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Dianabanana

Giving up on gas and going back to electric

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After pining away for years for a gas range, I finally got a GE Profile dual fuel two years ago, and it has been a disaster. For some reason that no one has been able to diagnose (and I've had both appliance repair guys and guys from the gas company out repeatedly), the burners "roar" and put out a tremendous amount of carbon monoxide. We have replaced several different parts with no improvement. The mercaptan smell is overwhelming and it makes me ill to cook with it.

Now we are ready to kiss goodbye the $2K we paid for it and buy another. I'm reluctant to get another gas range for fear it will have the same problem. So I guess I'm looking for 1) somebody to comfort me by saying that gas isn't that much better than electric (even though I believe in my heart of hearts that it really is), and 2) advice as to what I should look for in an electric range.

Is it remotely possible to do a decent stir-fry on an electric range? The answer is no, isn't it?

Going off to have a good cry now . . .

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If the range is defective why has the retailer not replaced the entire unit?

I don't know where you live but most states have laws that protect consumers when an appliance presents a danger. Particularly when there is production of CO.

I know several people who have the GE dual fuel ranges and have had no problems with them. However there is certainly the possibility of a lemon.

There can be any number of reasons for the problem, including various intake and mixing valves.

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Get an induction cooktop - electric with the speed, heat and fine control of gas, while being more energy efficient to boot.

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I know several people who have the GE dual fuel ranges and have had no problems with them. However there is certainly the possibility of a lemon.

We just put a GE Dual fuel in last November. I love it.

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If the range is defective why has the retailer not replaced the entire unit? 

I don't know where you live but most states have laws that protect consumers when an appliance presents a danger.  Particularly when there is production of CO.

Well, I had the repair guy out on this issue while it was still under warranty, but then my life kind of blew up with a serious illness and some other things, and I just didn't have time to pursue it. I didn't know until just recently that the CO was so high--my husband and father-in-law were telling me it was normal to have a gas smell, even though I KNEW that this was way too much. Then by the time I was able to pursue it, it was out of warranty. Would I still be able to make a warranty claim?

Complicating the issue is that I live in a small town with *one* appliance repair guy, and it turns out that he and the dealer I bought the range from are not speaking to one another. Like, they literally refuse to communicate. It's incredibly frustrating. Only once in my life have I shouted at a service person, and it was to the appliance repair guy's wife when she refused to make a necessary phone call to the dealer.

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Induction cookers are pretty expensive aren't they? Plus I don't know if they put out enough heat for a stir fry

I only know two ways to get decent stir fry on an electric stove. Either use a copper wok (unrealistic), or get one of those heavy American cast iron woks. I highly recommend Lodge's pro logic 14 inch wok. It's flat on the bottom and round on the inside, so you get all the benefits of the wok plus being able to conduct heat efficiently. The only issue with this is that it is difficult to control the temperatures and it is extremely heavy. You'll have to adjust your ingredients and cooking methods around this, but you'll get pretty decent temperature levels and your food will come out pretty good

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If the range is defective why has the retailer not replaced the entire unit? 

I don't know where you live but most states have laws that protect consumers when an appliance presents a danger.  Particularly when there is production of CO.

Well, I had the repair guy out on this issue while it was still under warranty, but then my life kind of blew up with a serious illness and some other things, and I just didn't have time to pursue it. I didn't know until just recently that the CO was so high--my husband and father-in-law were telling me it was normal to have a gas smell, even though I KNEW that this was way too much. Then by the time I was able to pursue it, it was out of warranty. Would I still be able to make a warranty claim?

Complicating the issue is that I live in a small town with *one* appliance repair guy, and it turns out that he and the dealer I bought the range from are not speaking to one another. Like, they literally refuse to communicate. It's incredibly frustrating. Only once in my life have I shouted at a service person, and it was to the appliance repair guy's wife when she refused to make a necessary phone call to the dealer.

Try calling GE directly and explain the issues, including the two people who refuse to talk to each other. I'm pretty sure they wouldn't let a defective range be out there like that.

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and it was to the appliance repair guy's wife when she refused to make a necessary phone call to the dealer.

If I were you, considering what you paid for the range and the size of your community, I'd contact the dealer directly and try to get them to make things right. Word of mouth advertising cuts both ways.

