Monday, February 16, 2009

Slow heating ovens have ignition problems

As Jen mentioned last year, we at Humphrey House enjoy the art of salvaging relics from other homes. Sometimes you find neat vintage doors with excellent hardware - other times something like a nearly new kitchen appliance can be found at bargain prices. Take for instance, our Dacor PGR30 oven.

The homeowner we purchased this from had recently moved into a nice River Forest home and had issues with the oven not fitting her countertops perfectly (it is a slide-in oven, not freestanding). The oven also tended to take a bit too long to heat up, so she said, "Enough! I'll try out this new-fangled thing I hear about called Craigslist!" Upon seeing the oven listed, Jen expertly maneuvered her way into purchasing this high-end appliance at a bargain rate.

After hooking it up, we did indeed see that the oven took a bit long to heat up. 20 minutes to get to 375 degrees. Hmm. Well, we let this slide as we didn't use it too often, and we had more urgent projects to attend to. Like finishing the rest of the kitchen.

As the kitchen punchlist dwindled (Yes folks, it CAN happen!), we returned our attention to the Dacor. We learned the problem of taking too long to heat could be the result of a faulty ignitor, as the glow bar lost its luster. I ordered a spare ignitor online to be prepared for the eventual outage.

Fast forward several months. After all the holidays hosting we had done, one day right after Christmas, the oven finally quit. Turning on the oven resulted in a token temperature rise. And, more alarmingly, we noticed the distinct smell of natural gas.

So the next weekend, I took apart the oven, removing the back panel of the Dacor PGR30 to access the ignitor. Only to find out the hard way that this particular model actually has two ignitors! One on top (for the broil setting) accessed from the back, and another one underneath the bottom of the oven (for regular baking). Needless to say, I became quite adept at appliance dis-assembly and re-assembly. I also like to think my creativity with profanity increased during this 6-hour ordeal as well.

Several hours later, the ignitor was successfully replaced, and believe it or not, the oven actually heats up in mere minutes! Much better than the pedestrian pace it used to take. So yes, if your oven takes to long to heat, it could be the ignitor. I guess all that wasted fuel we spent waiting for the oven to heat up offsets the savings from our tankless hot water heater. Yet another lesson learned at the school of Humphrey House. So, now that the oven is fully functioning, anyone care for a brownie?