Monday, August 03, 2009

Cursed stove

If you spot more typos than usual in this it's because my glasses seem to have gone permanently missing. I have a sinking feeling the garbage truck hauled them away this morning. As to how this happened, I think it involved me in the garden, composting numerous plants that were no longer producing, planting fall crops, throwing away wads of plastic mulch, and a bad case of tunnel vision. The last time I remember seeing them, they were hanging on a tomato cage. Gary is understandably unhappy with me.

I don't know if I mentioned it or not, but I found a new-to-me ceramic topped Frigidaire electric stove at the rummage sale in June. It was in beautiful condition, roughly three years old, and had rarely--if ever--been used ( we live in an area with a lot of infrequently used vacation homes). I have always wanted a ceramic topped stove so this was like Christmas in June for me. It was a pleasure to use, easy to clean up, and looked great in my kitchen.

Three days after we brought it home, I was sitting my office minding my own business, and the stove was sitting in the kitchen being a non-entity (in so far as I know). The boys were off in their rooms pretty definitely being boys. A storm was brewing outside and the animals were snoozing in various positions of repose. All in all, a rare, quiet moment around here.

A peculiar popping noise emanated from the kitchen, followed by a massive crunch, as though a giant foot had stepped on a pane of glass.

Everyone in the house heard it and we all arrived in the kitchen at the same time to investigate the source.

The entire glass front panel on the stove lay, shattered, on the kitchen floor, still popping like Rice Crispies. Solomon growled at it and I didn't blame him. I felt like doing the same.

It appeared to have simply exploded outward, though I can only speculate as to why. Though I'd used it more than once since bringing it home, I hadn't used it that night so it couldn't be blamed on an opening and closing door, or even rapidly cooling temps. Our best guess was the changing air pressure due to the storm.

I hit the internet in a search of the cause and discovered that many of the stoves made by different companies had tempered glass fronts and many of them had done exactly what mine had done. Here's a particularly well-told story followed by numerous replies telling similar tales.

Exploding Ovens

I priced the replacement glass and decided to sit tight until our quarterly bonus came in later this month. The glass was expensive, but I'd paid only fifty for the stove so it was still a bargain.

Or so I thought.

Fast forward to two days ago. I went to bed early with a sinus headache after canning green beans all day and left the boys to shut down the house when they were tired. At four am I woke up thirsty and went to get a drink of water.

The stove sat in the middle of the kitchen floor, the room reeked of melted wires, the digital display dead, some damage smudged the white panel around it. I tugged on the oven door and it wouldn't open.

On my desk I found a note from Daniel (seventeen) stating that he and Jeremiah (nineteen) had awakened to the smell of burning wires and went to investigate. They quickly tracked it to the stove, threw the breaker, pulled the stove out from the wall and unplugged it. They studied the situation long enough to be sure there were no flames, just a shorted out control panel.

Smart boys. Blessed boys. Good boys.

Once again, we're guessing, but we think that the stove "decided" that it needed to be cleaned and tried to turn itself on, but was thwarted by some safety override.

No, this is not a feature of this model, but--apparently--Frigidaire stoves all around the country have been turning themselves off and on at will, causing no end of trouble for their owners who are rightly pissed and want their money back. Complaints ranged from burners that turned themselves from medium to high while being used, turning themselves on when not in use, sometimes refusing to turn off at all, ovens that switched from cooking to self-cleaning in the middle of cooking meals (including someone's Thanksgiving Turkey) locking the door in the process.

Starting to sound like I Robot, isn't it? Or Hal?

The stove top, which seems to have nothing to do with the burned out control panel, continues to work smoothly, but we're keeping the breaker shut off when it's not in use.

I have reached two conclusions--1st, I'm going to buy a new stove this week and it won't have digital anything in it. Though sadly, this will mean the end of my ceramic topped dream, I prefer appliances that do not explode and do not have minds of their own. Second, the new stove will NOT be a Frigidaire.

In fact, I'm leaning toward this one:


Dennis Bryant said...

Not trying to be glib about your misfortune, but this sounds like the makings of a good horror story. You know--the whole creepy, deranged stove kind of thing?

I wonder what hideous fate befell the original owner...

Mary O. Paddock said...

Dennis--there is a story in this whole summer (something about fires and forewarning). I just haven't pieced it all together yet.