My partner, who does building maintenance, thinks that it may be possible to damage an electric stove top burner by extended use without a pot or pan because the heating element doesn’t have something to dissipate the heat into.
To me it seems like the heat would just be dissipated into the air, and the element wouldn’t get and hotter than its max setting.
I found some information about thermal regulators, but it’s not clear to me exactly how they work or if they work the same without cookware on the burner. We also have a very old stove and aren’t sure if the technology would be the same.
I have searched quite a bit but mostly found information about people leaving things on the burner unattended and then catching fire, or about faulty wiring, etc. I’m just wondering if a burner with nothing on it could overheat and burn out the element. Will the burner get hotter with nothing on it?
(The backstory is that I occasionally take the cookware off the burner between cooking ingredients so that I’m not damaging the cookware while there’s nothing in it, while I take a minute or two to prep the next ingredients for the pot.)
Edit: this is not a glass cook top, it's regular electric burners. I have viewed inside the oven that the model is J CS66 0W2AD. The serial number indicates it is from March of 1980. The maker is General Electric.