Electric kettles are a convenience that we all take for granted until that time when you can’t enjoy your morning cup of coffee because it’s acting up and keeps on turning off before it can boil water. Thankfully, it may be an easy fix.
When your electric kettle keeps switching off, you can try to remove the build-up of limescale at the bottom and walls of the kettle, replace the thermostat, or fix the faulty switch. You can get a replacement unit if your kettle is still under warranty, or get a new one if it’s relatively old.
Most of the time, doing these can fix a kettle that keeps on turning itself off and finally let you boil the water you need for that cup of joe or perhaps relax with some tea. Read on as we outline how you do these, as well as other suggestions on what you should do with a kettle that keeps shutting down by itself.
Remove Limescale or Scum
For the most part, limescale or scum won’t be a problem for your kettle. It’ll still boil water, and there are no hazardous effects on your health. However, when there’s too much limescale building up at the bottom of your kettle, the heating elements won’t deliver the same level of heating.
In fact, Electrolux says that if your kettle switches off even when the water hasn’t boiled, clean the scum off the kettle’s bottom. Because of the thick scum covering the bottom, the water won’t be heated, and it won’t reach boiling point.
Because the kettle has elements that protect it from overheating, it’ll switch itself off even when the water hasn’t boiled yet.
Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to remove limescale and keep your kettle bottom looking shiny and brand new. Limescale reacts to acid, and you can use lemon or vinegar to remove it.
You’ll need the following:
- Soft cleaning cloth
- Dish soap
- White vinegar
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to remove limescale:
- Use the soft sponge saturated with cold water and dish soap to wipe the base and sides of the kettle.
This will help remove grease and grime.
- Mix white vinegar and cold water in equal measure.
- Fill your kettle with this mixture until it’s half full.
- Boil the mixture and turn it off.
- Leave the vinegar and water mixture in the kettle for around 30 to 60 minutes.
- Once you see that the grime has been broken down, pour the liquid out and rinse the kettle with cold water.
- Wipe the remaining limescale with a damp cloth.
- Fill your kettle with enough water so that it’s half full.
Boil the water until the vinegar odor is gone.
Some Tips on Cleaning Your Kettle With Vinegar
You should remember that some kettles scratch easily, which is why I recommend soft cloth and non-scratching scrubs. To start cleaning your kettle, make sure that it’s unplugged.
Other things you should remember:
- Don’t use scouring pads or wire brushes when cleaning your kettle.
These can discolor or damage the metal.
- Never immerse your kettle in water.
Getting your kettle wet will damage it.
- You should also clean the kettle’s water filter.
- Never rub your kettle vigorously.
- Remove limescale regularly.
I recommend removing the build-up once a month.
You can use commercial products to clean limescale, such as CLR Calcium, Lime & Rust Remover (available on Amazon.com) that’s non-toxic and fast acting.
However, you should know that these products might be too harsh, and you might end up having to rinse more times than necessary to make sure that it’s gone.
White vinegar also works great, but you can also use lemon to remove limescale from your kettle. Just use one fresh lemon and add enough water.
Replace the Thermostat
Today’s electric kettles automatically turn off after reaching a specific temperature by using thermostats. Several types of thermostats are used in kettles, including electronic devices, mechanical, and electrical thermostats.
Most kettles have a simple mechanism that acts as a thermostat. In this scheme, two different metals are used, such as in this uxcell Electric Kettle Thermostat (available on Amazon.com).
These two pieces of metal are stuck together, and when heated, they curve in the same direction. However, when the water reaches boiling point, one of the metals snaps the other way.
The action will trigger a lever that’ll cut the circuit and turn your kettle off. This video will explain how these simple thermostats work:
Some kettles use a more sophisticated thermostat that’s electronic and brings your water boiled to your desired temperature before turning it off.
Repairing the Thermostat
The thing is, no matter which type of thermostat your kettle has, a faulty one will give you problems such as the appliance turning itself off before your water boils.
You can replace the entire thermostat by:
- Locating where the heating element is, which is usually near the handle.
Get a #2 Phillips screwdriver and take off the handle and the casing of the thermostat.
- Take out the old thermostat and put in the replacement.
You should make sure that you connect the wires to the correct terminals
There are times when you only need to replace the melted pins. Other times, all you need to replace is the bimetal disks.
If you have an old kettle with these parts still working, then you might try salvaging them to repair your current one. However, if you don’t, you might have problems locating these parts, and it would make more sense for you to replace the entire unit.
Replacement thermostats usually cost less than $5, so it makes sense to just replace the whole thing.
Fix A Faulty Switch
A faulty switch can sometimes be the reason why your kettle keeps switching off. If the kettle switch won’t stay down for some reason or pops up after a few minutes, the cause might be a poorly designed switch.
The solution for this is rather crude, but it works. Tape a coin to the switch bottom and see if it helps. You might have to experiment a bit to see which coin works, but the added weight can help the button stay down.
Don’t use something that might be too heavy that the switch won’t turn off when your water boils. In other cases, you might have some success in taking apart the handle and cleaning the switch.
Sometimes, the problem is that some dirt or debris might be blocking the switch, which makes it pop up. Cleaning out the dirt will help, ensuring that the button is on until your water boils.
There are also instances when the thermostat’s mechanism that connects to the switch is loose. You’ll need to change the thermostat control to fix the switch and prevent your kettle switch from turning off before time.
In this type of kettle shown in the video, you can buy a similar component such as the ToToT Electric Kettle Thermostat Switch (available on Amazon.com), which can be used on several brands and is universal.
Other Possible Reasons Why Your Kettle Keeps Switching Off
If you have a kettle that turns itself off before the water gets hot enough, most of the time, it’s because of a faulty thermostat. But sometimes, it could be something else, such as:
- The heating element cannot heat the water fast enough, and you’re using a kettle that works via a timer.
So time runs out without the water even boiling, and the kettle turns itself off.
- When the kettle’s heat sensor is broken.
- You may be filling it with too much water, which may mean that some of the water isn’t getting heated enough.
Things To Consider Before You Do Any Repairs
Before you attempt any repairs, you might want to consider the following:
If your kettle is relatively new, you might want to check if it’s still under warranty. If it is, then you might be able to get a new kettle without having to do anything.
Also, if your kettle is a few years old, you might want to consider buying a new one. There are several electric kettles on Amazon.com that are inexpensive and can deliver outstanding performance on top of eye-catching looks, such as:
- COMFEE’ Stainless Steel Cordless Electric Kettle – made with premium stainless steel material, has a fast boil feature, and is easy to clean
- Ovente Electric Hot Water Kettle – has an “auto shut-off feature and boil-dry protection technology,” and has a generous 2-year warranty
- Aigostar Glass Electric Kettle – made of high-quality glass material and is stain resistant
When your electric kettle acts up and keeps shutting itself off, you might get away with just cleaning the limescale that forms at the bottom of its interiors. If that doesn’t work, there are easy fixes that you can try that involve some replacement parts and a screwdriver. Luckily, these parts are relatively inexpensive, but you should also consider buying a new kettle.