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Piracy in Your Kitchen

Updated on December 12, 2012

Time for the pitchforks!

Our kitchens today are dependent on electric appliances. Unless you're a survivalist, it's hard to cook without them.

One of mine is a self-cleaning wall oven, one made by General Electric. Though not new it's a model with electronic controls, which shows you it's not all that old, either.

Today, I set it to clean itself. I don't do that often, maybe once or twice a year. I'm a neat cook, but someone who was in my kitchen on Thanksgiving Day isn't, and after that it needed a cleaning cycle.

It has a motorized door lock to prevent it being opened while hot enough to turn the grime into ash. When it started, it locked, but there was a scraping sound as the lock engaged, and it was slow to do so. When it was finished, it wouldn't unlock. Switching off the power at the breaker didn't free it. Neither did pushing or pulling on the door handle, nor trying to reset it from the keypad. The noise it made initially, and its refusal to budge when done, convinced me it had a mechanical problem with the little motor or the gears to which it connects.

I was able to get the door open by pulling it up as if to remove it, then giving it a sharp jerk outward. That slipped it past the latch hook of the lock. Removing an upper panel revealed the culprit. Nothing would move that lock. The limit switches seemed to be in order, the wiring looked good, but the motor wouldn't run. It wouldn't even try.

I cut the power, unscrewed the lock assembly and removed it, and played with it for a few minutes. No response. Finally, I took off the latch hook, turned the rotator by brute force to the position in which it engages the oven's operating switch, and put the lock back into position. The oven works just as it should now, but I can't run the cleaning cycle again.

Looking up a new lock assembly on the Internet, I find its price is over $120. That's three figures for six ounces of cheap stamped metal, plastic and wire. There aren't five bucks of components in that thing.

The makers of electric shavers sell you the little machine affordably, then get you later on the replacement heads. Appliance manufacturers are doing the same thing. I won't cooperate. In six months, when I need to clean that oven again, I'll remove the lock assembly, drill out its housing rivets, take it apart, and try to repair its internal motor and gearing. If I can't, I'll straightwire the &^%$ oven and buy a bottle of oven cleaner.

May you rot in oblivion, Jeffrey Immelt! If I can help it, I'll never buy another GE appliance as long as I live!


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    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 5 years ago

      I can honestly say in the last few years, I haven't had to Clean my Oven. That's because I stopped Cooking in it! I've become a wiz at shopping for almost ready dishes that can be put in the Microwave!

      I Enjoyed your Hub Attikos, and now look forward to Following you.

    • profile image

      Deb Welch 5 years ago

      Thank God - Attikos - you are mechanical and have the know-how to repair problems such as these. I remember once I had a self-cleaning oven and I used the cycle once or twice - I thought the process took too long and used far too much energy and I wasn't happy with the odor when it finished. Since then - I have always cleaned ovens myself whether they had the self-cleaning feature or not. Thanks - Useful and Interesting Hub.