As many of you know, we bought new kitchen appliances not long ago. We knew exactly what appliances we wanted. We wanted the same ones we had in our previous house. We really loved those! And this is what we did.
It did not happen quickly though. We obviously walked right into the continuing supply chain purgatory. Most of the appliances were either not in stock, not available to order at all, or had very long wait times if we could order them. The process took months!
We finally got them, though. Installed them too. Whew! Quite a job! Old Ken is getting a bit old for installing those over-the-range microwaves. I used to be able to do those myself. This time I needed miss Libby’s help. I cannot say that it went without a bit of cussing from me. Those microwaves are a real chore to install! We got it in though!
The range was a challenge as well. We were replacing an electric range with a wonderful new LG LRGL5825 gas range. A gas line had to be run under the house and a 110V electric outlet had to be run too. Fortunately, the crawl space is very “spacious.” I did not have to actually crawl.
So, the oven was installed and appeared to be working fine. It appeared to be. We soon found out that most things cooked in the oven ended up undercooked. We tried cooking longer or at higher temperatures, but the results were not much better.
We assumed the temperature was likely off from what the oven said it was. So, we got an oven thermometer, placed it in the oven, and experimented with the temperature.
According to the thermometer, once the oven was heated, it was 20 degrees low.
“Well, this ought to be easy to fix.” I thought. There are instructions in the owner’s manual for adjusting the oven thermostat. When I actually read the instructions, I was not so sure. The instructions are very poorly written. My guess was that they were originally written in Chinese. So, the process was confusing.
Finally, after a number of attempts, it seemed the temperature on the thermometer was within a degree or 2 of what we wanted.
Things were still not turning out quite right though. Baking sourdough bread for example got the nice brown tasty crust, but the center of the bread was not really done. We had to cook longer still.
Finally, we decided we needed professional help and called the LG people for a warranty visit regarding the temperature issue. Libby spoke to the rep on the phone who was very helpful and walked her through a baking setup where she pushed the bake button, set the desired temperature, and waited for the oven to heat up.
When the oven beeped to let her know the oven was at temperature, Libby told the rep what the thermometer read. The rep agreed something was not right and set up a service appointment.
What I learned during that service call was so eye-opening to me that I decided to share it in this article.
A few days later, Bob, the serviceman showed up and, of course, we went through the process of explaining what all was happening. I was there with Bob the whole time. Libby was elsewhere.
First off, I learned that those oven thermometers are not that accurate. Bob had a professional one that used a probe that he placed in the oven, and it communicated with the reading device outside the oven. He said those devices were expensive.
Also, Bob explained that you never assume the oven is ready to cook at the temperature you set when the oven beeps. Always wait for at least a full half-hour after starting. Ignore the beeper. Bob explained that the beep is meaningless since it is set to go off after a certain amount of time, not at a temperature.
“I know. I know,” he said. “You’re going to say that makes no sense at all, but that’s the way it is.”
He also explained that ovens do not get the temperature in the oven to the desired temperature and keep it right there. They can’t do that. They have to get close to the temperature and then heat a bit above the desired temperature and stop for a short time until the temperature is a bit below and then heat a bit above again. It is a constant going up down. Think of it as kind of averaging out.
Bob drew a series of waves on a piece of paper and then ran a line through the middle of the waves so I could visualize it.
He called the high and low of the waves the “spikes.”
What Bob found out was the real issue we had was that the “spikes” in our oven were too high and too low. They were about twice what they should be. So, Bob went and did some magic to the oven to fix that.
After testing a number of times, Bob determined we had the right “spikes.”
Another thing Bob explained was that to be truly ready to cook, all the parts of the inside of the oven need to be at the same temperature. Assuming you have an oven thermometer hanging in there, when it shows a temperature, it is showing the air temperature inside the oven. Not the temperature of the racks or inside oven walls, floor, and ceiling. Those take longer to come to temperature. Another reason to wait longer before putting stuff in the oven.
Yet another thing Bob shared was that each oven will have some cooking characteristics different from others. Though the factory does its best to make every oven exactly the same, things can and do happen after the oven leaves the factory.
The packing, shipping to a warehouse and handling there and handling and shipping to the store, who then possibly stacks the oven on other ovens and then delivers them to the final destination can significantly shift oven wall insulation for example. If significant enough, it can affect how even the cooking is inside.
This is why some people will claim that it took them a while to get to “know” their oven and how it cooks different things.
The old saying “you learn something new every day,” sure applied to me that day!
So, it has been a few weeks since spending that time with Bob and the oven has been doing just fine. The sourdough bread bakes up perfectly now. Plus, we are getting to “know” our oven more intimately than we ever thought possible.
I hope you found this little story a bit eye-opening as well.
Oh, yes. I can’t forget to plug Libby.
If you are thinking about making a real estate move or just have a question about something regarding real estate call Libby right away at 924-628-2436. She would love to help you!