The calculation of whether to repair or replace a stove is not terribly complex, but it involves a number of considerations. In most cases, repairs are rather simple, especially when they don’t involve the electronics of a stove. In other cases, though, you may want to consider how much life is still left in the appliance, and how much you would like to have a newer one that may have different features or a higher efficiency, especially considering rising costs of gas and electricity.
As a general rule, a well-manufactured stove or range or oven is going to last about 13 to 15 years. Whether the appliance actually reaches that age depends on a lot of things, though, including the size of the family that it is serving (i.e., how frequently it is used), how well it is cared for (keeping the oven reasonably clean will make it operate more efficiently and put less wear and tear on it), and what features it has. For example, a fan oven operates more efficiently than a non-fan oven, because hot air is circulated within the oven. Therefore, lower temperatures can be used to perform the cooking, and this reduces strain on the heating elements, and also conserves energy. Similarly, an induction stove top operates more efficiently than a traditional stove top, in that the cooking pan is itself used as the heating element, thereby losing less energy in the process of heating.
Owners with basic mechanical skills and tools can perform a lot of repairs on their own, depending, of course, on the availability of parts. For example, it’s a pretty straightforward thing to replace the heating element on an electric stove top, provided you are able to find the right heating element. This can often be done by consulting the owners manual, or by performing a web search for the part. It’s always best to bring the part with you to the parts supply store, or to double-check with an online expert at a web store before purchasing the part. In many cases, there will be an aftermarket equivalent available. Fixes to doors and their simple sensors and thermostats that are easily replaceable can also generally be managed by owners with basic mechanical skills and tools, keeping in mind that it is essential that circuit breakers be switched off and appliances unplugged in the case of electrical appliances, and that gas be switched off and care exercised with conduits in the case of natural gas or propane stoves. What is more difficult is electronic parts, although again people with basic electrical skills may be able to replace parts. If you have any doubt at all of your ability to perform a repair, it is worth calling in a professional just for your own safety and peace of mind. If you do want to give a repair a go yourself, YouTube is full of helpful videos that will guide you step-by-step, and in some cases may even show your exact model.
If your stove is still under warranty, of course, you will want to have the repair done by whoever is approved by the manufacturer, particularly if both parts and service are covered. This may involve a bit of a wait, and some adjustment on your part. You can cover the gap by looking for a counter-top stove in FaceBook marketplace or a local charity or second-hand shop to get you by while you wait. Some self-repairs may void your warranty, too, so it’s best to check before you begin. If you’ve been aching to replace your stove for any reason, of course, then it may be worth your while to just go ahead and do it, particularly if you calculate that you can save a lot of time or money in the long run purchasing the one that you want. During lockdown, it was often hard to get ahold of new appliances, but even though supplies aren’t where they ought to be yet, the availability of new major appliances is improving.
Meanwhile, if efficiency really is one of your major concerns, there are some things that you can do to save money on electricity or gas:
– Thaw foods before cooking, unless instructions indicate that they should be cooked from frozen. This requires a little foresight, but reduces the amount of energy needed to cook considerably.
– Using tempered glass or ceramic pans will often reduce the amount of energy needed to cook an item.
– Keep the oven door closed to prevent heat from escaping, when possible, though sometimes the door must be kept open when using an oven as a grill. Also, it is worthwhile making sure that the seal to the door is tight. Damaged seals can be easily replaced, and there are a lot of online videos that will help you with the process. Also, use of a thermometer will cut down on the amount of checking you will have to do by opening the oven door.
– Use the self-cleaning function once in a while to remove material that is cutting down on heat transfer efficiency, and perform a manual cleaning periodically, too.
– On the stove top, flat bottomed pans with tight-fitting lids will cut down on the amount of time and energy needed to cook.
– Consider taking some of the load off of the oven by using more efficient kitchen gadgets, especially for smaller tasks. An InstaPot or similar stand-alone pressure cooker, for example, will use less energy to cook many meals than heating up the whole area of a full-sized oven.
If you decide your repair may be beyond your comfort zone, give Dave’s Appliance a call. Our experienced technicians will give you their best advice, and we sell and service all the best value lines. Our agents are happy to consult with you, and we will steer you to the best solution for you.
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