Who ya gonna call [to fix an oven]?
February 24, 2013 3:45 PM   Subscribe

I have an old kitchen with old appliances. The oven has suddenly died, and I realized I have no idea what to do about it.

I think the stove/oven are around 30 years old. Everything's electric. Tonight I turned on the oven, and it heated for about 3 minutes, and then there was a fizzing sound, and it stopped heating. The stove burners still work. I don't think it's a heating element problem -- the oven has two, one at the top and one at the bottom, and previously when one has gone out the other still works.

I don't know how to fix, well, pretty much anything, and I have no one to help me, so my [stupid] question is, who do you call for a busted oven? The electrician? Some kind of contractor?
posted by JanetLand to Home & Garden (16 answers total)
Appliance Repair company. Maybe an appliance sales place could help.
posted by JayRwv at 3:48 PM on February 24, 2013

posted by DoubleLune at 3:48 PM on February 24, 2013

Depends on where you are. I would start by googling "appliance repair" and your city. In my city there's a company that will come out or this kind of thing.
posted by charmedimsure at 3:48 PM on February 24, 2013

Any good appliance repair place will come out and give you a free estimate. Good luck!
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 4:00 PM on February 24, 2013

Okay, got it. Thanks everybody.
posted by JanetLand at 4:01 PM on February 24, 2013

Sears does appliance repairs.
posted by kestrel251 at 4:19 PM on February 24, 2013

I'd be amazed if a professional repair was cheaper than a newer secondhand stove from Craigslist.
posted by jon1270 at 4:49 PM on February 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

If it just a heating element or thermostat it could be be as simple as 1 hour of labor plus the part.
posted by COD at 4:58 PM on February 24, 2013

While you're getting it priced--in addition to the well-known toaster oven, there's also a turkey roaster (Rival makes one). Should be around $35 at Target, cheaper on sale. I personally have made cakes and all sorts of things in it.

Think about gas next time if your kitchen will allow it (the kind with a pilot light, not an electric igniter). In my experience they break less.
posted by skbw at 8:21 PM on February 24, 2013

On some older ranges, they may get accidentally set to work on a timer, instead of manually. There may be a dial that says 'push for manual' or some such. If there is, push it and try again. The fizzing sound seems like it may be something that burned out, and yes at 30 years, it may be more economical to replace than repair. Parts may even be no longer available.
posted by alltomorrowsparties at 8:25 PM on February 24, 2013

Parts may even be no longer available.

But you have a much better chance with white goods than televisions or similar electronic appliances of that vintage. There aren't as many old-school appliance repair people as there once were, but in the US, plenty of people still have ovens and washers and fridges from the 40s and 50s.
posted by holgate at 11:15 PM on February 24, 2013

alltomorrowsparties -- that is exactly how my oven works, and I was really hoping that was the problem, but no, those switches are set fine and it still won't turn on.

I would dearly love to just replace the whole thing, but the damn thing is built into the cabinetry and is in a very unusual configuration, so I can't just yank it out and put in a standard modern stove/oven. Really I need to renovate the whole kitchen, but who has money for that?
posted by JanetLand at 3:23 AM on February 25, 2013

Boy oh boy. This is the kind of situation my childhood stove/oven was in. Since it's important, even leaving money aside, that it stay in place, I would just encourage you to get 3 bids from repair services, the same you would with a larger job. Not so much for price comparison, but for competence comparison. It's not overkill when this is what you COOK things on.
posted by skbw at 7:46 AM on February 25, 2013

I always start by googling the problem as there are some excellent message boards for appliance repair out there. I repaired my oven from 1963 and my newer washer with parts for under 20$ from ebay. try BRAND MODEL oven not heating or something like that as your search.
posted by WeekendJen at 8:54 AM on February 25, 2013

One of my favorite sites for learning how to diagnose problems is fixitnow.com. There is one post for diagnosing heating elements in electric ovens.

These steps are pretty much what an appliance repair person would do.
posted by plinth at 10:08 AM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

In case anybody wants to know, I lucked out -- the first appliance repair company I called were really nice and really knowledgeable (they'd heard of my obscure brand!), and told me I should call them back with a model number to see if parts are even still available for the thing. Unfortunately there was no model number to be found anywhere, so I had them come out to look at it. Turns out it was the clock/timer that alltomorrowsparties mentioned -- even though I keep it set at manual, the clock had burnt out, which meant that the oven wouldn't turn on. The guy was able to get inside and bypass the clock, and now I have a working oven, hurrah!

Anyway, thanks to you guys, I called the right place, so thanks again.
posted by JanetLand at 3:09 PM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

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