ETA: If that doesn't work, Google the name/number of the CEO of GE's kitchen appliance arm. Call and ask for him/her, you will usually be connected to an executive office "assistant" who will help you get the attention you need. You will be suprised how much they can accomplish. I use this as a last resort when the usual customer service people either cannot or will not help.


Edited by JimH (log)

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I didn't know until just recently that the CO was so high--my husband and father-in-law were telling me it was normal to have a gas smell, even though I KNEW that this was way too much.

Just to be clear, carbon monoxide and "gas smell" are two different things. You can't smell CO... [/pedant]

Have you contacted your gas company? Most utilities offer a free check-up service, and will adjust burners, check for leaks, and so on (at least SoCal Gas does it all for free).

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I didn't know until just recently that the CO was so high--my husband and father-in-law were telling me it was normal to have a gas smell, even though I KNEW that this was way too much.

Just to be clear, carbon monoxide and "gas smell" are two different things. You can't smell CO... [/pedant]

Have you contacted your gas company? Most utilities offer a free check-up service, and will adjust burners, check for leaks, and so on (at least SoCal Gas does it all for free).

Yes, I'm well aware they are different, but, as I understand it, they are correlated in this instance because the gas is being insufficiently combusted. The insufficient combustion is causing the high CO, and the gas that is being insufficiently combusted is doctored with mercaptan so you can smell it. Not sure if that is even correct. My point actually was just that I knew there was way too much "gas smell," and later my contention that something was wrong was confirmed by the CO reading.

And yes, as I stated originally, I have had the guy from the gas company out here repeatedly. He's the one who did the CO reading. He also checked the pressure at the meter, checked for leaks, etc.

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Call GE and complain, they should send someone out with a replacement.


Edited by melkor (log)

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As mentioned above, you cannot smell CO. If you can smell gas . Shut the valve off...It should be accessable, per code. You get enough gas in a room and a spark----I will spare you the description....Get the gas Company to look at it...SOON!!!

Bud

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Induction cookers are pretty expensive aren't they? Plus I don't know if they put out enough heat for a stir fry

I only know two ways to get decent stir fry on an electric stove. Either use a copper wok (unrealistic), or get one of those heavy American cast iron woks. I highly recommend Lodge's pro logic 14 inch wok. It's flat on the bottom and round on the inside, so you get all the benefits of the wok plus being able to conduct heat efficiently. The only issue with this is that it is difficult to control the temperatures and it is extremely heavy.  You'll have to adjust your ingredients and cooking methods around this, but you'll get pretty decent temperature levels and your food will come out pretty good

First off, I agree with the posters who suggest that GE should be taking care of this problem. That being said, induction cooktops are actually quite competitive with gas and electric even without considering the savings via its improved energy efficiency and improved safety. They can also put out a lot of energy. While they may not be quiet as good as really high BTU gas burners (I'm not sure that they necessarily aren't - mine gets my pans quite hot and i am now able to do a number of things with high heat that I was previously unable to do with my electric Jenn-Air). they do a great job.

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And yes, as I stated originally, I have had the guy from the gas company out here repeatedly. He's the one who did the CO reading. He also checked the pressure at the meter, checked for leaks, etc.

Sorry 'bout that -- blew right past that part!

However, if the gas company confirmed that your range is putting out excessive CO, they could've "red tagged" you right there on the spot. How is it you're still messing around with this thing? One statement from the gas company would be all that's needed to get the ball rolling with GE. You have a lemon on your hands, and with your repair history growing, it should be easy at this point to swap it out (even after an expired warranty).


Edited by Joe Blowe (log)

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I agree with everyone who suggested you contact GE or the dealer or both.

Try phone contact and follow up with a physical letter and copies of the gas company reports

and send it Certified with a Return receipt request to prove it was delivered.

Defective appliances that present a hazard are never "out of warranty" if you can prove that the condition has existed from the time it was installed, and is not due to tampering by unauthorized people.

The gas company has to log all complaints and visits by technicians and has to keep those records for at least three years. (In California and I believe most states have similar laws.)


Edited by andiesenji (log)

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I agree with everyone who suggested you contact GE or the dealer or both. 

Try phone contact and follow up with a physical letter and copies of the gas company reports

and send it Certified with a Return receipt request to prove it was delivered.

