Friday, February 22, 2013


Now and then, one of those should-be-simple-on-the-face-of-it things goes a little sideways, and you look around, wondering where the Candid Camera is hiding ... ?

We have a free-standing gas stove/electric oven we put in about what? sixteen, eighteen years ago? Major brand, high quality, the first gas stove we had since Louisiana, and happy we have been with it.

Well, save that the clock/temperature module, which is an LCD display, has gradually faded to the point where you can't really read either. Not a big deal insofar as the operation of the oven–we know the default setting is 350ยบ F. and each tap of the increase-heat button kicks it up five degrees, so we can figure out how to get to which temp we need. Still, it's a nagging irritation, and as we move into fixing up the house–make that Fixing Up the House–it seemed like a simple thing to get the appliance guy out to fix it, right?

Got the local repair folk listed on the company's website, people we bought the thing from, gave 'em a call. Told them what the problem was, arranged a window, and there we were.

Guy came out. What's the problem? 

Just like I told the dispatcher. Needs a new module.

Gotcha. So he cranked up his laptop and went looking for the part.

Why, I wondered, didn't he do that before he came out? So as to, you know, bring the part with him and replace it?

As it turned out, the answer was moot: He couldn't find a replacement. The company stopped making 'em, and even though the average stove/oven might well last twenty-five years, they don't stock stuff after about ten.

So he made some calls and then offered this:

Well, nobody seems to have what we need. If we send the front unit in, they will take a look at it, see if they can rewire it or whatever, and that will run $234. But, here's the catch ...

If they can't fix it, too bad. Still costs you $234, yea or nay. Plus the cost of this service call, which is $75 ...

So, I said, eyebrows arched in incredulity, let me see if I have this straight: We will have a disassembled stove for however long it takes to go to and fro from wherever, I'm into it for three hundred bucks minimum, and they might not be able to fix it?

Well, yeah.

Word, lemme see, what's the word I'm looking for here ... ? Oh, yeah. 


Would you do that? I asked the repair guy?

Hem. Haw. 

Well, he said, maybe I can find something in a warehouse somewhere or somesuch. Let me check around and I'll call you back in a couple of days ...

Right. Uh huh.

So, I'm going to wait to hear from the guy and if there is something reasonable in the offing, no harm, no foul. If, however, this three hundred buck lottery ticket is the option? I'll be back here, naming names. And sending letters to the range and repair companies ...

Never a dull moment. 


Justin said...

It's amazing and disheartening just how throw-away everything is in our society. It's easier/cheaper to replace something than to repair it. Look at phones; you're usually lucky if they last you the 2 years it takes to make it through a contract. Cars get in a fender bender and are somehow totaled.

Now, I get that manufacturing creates jobs, even if they aren't often in this country. However, think of the trash this creates! And last I checked, repair person was a job, too. As is the plant that makes the replacement parts.

How am I doing practicing for sounding like a grumpy old man some day, Steve?

steve-vh said...

Part of the problem is people are not willing to allow the cost of a new machine to keep pace with the cost of a comparable quality machine from when they originally bought it. I bought a washer 22 years ago for $600. Last year finally replacing it, a comparable machine is only $800. Not terrible. but why? Because the quality of the build has to drop to keep the entry cost reasonable or people would never buy them. And my buddy is a long term repair guy, he would know. It's all plastic and circuit boards now. And that's why he recommends the warranty for a washer stove and fridge. dry and dishwasher are not as pricey to replace (unless you buy an LG) so it a comparison to weigh replacement against the cost of a warranty. They will no longer last 22 years

Jim said...

Look online yourself. Several years back, I had a timer fail on a washer/dryer unit, and was able to find a replacement online, and installed it myself. I don't remember the site now, 2 computers later... but I it may have been something like "parts depot" or "appliance parts depot."

Also -- you just might want to try cleaning the contacts. It may just be accumulated crap interfering with the display... That's assuming the $75 guy didn't do that for you.

Justin said...

There is something to be said for modern appliances. When we bought a new, more efficient frigpdge, our electric bill dropped nearly 50%.