We drove down to Crathie yesterday, had a coffee and a chat with Madasaboxoffrogs, collected our replacement oven (and a few other things) and returned home where I brought the oven inside for installation today.
So far, so good.
Removing the old oven was slightly challenging as it’s an expensive fan-assisted model, which means it has a substantial steel chassis, huge amounts of insulation and extra controls.
All of that “quality” adds weight, so I had to be particularly careful as I slid it out of the space in the kitchen cabinets, balanced it on one knee so I could disentangle and disconnect the cable, and then lower it to the floor.
I managed it without squashing my toes, cracking the floor tiles or smashing the oven.
The replacement oven is a very, very cheap conventional model from B&Q, which made lifting it into place a doddle as it’s made out of very thin steel sheet, has minimal insulation and basic mechanical controls.
The oven is hard-wired to its own circuit but, unusually, the person who did the croft’s electrics actually put the connection in a sensible, readily accessed location. (Most of the wiring is diabolical.)
After a few minutes work I was able to slide the oven all the way in, switch the mains switch back on, close the circuit breaker, and turn the cooker’s isolation switch on.
Everything seemed to be okay, so I set the oven’s dials to “top and bottom elements” and “175C”, before popping my oven thermometer on the middle shelf.
Ten minutes later I went see if the oven had reached the desired temperature.
It hadn’t and the thermometer was reading 130C.
When I checked inside the oven, the top element was coming on and off but no heat appeared to be rising from the bottom of the oven.
I turned the element control to “bottom only”, and after a few minutes the temperature fell.
I turned the control to “top only” and after five minutes the temperature had risen to 170C.
Drat, drat and double drat.
The dang-blasted bottom element in our replacement oven is faulty. It means we can grill but not bake, which is far from ideal.
I decided to see if I could repair it and looked it up using Google.
It turns out the Arrow brand is slapped on a very, very cheap Turkish oven, which is then sold by B&Q at a very low price.
It also turns out a lot of people have problems with this brand.
No surprises there, then.
Still, there are parts available for the ovens—but at a price.
The bottom element will cost £37.60.
And I really should replace both elements. We know from experience that when one element fails the other follows suit within months.
If the two elements really cost £83.30, how can the rest of oven be worth just £56.70? And where did the design, marketing and transporting costs go?
Either the oven is woefully underpriced or the element is over-priced.
Do I want to spend £83.30 repairing a budget oven that’s almost certainly not as good as either of the other two broken ovens we have stored in the old cottage?
Do I want to spend more than £100 repairing either of them?
Or should I do as the Other Half as suggested and use Comet’s online auction to buy a discontinued, second or ex-display oven for the same amount?
Or do we look for a new oven that’s on sale with a more reputable retailer?
Or pay rather a lot to a locally owned electrical shop in somewhere like Huntly or Inverurie? (Although the service in certain of these leaves a lot to be desired.)
Whichever choice I make, I’ll do so knowing that whether repaired or “new”, the oven will break again within two to three years as even the most expensive models are, in effect, disposable junk.
I’ll have to decide very quickly though as I have a double birthday party to cater for and that means producing masses of sausage rolls, pork pies, fairy cakes, biscuits for a horde of ravening children.
Hmm, there’s an idea for a birthday game—whose oven can roll the furthest down the hill…