We recently had some problems with our stove. Basically it became more and more inconsistent when it came to…working.

The problem? When we pressed the “preheat” button, the desired temperature lit up on the electronic display, but only for a moment. It then turned off, before the sensor “caught” and we heard the whoosh of the gas coming on, to begin the preheat. Eventually it would work, but only after we repeated the process ten or twelve–or twenty–times.

After we discussed the fact that the stove was getting so unreliable, it would probably stop working altogether at the least convenient time ever, like when we were entertaining* or when we were looking forward to a labor-intensive and delicious meal**, I finally called a repair company and described the issue in great detail to the receptionist.

After checking with the repairman, she called me back and told me that they wanted to tell me what we were up against, in case we wanted to save the diagnostic fee and put it towards a new stove. She said that it sounded like the touchpad was going, and the repair would probably cost between $425 and $540***. The stove is eleven or twelve years old, and Jim and I had agreed that if the repair estimate came back higher than $300, we were off to buy a new one.

And so it went. On Saturday we went to our go-to department store when we need new appliances, and decided on the (much) updated version of the same stove. After taxes, delivery, and haul-away of our old stove were added in, the total was in the neighborhood of $900. Ouch. But it still made more sense than spending half that amount on a repair for an old stove. But then again, I HATED spending that money, especially in light of this summer’s activities for which we are trying to save.

We scheduled the delivery for this coming Monday, and tried to get a little excited about the new appliance that was on its way, one that will WORK on command, in spite of the fact that we just handed over nearly a thousand dollars.

Fast forward to this past Sunday. I was on my way to the city when I called Weaselmomma to catch up; we hadn’t enjoyed a phone chat in nearly a week!

I groused about our stove situation and she stopped me: “Hey, you know, a while back we had a similar problem with our stove not working properly. It wasn’t the exact same thing, but we were all set to get a new stove and then I happened to run the self-cleaning program. When it was finished? The stove totally worked. Apparently something was caked up and it caused it to stop working. I’m not saying it’ll work for you, but it’s worth a shot, isn’t it?”

After we hung up, I thought about how long it had been since I ran the self-cleaner.

BREAKING NEWS: I put my oven on “self-clean” today, and afterwards? The preheat stayed on. Every. Single. Time****.

After work tomorrow, I’m headed over to that department store with my receipt, to get my $900 back.

Long live Weaselmomma! (I love having smart and savvy friends!) Weaselmomma, I owe you a case of your favorite beverage. Or two. Thank you!*****

EDITED: I forgot to add (Thanks Stacey!) that even if this buys us a few months–or dare I say a year?–well, then it buys us a few months or a year. More time to save some cashola!

*highly unlikely; our schedule is fairly busy and doesn’t allow much time for dinner guests.
**more chance of that, for sure.
***she did make the disclaimer that of course they couldn’t completely diagnose the problem without seeing the stove in person, but acknowledged that the detail I gave her led them to believe that this was major.
****Well, almost. The older boy said that it didn’t start up twice for him, but approximately 48 out of approximately 50 starts is about 1000 times better than the record we had before today. (Fuzzy math)
*****The next time I get my construction paper and tissue paper out of the basement, I’m making you a “Mrs. Money 2010” sash to match that other one I made, for that other special friend.

ยฉ2010 Suburban Scrawl