens with digital temperature control, your owner's manual should have instructions on how to adjust them. In those cases, all you'll need is the thermometer.
If you're unable to figure out why your oven temperature is not matching the temperature settings, then call an oven repair person to take a look. The fix may be simple and only take a short time to do, but there may be other issues affecting how your oven is heating, and these can be taken care of at the same time.
For more information, contact a professional in your area or visit a website like http://www.jmappliance.com.