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Oh crap. I'm so screwed.
January 8, 2010 3:32 PM   Subscribe

Help! Stove emergency. Left ceramic pot on stove too long, and now stove top has a hairline crack across half the stove, and is now chipped (about 2 inches by 4 inches) where the pot had melted.

I hate electric stoves. And these crappy pots that I have. For most of my life I had a gas stove and never had any problems like this.

The stove is a Kenmore stove, and I am firstly wondering if it is still safe to use the other burners?

Secondly, is there any product I can use to patch it up cosmetically, if not the crack, then the chipping. This is not my stove, and I am royally screwed. I am hoping I can cover it up cosmetically, and when they leave for a trip in a few days (the stove doesn't get much use), I'll pay the $400.00 or so dollars to get it fixed.

Thanks, I need to have something figured out by tonight, before they get home. If you don't have any solutions, maybe tips on how I can break the news without getting killed?
posted by DeltaForce to Home & Garden (10 answers total)
Don't use the other burners -- the heat might cause the crack to spread or widen.

As for covering it up, could you "surprise" them with a new cooktop cover? Short of that, I doubt anything will work... and frankly, I think you should just fess up and save yourself the trouble.

If you don't have any solutions, maybe tips on how I can break the news without getting killed?

"I'm really sorry, I left a pot on the stove for too long and the stovetop cracked. I'll be happy to pay to have it replaced."

A cover-up is a bad idea in this sort of situation, because it is likely to make things worse and/or make this into a bigger deal ("you broke my stovetop" is just an accident, but "you broke my stovetop and then covered it up" is a violation of trust). Just tell them and pay to have it fixed.
posted by vorfeed at 3:47 PM on January 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

"I broke your stove top, I've already taken steps steps to have it fixed while you are out of town, sorry my bad."
posted by Max Power at 3:53 PM on January 8, 2010

If the stovetop is itself ceramic - with flat burners instead of electric coils - then it's definitely not safe to keep using it. A crack in a ceramic stovetop is hazardous and you have to disconnect the whole stove.

If the burners are electric coils then I don't know if it's safe to keep using the other burners but I would assume so. However IANAElectrician.

And I third what's already been said about trying to cover it up. Your only choice is to confess and take responsibility for the repairs or replacement.
posted by tel3path at 3:56 PM on January 8, 2010

DISCLAIMER: I work for an appliance manufacturer. We used to produce the stoves sold under the Kenmore brand, though we haven't for about ten years. I do not know if we made the one your referring to.

That said:

(1) DO NOT USE THE BURNERS IF YOU HAVE A CRACK, A CHIP, OR PITTING ANYWHERE IN THE CERAMIC COOKTOP. You run the risk of that ceramic shattering when heat's applied. That's a major safety issue. DON'T DO IT. I CANNOT EMPHASIZE THIS ENOUGH.

(2) THERE IS NOT A COSMETIC FIX FOR A CRACK/CHIP/PITTING IN THE CERAMIC COOKTOP. If you try to cover it up, and the owners use the stove not realizing the integrity of the ceramic has been compromised, the ceramic may shatter.

(3) Tell them the truth. Apologize profusely. Find out how old the stove is and what they paid for it. It may not be worth paying for repair if the stove is more than 8 or 10 years old. The only repair is complete replacement of the cooktop. That part alone usually starts at $300, then you have labor fees and trip charges on top of it. I would guess you're looking at about a $700 or so repair. Given that you can get a basic self-cleaning free-standing 30" wide ceramic-top stove for about that price, it's worth checking out your replacement options.
posted by magstheaxe at 3:57 PM on January 8, 2010 [2 favorites]

Ugh. Should have written " I do not know if we made the one you're referring to."

Please please please don't use the cooktop. Please unplug the stove.
posted by magstheaxe at 3:59 PM on January 8, 2010

I'm not clear on what kind of stove top this is anyway. Kenmore makes many kinds.

And, yeah, the right thing to do is say, "Uhhh, sorry guys, I cracked your stovetop. I'm getting you a new one / getting it fixed / whatever." Don't cover it up. Even saying, "Sorry guys, I broke your stovetop, and I can't afford to fix it" is better than trying to cover it up.
posted by hattifattener at 3:59 PM on January 8, 2010

Gads. Didn't read the question correctly. I saw the word "ceramic" and panicked.

If you have an electric stove that has a porcelain cooktop and electric coils, it's still a bad, bad idea to use the other burners. The cooktop will absorb the heat from the burner, which will cause the cooktop to contract, which will cause the porcelain to crack even more, maybe even start popping off chips at high speed. So, shrapnel-esque.

Again, the only fix is to replace the cooktop. That tends to be a little easier on the pocketbook: cooktops of that sort start around $100, then add labor + trip fees. My guess: $300 + $400 to repair.

Again: tell them the truth. Apologize profusely. Find out how old the stove is and what they paid for it. It may not be worth paying for repair if the stove is more than 8 or 10 years old. Check out prices for a new electric stove; you can get a basic electric coiltop 30" freestanding stove for about that price.
posted by magstheaxe at 4:09 PM on January 8, 2010

Thanks everyone, going to mark this one as resolved. The stove is now disconnected, and I fessed up. Going to replace the part, ends up being about 240.00, and am going to try and install it myself.

Thanks again.
posted by DeltaForce at 4:23 PM on January 8, 2010

You might also fess up before paying any money -- maybe they hate the stove, and would prefer that you put that $240 towards a new stove?
posted by misterbrandt at 4:29 PM on January 8, 2010

I'm not sure how useful this will be, but here it is:
Kenmore Stove Top Replacement
posted by The Deej at 5:30 PM on January 8, 2010

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