A common question is, “What should I do now, my ceramic cooktop is broken?” Accidents happen like dropping something from high up on to the glass. Or maybe you are not sure what caused it to break…a topic for later.
The material in your cooktop is quite strong, but it is not tempered or “safety glass.”
Glass-ceramic which is used for cooktops is not “safety” glass, but ceramic. It is a strong but still brittle material and can not be heat treated to add more strength. So the manufacturers and safety agencies rely on the natural strength of this material. But, it can break just like all glass and ceramics, notably in an abuse situation like sitting on one edge, dropping something from high, etc.
If accidents happen, then what should you do? Some will just ignore the break and continue to use it. The concern here is the electrical hazard. The cooktop assembly is sealed to prevent spilled liquids from coming into contact the 220 Volt circuitry underneath . A cracked glass-ceramic combined with liquid could create an electrical conduction from the components inside to you and cause electrocution. Not something to take lightly and know the manufacturers and agencies like UL and CSA take it seriously.
To get support for a broken cooktop, best is to get a certified technician to replace it.
Many want to try to repair on their own. It’s possible, but keep in mind some important points.
- The glass-ceramic panel is part of a SYSTEM. You can not and should not try to replace just the glass. First, no one will sell you just the ceramic-glass. It is not for sale individually due to safety reasons, mainly the reason stated above…it is part of a sealed system. Poorly swapping out just the glass is now a liability. So, you have to purchase the glass installed in the frame, or on a frame support. This you could swap out yourself if you are the mechanically inclined type. Believe it or not, the entire system is regulated by UL or some agency, down to the screws and adhesives…all for safety. If you plan to fix it yourself, plan on the cost of the package.
- The glass-ceramic manufacturer can not sell you just the glass as a replacement, just as the actual car window manufacturers do not sell your car windows directly. Too much inventory for the glass manufacturer when they make these parts is huge quantities. So, they don’t keep the specific designs on hand nor are they allowed to sell it to you if they did.
- Wiring madness: Some replacement cooktops systems have the heating elements attached to the frame, others have the heating elements separately below (as in this picture) I’ve changed mine out before with all the wires attached. SO MANY WIRES! My advice, take a picture, use some tape and a marker to identify which wire goes where before you disconnect! It’s pretty hard to sort them out without some reference afterward if you didn’t.
- If you are looking for replacement cooktop, know that it’s expensive. It hurts the wallet, but the appliance manufacturers are storing large components for a very long time and that costs money. I expect there’s a decent markup too, but ultimately you are paying for these things to sit in a warehouse for some time. Try the appliance manufacturers or Marcone, or an online search for the parts you need. You’ll need a model and serial number for parts. For ovens, the model and serial number are inside the oven cavity, inside the door. Local shops will also be able to these parts for you. Sadly, sometimes it’s preferred to buy a whole new system rather than just the cooking surface.
Received a call recently from someone who broke their cooktop after 27 years!!! Long live that cooktop, but they really just wanted to replace the glass. I’m sure that design is no longer in storage anywhere even if they could replace only the glass.
Good luck. Work safe. Lastly, if your cracked ceramic cooktop is not the fault of an “accident” but just appeared…take a picture even if under warranty. Should the cooktop break the exact same way again, you have a nice history to make reference too. Every break tells a story. This is helpful to the manufacturers too, should they ever get the information.By the way, this piece of glass-ceramic was broken with the can pictured. It took 5 drops from about 8 feet to break it. Note the damage to the can! The can was about 1 pound. The Underwriters Laboratory (UL) test requirement is 1.18 pound steel ball from about 20 inches. The can is somewhat more forgiving.)