Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Need help with the oven

Does anyone out there know anything about ovens?

Mine caught on fire last week.

And you know how I am about fires...

And in case you don't... To say that I have a healthy respect for them might be a bit of an understatement.

I've survived two apartment building fires, once when I was ten and another when I was 23; as well as a third, outside my house… started by a boyfriend… who quickly became an ex after the display of stupidity that started the blaze that brought two fire huge trucks to the condo complex where I live…

But that’s a tale for another day. (Moral of the story: Now I only date smart boys, thank you very much.)

But last week, there was no stupidity involved. Just two loaves of bread, being baked by my housemate, Leah. She bakes wonderful bread… full of whole grains, a variety of flours and a variety of other things that could be called both “yummy” and “good for you".

Last week, as the bread was in the oven, I heard a noise in the kitchen. Thought one of the cats was up to something (again). So, I went to Investigate.


“The oven’s on fire!”

I quickly turned it off. Leah came flying in from the living room, got some baking soda and as I opened the oven door, she threw the baking soda on the flaming element.

The bread sat there innocently, each loaf in its respective pan, as if to say, “Whaaat???? It’s not our fault!”

And indeed, it appeared not to be. Nothing had dripped on the element. There was no smoke, really… Just flames.

The bottom heating element in the oven had melted in one corner.


How does that happen?

Has this ever happened to any of you? It’s certainly never happened to me before…

Now, does anyone out there know if the bottom heating element can simply be replaced? Or do I need to buy a whole new stove? The darn thing is less than 10 years old, for sure… Maybe less than 5 years old…

For now though… Leah is eating lots of stir fry and I’m confining myself to toasted bagels and fresh produce.

Leah finished baking the bread at a friend’s house, by the way. It’s very good bread, as always.


ipodmomma said...

so, the bread made it out okay? wow!!!

will keep an eye on the post... :)))

so far, no fires for us, except the kind we build ourselves... but my younger silbings went though one, and boy, that was no fun....

oa said...

Check with the stove manufacturer, and with consumer advocacy groups to see if there are any recall notices out for that particular model. Make lots of noise. Tell them how lucky they are. . . Ask them what they intend to do to take care of their problem. (Hey, it might work.) And if nothing else, people do need to be aware of this problem. If indeed there was nothing on the element, then there is a very real problem somewhere. Take the offensive!

Joyce said...

omg! that is soo weird! that happened at my house a couple weeks ago! what kinda oven do you have? i'll have to check on mine, but it's not that old i dont think... hmmm

mine didnt catch on fire, but there were sparks all over the place :(

Chrystal said...

I've only had oven fires that were the cooks fault. Sorry I can't help but it was an interesting read. And I breathed a sigh of relief when the bread made it :)

Kim said...

I'm glad the bread turned out fine and both you and your roommate are safe and sound.. How scary. I am not fond of fire either... my youngest brother damn near burned down our duplex one day playing with matches! Very frightening...

sissoula said...

It's good to have a healthy respect for all the elements -- including the one in your oven. I hope you can get the thing repaired, and relatively cheaply. As far as I know, you can't bake cookies in a wok.

Elliot said...

I've replaced an element or two in my day, though I've never replaced a melted one. You should find out the manufacturer and see if you can indeed replace the element.

We should, however, all be aware that Replace the Element would be a great name for a rock band (sorry again for stealing your schtick, Dave Barry).

And, let me also commend you, Sarah E., for being a heck of a great blogger. Your insights, exploits, and inquiries are the stuff of good reads and inspirations for response. Blog on.

Anvilcloud said...

In our last stove the element melted/disintegrated. We had it replaced and learned that this was not uncommon. But it had never happened before with several stoves, which were older than this one.

grannyfiddler said...

i had a similar thing happen... the element gets worn through or something and it dies. sometimes there are sparks, sometimes some fire - mine went 'pop' and started to burn. if the place where it connects isn't damaged, you should be able to just pull the old element out and plug in a new one. (after you've turned the breaker for it off, of course) you might need a new fuse as well, if your stove has fuses. do check with the manufacturer, though, and do a consumer report search... never can be too careful.

zouzou said...

I guess this is not a good time to giggle hysterically, however it IS a bit funny that you of all people, should have your stove catch on fire. at this rate, how will I ever turn you into a pyro?

Janice said...

Hi Sarah,

As luck would have it my husband and I use to have a used appliance store!

Here's what you do;
Pull the stove out of the wall and unplug it. Then remove the heating element out of the oven. Check first if it is the kind that you have a couple of little screws you have to unscrew to get it out, or if it's the kind you can just pull out very carefully.
Then while you stove is still pulled out of the wall check the metal plate on the back for the serial number and the model number. You'll need to write these numbers down along with the kind of stove it is ie; Kenmore, whirlpool etc.
Then go to a appliance parts place and ask them for the part usuing the infromation from the back of the stove and also bring along the old element to double check to be sure it's the right part.
Then go home and insert new elelment, and plug that bad boy in it is fixed!

Good luck!


wthenrest said...

Another fire...Sarah do you need an exorcist??? I am really sorry to hear that. I think it is frightening. I guess the bread was saved. That is a silver lining ( maybe I should say fire proof sheeting :0)