Help, My Kitchen Is Possessed! When Appliances Act Crazy

Help, My Kitchen Is Possessed! When Appliances Act Crazy

Anne Reagan
May 19, 2011

Two years ago my husband and I completely renovated our kitchen. All the appliances were replaced, wiring was upgraded and surprisingly, we didn't encounter any unusual electrical or plumbing issues with our 1970's home. That is, until we found ourselves with a non-working oven. Four new ovens and five new glass touch panels later we finally discovered the problem.

All our other new appliances: tankless water heater, microwave oven, dishwasher, refrigerator, and electric cook top range were all working perfectly after installation. It was summertime and we weren't using our oven much but we noticed that occasionally the oven would just turn itself on.

It's the type of wall-mounted oven wherein you must turn the oven "on" then set the temperature before it actually starts warming up. If you turn the oven "on" and don't set the temperature the oven beeps as a reminder. That's what was happening: very randomly our oven would start beeping as a reminder for us to set the temperature. But we hadn't turned the oven on. Why was it doing this? Additionally, when I did turn the oven on and set the temperature, the oven would turn itself off after eight minutes. It did this over and over again so I couldn't complete a baking cycle.

Please bear with this saga…

Our first thought was that either the oven was faulty, or that the electricity was faulty, or both, so we contacted the appliance store and they delivered a replacement touch panel. The new style of glass touch control panel looked great but as there were no dials to turn we thought perhaps something was wrong with the electronics. Unfortunately the same problem continued after replacement. So the appliance distributor sent us a replacement oven. The delivery men (not the most competent) failed to put the oven shelf back in place properly and the second, brand-new oven dropped through the supporting shelf and landed on our new wood floors. Ouch.

So, the second oven was returned for obvious reasons and after replacing the oven cabinet unit we had a third oven delivered and installed. The exact same issues plagued this new oven so we tried two new glass touch panels; but the problem continued. A fourth oven was delivered with the caveat that the appliance store would thoroughly test this fourth oven in their showroom first, as well as test the third oven upon it's return, just to see what was going on.

Meanwhile, we had two professional electricians come out and test the wires, upgrade the circuit box and make sure it wasn't our house that was causing the problem. I'll spare you the details of their thorough exam and testing. Needless to say the electricians did all they could and came to the conclusion that it was indeed the oven's fault. The fourth oven arrived and even though it had operated perfectly in the showroom it failed to operate in our home, even with an additional replacement (twice) of the touch panels.

At this point I was mere moments away from going crazy. I had the electrician saying it was a bad oven, I had the oven guys saying it was bad wiring in the house. And all I wanted was a working oven! From the beginning both the appliance distributor and myself had been in communication with the manufacture. Had they ever heard of an issue quite like this? Did they have any suggestions? No, apparently we were quite alone in our madness. We came to the conclusion that we may just have to replace this oven with a different brand or model. Of course having spent so much time and money remodeling our kitchen so that it looked "perfect" the last thing we wanted to do was to be forced into selecting a new model whose door handle did not match all our other door handles. You design-minded readers know what I'm talking about.

Then one day I received a call from the appliance distributor asking me if I lived near a radio tower. As we lived in a major metropolitan city the answer was, "Of course!" There was one tower near us but it was located a few miles away. He mentioned that our particular situation had risen through the ranks of the oven manufacturer's engineering department and as it turns out, radio waves can interfere with the delicate computer system in appliances such as our oven. Considering we've never had issues with any other electrical items in our home (TVs and computers seem to be particularly susceptible to radio wave interference) I thought this was a very unlikely scenario. But, being as we had exhausted all other possibilities the repair man came over with a simple insulating device for the oven's control panel. And wouldn't you know it, it worked! After months and months of agonizing phone calls, repair man visits, installations of four ovens and five control panels, we had a functioning oven!

Now, have any of you dear readers encountered a similar situation with your home? Have you ever been driven nearly crazy with a seemingly "possessed" appliance? Please vent, I mean, share!

Image: Anne Reagan

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