My parents have been using their old electric stove for over three decades and last year it finally needed to be replaced. I hopped onto the internet and helped my mother order a new GE stove from Lowes to be delivered in a few days and life was good.
And it was, until my mother started cooking on her brand new stove only to find it kept on turning on and off at the higher temperature settings. She complained that the stove wasn’t working correctly and it was taking forever for her food to cook.
What Is Sensi-Temp Technology
It turns out starting in 2018, UL regulation requires all new electric ranges with coil burners or elements to have temperature limiting capabilities to reduce the risk of fires. GE and Hotpoint’s name for this feature is called Sensi-Temp technology.
How new Sensi-Temp burners work is they use a sensor to detect the temperature of the cookware. If the pot or pan gets too hot, the coil shuts off until the temperature drops to a safe level. This feature seems like a good idea for forgetful people who also leave their iron on all day.
The problem with Sensi-Temp stoves is many people hate the feature. GE states that for the burners to work correctly the sensor need to be clean and your pots and pans need to be completely flat so the sensor can contact the bottom. For some people, it meant replacing all their cookware and their stove still did not work normally.
How To Bypass The Sensi-Temp Technology
If you are tired of the Sensi-Temp coils and how they disrupt your cooking, there are two solutions:
1) You can replace the burner with traditional burners without the sensor, or
2) You can disable the sensor itself
People who contacted GE have been told there is no way to disable the Sensi-Temp safety feature by replacing the coils or disabling them.
This is not the case.
If you were to unplug the burner from the receptacle by lifting the end of the burner directly opposite from the receptacle up about an inch and pulling it straight out, you will see the Sensi-Temp burner uses two plugs like the older burners. The new burner elements do not send any signals back to the stoves to regulate the temperature. It is all done on the element itself.
How To Replace Sensi-Temp Coil Burners
For best results, you should replace the burners with ones with a similar number of turns, wattage, and size.
Our new GE stove (model #JBS160DMWW) had 6” coils with 4 turns (part #WB30X31058) that were 1250 watts / 240V, and 8” coils with 5 turns (part #WB30X31057) that were 2400 watts / 240V.
Our plugs were the loop type that are about 1 5/8” from the bracket on the burner. Measure yours to make sure you are buying ones that are similar in length to your originals. I tested a spare burner that had the flat plugs and the type of plug did not affect the burner plugging into the receptacle on our GE electric range.
We decided to replace the front two burners; one 6” and one 8” since they were the most commonly used ones in our household.
The best option for GE / Hotpoint compatible replacements is from Amazon for a coil burner set of 4 by Kitchen Basics for about $39. They are made in the USA, are UL/CSA approved, have the same wattage, but have an extra turn. This should be ok since a longer heating element means more resistance, less current at the receptacles, and better heat distribution for your cookware.
I went with a different set of 4 coil elements from Kitchen Basics with accompanying four spare ceramic high-temp terminal receptacle blocks for $40 (or the same set without the extra receptacle blocks) since the bigger 8” burner was 2100 watts. This is a little lower wattage than the originals, which hopefully will reduce the chances of the wiring or receptacles burning out.
The smaller 6” burner from Kitchen Basics is 1500 watts, which is slightly higher wattage, but I assume all the wiring in the stove is rated for up to 2400 watts.
These replacement coil elements from Kitchen Basics are listed as compatible with Whirlpool, KitchenAid, Maytag, Roper, and Kenmore electric ranges.
I took a chance they would also work for GE / Hotpoint stoves, and it turned out they did plug into the receptacles and heat up, but did not sit level. Comparing the new burners with the originals, the OEM GE ones had feet that were 3/8” high where they sat on the inner lip of the drip pans. This Kitchen Basics set had feet that were 1/2”.
Five minutes with an angle grinder (or a Dremel) to grind down a notch on two of the feet (at 10 and 2 o’clock if the connectors are considered 12 o’clock) for each burner fixed the problem.
How To Disable Sensi-Temp Burner Sensors
You can disable the temperature sensing technology on the new burners by bypassing the sensor. The sensor is the round button at the center of the metal cap.
To bypass the sensor, you simply need to hotwire two wires together by following these steps:
1) Looking down at the top of the burner, you will see there are small metal brackets that hold the cap on at the top of the three feet.
2) Using a pair of needle-nose pliers, bend two of these brackets to the side to remove the cap. If the plugs to the receptacle are at 12 o’clock on the burner, the two easiest pieces to bend are the feet located at 10 and 2 o’clock.
3) Once you lift off the cap you will see two wires that are connected to a couple of prongs on the underside of the sensor.
4) You need to join these two wires together, preferably using high-temperature ceramic or porcelain wire nuts. Another way would be to push the two prongs down towards each other until they touch.
5) Replace the cap and bend the brackets back to their original spot.
Congratulations, your burners will no longer turn off once the temperature gets too high.
Should You Disable Sensi-Temp or Replace the Burners
The reason I replaced the burners is because on some online discussions, people who had disabled the sensor mentioned that their burner elements eventually stopped working because the extra heat or current draw without the temperature limiter burned out the receptacles. One workaround mentioned was avoiding using the stove on the highest heat setting for too long.
Since my mother boils water often for tea and soups, swapping in a lower wattage 8” burner might be the best course of action for the stove’s longevity. The set of Kitchen Basics burners w/ receptacles I purchased from Amazon cost only a few dollars more than a single universal replacement coil from Home Depot and it also came with extra receptacles for future replacements in case the originals go bad.
If you are a renter, swapping in a set of replacement coils lets you easily return the stove back to original when you move out.
Disabling the sensor makes sense if you want to avoid spending even more money after buying a brand new range.
The new temperature regulating Sensi-Temp stoves are a good idea that was poorly implemented. They are so bad some people are considering replacing their new stoves with used stoves that do not have the feature. If people were more careful, we wouldn’t need more government regulations to keep us safe from ourselves.
After putting in the modified replacement coil burners without the annoying nanny feature on my mother’s new stove, the stove has been performing like a traditional stove. It no longer cycles on and off during cooking and my mother is a lot happier with her purchase.
Be sure to get the GE-compatible replacement set if you do not want to do any modifying of your new burners. The fitment issue is more about compatibility with the drip pans.
Disable the safety feature on the new electric ranges at your own risk. I’m not responsible if you burn your pasta while trying to cook it!
Do you have a stove with the new temperature sensing technology? What are your experiences and do you have any tips or advice? If you bought a replacement set, let me know how it turned out.