We were fine with the notion of going without a microwave last June when we bought this place, but honestly, I expected that we would miss it and end up purchasing one to get us through until we eventually remodel the kitchen.
We actually haven’t found the lack of a microwave to be any huge inconvenience–short of the fact that using the popper to make popcorn is slightly more annoying than being able to toss a bag in to be puffed in 2:15–from soups to hot cocoa to dinner sides and leftovers, I can say that I’ve grown pretty used to heating up our everyday meals in the oven, on the stovetop, or in the small countertop convection oven. We also cook over the grill or campfire for the better part of the summer. We’re only slightly more modern than cavemen.
And then something happened (I’m feeling kind of rambly). In the middle of using it to make dinner (while hosting guests, no less), our one and only range/oven kicked the bucket, triggering a three day resuscitation effort.
Well, Pete worked it like an ER doc, I spent most of the three days shopping online for a new oven; even though our intent is to save up our cash for a nice set of future appliances for when we’re in the midst of a bigger kitchen renovation, window-browser shopping just to see what’s out there at what price point is definitely eye-opening.
What happened to us here was that the electric Whirlpool oven shut down in the midst of being used, and proceeded to emit a loud buzzing sound. The display with the clock and temperature went blank (no error codes popped up), and the lock for the self-cleaning oven feature began operating independently, the latch slowly rotating from off to on and off again in an attempt to trap my baking sweet potato chips.
We pulled the stove out from the wall, unplugged it, and pretty much left it for dead, only coming back periodically over the next day or so to plug it back in and see if it self-cured. Didn’t.
The three days of research, coupled with troubleshooting tips from the product’s user manual and a few useless calls to appliance repairmen that wanted a really lot of our money led us to believe that it might be the control panel on the back of the oven – damage, or malfunction. Unfortunately, we learned that to replace it would cost $250 which is both $245 more than I wanted to spend to repair the old stove, and half the cost of an inexpensive brand new stove, which I would have much rather gone through with purchasing (esp. if we were able to use it for a few years, and sell it during the remodel for even half of the original price). There are some damn fine ovens and stovetops out there priced in the $500-700 range, I went and stalked a few at Sears.
The good and bad end to this story is that ovens appear to have multiple lives, we know slightly more about them than we did before, and I’m destined to be cooking on an electric almond range for several more years.
The easy problem solve? Pete removed control panel completely with a screwdriver (actually just to see if he could find anything burnt on the circuit board), pressed an assortment of buttons to see if anything would trigger a change, and as soon as he reattached it and plugged the stove back in to test it, the “PF” error code displayed on the front in place of the blinking time. Push the reset configuration, wait a minute, wham bam, magic touch, make some b-fast.
Mental note to us, refer back to this post if it should ever happen again.