Defective appliances that present a hazard are never "out of warranty" if you can prove that the condition has existed from the time it was installed, and is not due to tampering by unauthorized people.

The gas company has to log all complaints and visits by technicians and has to keep those records for at least three years. (In California and I believe most states have similar laws.)

This is the sensible way to go.

An authoritative, independent view.

The manufacturer (if not the dealer) is almost certain to take prompt action on your behalf.

Now, I'm unfamiliar with US gas cooker construction, but I wonder whether there is a mismatch between the gas supply and the spec that this particular machine (by error or design) was built to expect. (I'm wondering firstly about the effects of using the wrong jets for LPG or mains gas...)

Failing that, it sounds like its a lemon and needs to be exchanged.

All that said, personally, I do really like induction for a home cooker.

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Don't let the fear of another fluke cause you to subject yourself to the horror that is the electric range.

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Don't let the fear of another fluke cause you to subject yourself to the horror that is the electric range.

Unless it's induction which are briliant - and yes you can get induction wok burners but they cost $$$$

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Can anyone tell me the advantages/disadvantages of induction verses vitroceramic cooktops? I live in France and vitroceramic cooktops are quite common but I haven't seen much here. I just ordered a vitroceramic cooktop for my small non-gas equipped kitchen and am hoping it was the right choice.

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Can anyone tell me the advantages/disadvantages of induction verses vitroceramic cooktops?  I live in France and vitroceramic cooktops are quite common but I haven't seen much here.  I just ordered a vitroceramic cooktop for my small non-gas equipped kitchen and am hoping it was the right choice.

advantages

Most fuel efficient cooktop,

More controllable than gas,

Heats things up extreamly quickly

heats the pan so kitchen doesn't get to hot,

safe they turn off if pan left off for a while, cooktop does not get very hot so difficult to burn yourself by accident.

disadvantages

Can only use pans a magnet will stick to

Not good for round bottom pans like woks (but you can get induction wok burners now for £££)

No flame - if you want to char peppers etc.

On high power they can hum (does not bother most but some hate it)

Cost more

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Don't let the fear of another fluke cause you to subject yourself to the horror that is the electric range.

It seems to me that people tend to disparage electric ranges when they haven't actually used the new generation of them. I hear all kinds of blanket statements about gas ranges being better than electric, but I can say from personal experience that the electric range I have now is way better than many of the gas ranges I've used, and it's just an old style coil one. It gets hotter, heats up faster, and holds a nice low heat forever without any hot spots. I use fairly high end gas ranges at work -- Viking and Wolf -- and I'd take the electric Whirlpool I have in my apartment over either of them. Any day, no contest.

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Can anyone tell me the advantages/disadvantages of induction verses vitroceramic cooktops?  I live in France and vitroceramic cooktops are quite common but I haven't seen much here.   I just ordered a vitroceramic cooktop for my small non-gas equipped kitchen and am hoping it was the right choice.

advantages

Most fuel efficient cooktop,

More controllable than gas,

Heats things up extreamly quickly

heats the pan so kitchen doesn't get to hot,

safe they turn off if pan left off for a while, cooktop does not get very hot so difficult to burn yourself by accident.

disadvantages

Can only use pans a magnet will stick to

Not good for round bottom pans like woks (but you can get induction wok burners now for £££)

No flame - if you want to char peppers etc.

On high power they can hum (does not bother most but some hate it)

Cost more

Thank you Ermintrude! It is my understanding that the vitroceramic cooktops are different from induction though and don't require special pots, which is why I bought one. Now I am wondering if they are as good. I am buying this in France and so I don't know if they are common elsewhere. I did a bit of searching and found pretty limited info in English.

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Can anyone tell me the advantages/disadvantages of induction verses vitroceramic cooktops?  ...

.... It is my understanding that the vitroceramic cooktops are different from induction though and don't require special pots, which is why I bought one. Now I am wondering if they are as good. I am buying this in France and so I don't know if they are common elsewhere. I did a bit of searching and found pretty limited info in English.

"Vitroceramic" is merely the name the French give to what others just call "ceramic".

A more technically correct description in english is "glass ceramic".

It refers only to the top surface - not the means of heating, or the means of control.

