The famed chef Julia Child purchased her six-burner gas commercial range in the early 1950s. She used it until she donated it to the Smithsonian in Washington DC in 2001.
According to Smithsonian experts, the stove is still in working condition.
This simple fact begs the question: how long do stoves last? If Julia Child’s stove could last nearly fifty years, why do stoves today quit after just a decade? What can we expect from our ENERGY star rated, modern appliances?
How Long Do Stoves Last?
Modern stoves last, on average, 13 to 15 years according to theNational Association of Homebuilders.
So, why did Julia Child’s stove last so long and ours do not?
In short, just like our grandparents have said for years, they do not make them like they used to.
However, this does not mean the new appliances are poorly made. Appliance companies have chosen energy over longevity. Energy standards allow appliances to use hundreds of dollars less on electricity because of the changes manufacturers have made.
In Australia, the Energy Rating label will tell consumers how efficient their appliance is. The more stars highlighted on the label, the less energy the appliance will use, and the more you will save on your electric bill.
So though you may think you’re having to call a repairman sooner for a newer appliance than you did the old jalopy you had before, you’re actually saving money in the long run with more energy-efficient appliances.
Why Do Stoves and Ovens Quit?
What exactly happens when the stove or oven won’t heat up? The repair may not be as awful as you may think.
Often the stove or oven just has a burnt-out element that needs to be replaced. If you’re not caring for your stove and oven by keeping it clean, the element may wear out more quickly because it is having to work harder to heat up and maintain a particular temperature too.
Maximizing Your Stove and Oven’s Lifespan
While on average, modern appliances do not last as long as their twentieth-century counterparts, consumers can take steps to lengthen their lifespan.
Clean and Efficient
A clean oven looks and smells nice, but it also can increase the longevity and accuracy of your appliance.
Whenever you spill something on your stove or in your oven, if you do not clean it up immediately, the spill will turn into icky gunk. More spills mean more build-up.
Manufacturers did not design the appliance to work efficiently in these conditions. In the end, your oven and stove end up working harder to both rise to a particular temperature and then maintain that temperature.
Love your appliance by cleaning it regularly. A cleaner appliance works more efficiently, and the element will last longer.
You should clean your oven once every two to twelve weeks, and you should wipe down spills when they occur rather than just leaving them or throwing some salt or baking soda on them to stem the smell.
Use the self-cleaning feature if you have one, but if you do not, you have other options.
Store cleaners work efficiently, but they also have powerful fumes that require sufficient ventilation.
Homemade cleaners can do the job too, like a baking-soda-water mixture. Spread on a thin layer inside the entire oven and leave it overnight. The mixture will dissolve spills and caked-on food.
In the morning, you need to just scrape it up with a spatula or wipe it down with a cloth.
Range Clean Up
If you have a gas range, you should regularly clean the vent hood filter above the range to help prevent a buildup of grease. If you have a charcoal filter, replace it annually.
If your stove runs on gas, clean the burner ports regularly with a straight pin to prevent clogs
Test Your Elements
If you have an electric range, your stove may not be functioning because of a burned-out element. But you can test this.
First, turn off the breaker. Find your fuse box, identify the breaker that your stove runs on, and then flip it off.
Next, remove the questionable element. Lift it up at the side opposite its terminals, and then remove the drip pan and decorative ring.
The element may just slide out at this point, like a plug in attached to an outlet. It also may have wires connected to it.
If your element has wires connected to it, remove those and then inspect the element for damage. Look for rust, dirt, or corrosion on the terminal ends. Clean the ends with sandpaper or steel wool.
At this point, you need a digital multimeter. You can find these at just about any hardware store for $20 to $30.
Set the multimeter to ohms, and then touch one probe to each of the terminals on the burner heating element.
If the burner is good, the reading should be between 20 and 120 ohms. If it reads zero, then you have a bad burner.
Next, reset the meter to read continuity. Touch one probe to the surface of the burner element and the other to one of the terminals. Then touch the probe to the other terminal. If the test detects continuity at either time, your burner is grounded to itself.
This means the burner will short out, and you need to replace it.
Repair, Don’t Despair
Now that you can answer the question, “How long do stoves last,” you can move on to understanding the value of the repair. When your water just won’t boil no matter how often you wiggle the stove knobs, do not start shopping immediately for a replacement.
Stove repairs can cost on average $300, a significantly less amount than a new stove and oven. Plus, you have the convenience of keeping your same, loved appliance.
For all of your appliance repair needs, contact us.