Tuesday 2 April 2013

Our Stove Saga

    In past blogs, I mentioned that the lower element in our oven had burned out, and that I was waiting for the replacement to come in the mail.  Finally, it came, and I was faced with the problem of installing it.  Our oven has the element hidden beneath the oven, and there was no obvious way to get at it.  I had hopefully assumed that I could just undo some screws in the back and slide the old one out, but it was more complicated than that.
    I did a search on the internet, and did find some directions.  They were so poorly written and I thought they must be describing some other model of stove, but after I poked around for a while, I understood what they were talking about.  I had to take off the side of the stove to access the burnt out lower heating element.
    This I did, and was able to get the old one out, and put the new one in.  That being done, I reconstructed the stove, plugged it in and waited.  Everything worked except the new element, which had cost me $70 to order.
    “Now, what?”, I asked myself, and headed back to the internet for ideas.
    There I found a discussion of something called a “thermal fuse” that it seemed to often burn out when an element goes.  I read the description of the thing, and headed back to the stove to try to find it.  When I pulled off the protective plate from the back of the stove to look for it, I was confronted with a maze of colored wires all looping and snaking off in different directions.  At that point, I knew I was out of my league, and need professional help.  
    There is no appliance repair person in McBride, or even in the Robson Valley, so I looked in the Yellow Pages for one in Prince George.  Unfortunately, it was Good Friday, and all the places I called were closed.  The following day, I got a return call from Evan, who has a repair business called Omnitech. 
    When I explained to him all the particulars about our stove, he checked and told me that the model stove we had, didn’t have a thermal fuse, and so the problem was probably a damaged control panel.  After further checking, he told me that KitchenAide no longer made replacement control panels for our 13 year old stove.  He would try to find one somewhere and we had maybe a 50/50 chance that it could be fixed.
    Joan had an appointment in Prince George early today, so we had to go up yesterday and stay over.  I made arrangements with Evan saying I would haul our broken stove up with us to Prince George.  That meant taking the canopy off of my pick-up so I could put the stove in the back.
    We drove ourselves and the stove up to Prince George yesterday.  I dropped off the stove as soon as we got up there.  Then we did shopping and waited around for Evan to give us the prognosis.  When he called, he told us he had found a control panel from a different model of KitchenAide stove, but it didn’t fit.  So that meant we had to find a new stove in Prince George.
    We checked around in various stores, and Joan really liked the design of a Samsung at the Future Shop.  In all our searching, we discovered and were attracted to induction stoves.  Using a new technology, they heat extremely quickly, and use a whole lot less power.  the Canada EnergyGuide rated most of the normal stoves used between 550-600 kW per year while the the induction stove used only 350 watts.
    There was, of course, some drawbacks with an induction stove.  The main one was that the cookware had to be attracted to a magnet on the bottom.  That meant that aluminum and copper pans could no longer be used.  We thought about all our pans, and for sure, there were some that could not be used with an induction stove.  Our aluminum popcorn popper, and some aluminum no-stick pans were out.  I was pretty sure that most of the others were stainless steel and would be alright.
    The woman at Future Shop, who explained all about induction stoves, said they were going to have a “VIP” sale on Apr. 17 and everything would be 20% off.  We explained about living out of town and our old stove no longer working, and after talking to the manager, she was able to knock off 15% off the price on the floor model that Joan liked.   So, instead of buying one, then having to wait for it to be delivered to Prince George, then us having to drive up to get it, we could just take the one from the stove immediately.  Since it was the stove Joan liked the best, we took the deal.
    Today, we returned to McBride with the new stove and installed it into its new home.  Then we started looking at our cookware.  All those pots and pans that I was sure were stainless steel, must have some kind of alloy on the bottom, because most of them will not attract a magnet, and are suddenly useless to us.  It was pretty devastating news, since they are great cookware with a lot of life left in them.  That’s them in the photo.  Joan said it was like loosing old friends.
    Fortunately, we do have enough that do work to get us by for now, and that we can use until we can purchase some new ones.  I guess that is always the case with new technology, you have to leave behind a lot of still useful things.
    Despite this setback, I must say that there is absolutely no comparison with the heating speed of our new stove and the old.  Joan, who is a wiz at baking was starting to suffer withdrawal, from the fact that she couldn't bake anything with our old broken oven.  We are already defrosting some of those freebee frozen Subway buns, so that they will start to rise and we can pop them into our new oven, and see what they taste like.

To read older blogs or to view my paintings, go to:  www.davidmarchant.ca

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