These materials combine the toughness of ceramics (particularly to thermal shock) with many of the properties of glasses, such as transparancy. IIRC its even possible to make the thermal transmission properties different in different directions - like conducting up and down through the sheet, while insulating sideways to reduce sideways heat spread.

Generally induction hobs (US 'cooktops') also have a glass ceramic ("vitroceramic") top (cooking) surface. What distinguishes them, and makes them more expensive, as well as better, is what is under that glass ceramic top...

Induction has a magnetic heater.

It only works with ferromagnetic materials.

That doesn't actually mean "special" pans.

It just means some pans (all-aluminium, and all-copper constructions as well as some stainless ones) plain don't work. Pyrex glass, ceramic (or glass ceramic) pans are total non-starters for induction. Many aluminium, stainless and even some copper pans are actually constructed with a base of a different material - which is "recognised" by an induction hob.

I say "recognised" because when there's no pan there, or an unsuitable pan, there is simply no heat generated - even if that 'burner' is switched on.

Its trivially easy to test a pan for induction use. If a magnet (like a fridge magnet) will stick to the base, then it'll work on induction.

"Hum". My induction hob wasn't audible. But I had one pan that did make some noise when used on the induction hob. I presume that something in its construction was able to move, distort or vibrate in the magnetic field. Not a problem for me.

Because with induction the heat is generated in the material of the pan, the cooker surface is only heated by contact with the hot pan.

This means the top stays cool, so spills can be wiped up very easily, without burning on.

It is very easy to keep an induction hob immaculately clean.

The heating elements under an ordinary (vitro)ceramic hob might be ordinary electric heater coils, radiant roils, or halogen bulbs.

These heat the ceramic, which heats the pan. Its slower and more heat gets 'lost' to the kitchen.

Electric hobs adjust their power by switching the element full on, then full off.

Induction hobs by their nature have electronic power regulation, switching on and off many times per second. This results in a very constant simmer.

You'll sometimes find electronic regulation on other 'ceramic' hobs - BUT I've never seen electronic regulation of halogen heaters.

Because of this, halogen, though faster than radiant and much faster than 'solid' electric rings, is generally rubbish for simmering.

Its important to understand that I'm referring to the internal control, NOT the knobs or buttons.

I've seen (hey, at the moment I have to use) electronic touch buttons linked to non-electronic switching.

Without electronic "regulation", (French "régulation d'énergie") the power comes in bursts of several seconds (10,20,30 seconds?) followed by an 'off' time of similarly many seconds. With electronic regulation, its like a dimmer on a lamp instead of flashing it full on and then fully off.

Without (the expense of) the electronics, you have to rely on a very heavy pan to even out the surges of power. You'll usually see this with radiant and I think always with halogen. The mass of a 'solid' ring is there in part to even out these surges - at the expense of speed and responsiveness.

IMHO, no question, induction is better. (Sorry to tell you...)

The only real problem is that induction is more expensive on purchase price. (Unless you find a very special deal...)

But that's just MY personal opinion. (Based on ownership/use of radiant {with one halogen ring} 'ceramic' and induction, and old solid ring electric cookers.) I've used gas, of course, but I'd prefer to live with induction.

For those who want induction but also want to retain the use of favourite pans for specific uses, it is possible (in Europe anyway) to get a hob unit that combines induction with radiant rings under one piece of (glass)ceramic ("vitroceramic") one example is the the deDietrich DTI703B see http://www.dedietrich-electromenager.com/s....html?ct=FRANCE (being a "Flash" website, I can't link direct to the product... aaargh!) And the deDietrich DTI702 has two induction rings plus two gas rings in the same unit ...

Another solution is a group of 'domino' units.

Or Andiesenji's solution of putting the non-induction pan on an induction-friendly griddle...

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Dougal, thank you so much for such a generous and thorough answer, it is very much appreciated. Unfortunately, they are installing it as I write, so too late to change. I should have asked here first! I will let you know how it goes

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Without dismissing what Dougal wrote in praise of induction, I don't think there's any reason to hang one's head for buying a good ceramic-topped range. I've had one for two and half years, and it's easily the best range I've ever used (the list of ranges I've had experience on is long and broad). Especially if you've got less than $2000 to spend on a range, I believe ceramic-topped electric is your best choice.

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