Our sad GE Oven Saga

Normally I don’t like to use this site to vent or gripe, but I’m going to make an exception here.

For the past several months, the oven in our 3.5 year old GE Profile gas range (JGS968) has been half-broken. It leaks gas and won’t stay hot.

The problem is completely reproducible:

  1. Set oven to some common baking temperature, like 350°.
  2. About 5-10 minutes after the oven comes to temperature, the smell of gas will be noticeable. It has essentially “gone out”. The oven will start to lose temperature but the flow of gas seems to continue.

If the oven is turned off and restarted to again bake at 350°, the temperature will start out significantly below the 350° mark. Often, the temperature will then stall, never rising above the first sampled temperature.

The oven can be “re-lit” by rapidly opening and closing the door. Like a bellows. There is an audible ‘poomf’ and the temperature immediately starts rising again.

The stovetop burners work fine. The only time we smell gas is when trying to use the oven.

It should be obvious that this problem makes the oven nearly useless. Besides gassing everyone out of the room, it can’t hold a temperature so baking and slow-cooking are nearly-impossible. At least the broiler works.

I’m a repair guy, see I have a shirt.

So far we’ve had five visits from three different GE repairmen. Of the three, only one was worth paying. Of course we never saw that one again.

The first visit, way back in December, the guy came with some sort of gas-sniffing instrument, poked around for 5 minutes then told me to change the incoming gas line, that GE doesn’t cover that and it just cost me $100 for him to tell me that. I pointed out that there were no gas problems with the stove, which feeds from the same hose, but he insisted, swiped my credit card and left.

The second visit, was the nice and seemingly competent repair guy. After listening and poking around more than any of them, I’m seem to remember this was the only repairman who checked behind the oven, after asking a lot of questions (!), he replaced the igniter, and billed us for the part.

Third and fourth visits were the first guy again, but at least we’d been escalated so no more charges. First he determined it was a part which would need to be mailed to us. Part ordered, next visit scheduled. Next visit, part replaced. He waited a few minutes to be sure it worked, which wasn’t long enough, then left. We tried to cook dinner the next night and the problem was as bad as ever, or slightly worse.

Today I had the worst repair visit ever. After describing our completely reproducible problem in detail, the GE repairman told me that our problem was “not possible”, condescendingly implied that I was confusing the smell of a warm oven with the smell of gas and then left. Sure, I called GE customer service (800-386-1215) and constructively bitched them out, but it still cost me another half day and raised my blood pressure to Bruce Banner levels.

Our next repair is scheduled with an independent service company on April 1st. Fitting.


11 Responses to “Our sad GE Oven Saga” Comments Feed for Our sad GE Oven Saga

  • Gah. That’s a huge pain in the neck, sorry Joe. We ended up getting GE extended coverage on microwave, refrigerator and dishwasher so we could repair a fridge problem that required a manual defrost every 3 weeks.

    So much for American Quality Manufacturing.

  • I find this story slightly humorous. I’m working on graduating this May as a Network Administrator, but I do have experience from being a maintenance manager at two apartment complexes for awhile now.

    First thing the guys should have done… Checked the ignition, watched it, made sure that everything lit up that was supposed to light up.

    After everything there was ok, they should have checked the line that the gas leads. That way, they make sure that there isn’t a leak in the line headed to the ignition.

    If the mechanics would have actually checked, and rechecked, I’m positive that they would have found the problem. It sounds like they all half ass worked on it.

  • @Matt half-assedness seems like a religion with these guys. The next guy who shows up is going to get a luke-warm oven and a room full of gas.

  • Repairmen of these sorts are not trained to do much other than to try and identify which part they need to order (or fetch out of the van). They’ve not been trained to troubleshoot the “what makes an oven light”. These appliances are highly modularized these days, so every problem is approached as “what part are we swapping out today?”

    I can see it now: You’re problem is more complex than “the oven won’t light” (igniter). They are not equipped to handle problems that fall in-between. You need to go find the yellow page ad of the guy who has that appliance repair store straight out of sesame street in the 1970’s. A guy that actually fixes things. Hey, what about “Luis”?… Nah, he closed the “fix-it” shop and opened up a UPS store in its place (the greedy bastard!).

  • I read GE is getting out the the appliance business soon. Sounds like they already did!

  • I actually experienced the identical problem with a brand new oven, but since I have a service contract on the oven, the five visits by useless technicians were at least free.
    The bottom line is that they took apart my oven, removed the main gas line (attached to all of the knobs), and ordered a new one since they said it’s leaky and very dangerous. It’s taken a few weeks to arrive, but they’re supposed to replace the part next week. I hope that you can get GE to replace your part as well.

  • I have a GE Profile oven and range and it’s about 2.5 years old and i am having them same problem you have i just started last week set the temp to 350 or what ever strong gas smell then the temp does not rise off and on sometimes it works ???? I pain alot of money for this stove and have nothing but problems since.. any ideas ????

    thanks Mike

  • @MIKE GE’s Customer Service people were very good on the phone, complain loudly and repeatedly — and politely. Request a visit from a non-GE repair person, they were far, far better than the GE people. Call immediately if a service visit has not fixed the problem.

    After a half-dozen visits, GE eventually offered us a replacement oven at a significantly reduced price. Double-check the replacement model they offer, the first model I was offered was not equivalent to the oven which they couldn’t figure out how to fix. A little bit of googling turned up the current equivalent model and they agreed to sell me that one instead.

    We also made sure to buy the extended service plan on the new one.

  • If anyone is experiencing this problem tell your repair person to to replace the ignitor. If he argues and says the oven is lighting tell him to check the resistance of the ignitor when it is cold and when it is hot. The resistance should be different at the two temperatures with the hot ignitor having a lower resistance.
    Theory behind this: The ignitor is in series with the safety valve. The safety value measures the current flowing through the ignitor. When the ignitor first turns on it is cold so the resistance is high. In my oven, the cold (room temperature) ignitor is about 350 ohms. As current flows through it it begins to heat up and glow which cause the resistance to decrease resulting in more current flowing through it. When it is hot enough to ignite there is enough current flowing through it to trip the safety valve to turn on the gas flow to the burner.

    What happened in my case was the cold (room temperature) ignitor resistance was only 59 ohms resulting in the safety valve turning on the gas right away even though the ignitor wasn’t hot enough to ignite the gas coming out of the burner. After about 60-90 seconds the ignitor was hot enough and the burner would light. I would smell gas for this 60 -90 seconds until the burner would light.

    I installed a new ignitor and this fixed the problem. The resistance is 350 ohms at room temperature and about 60 ohms when hot.

  • I have the same problem. I’ve replaced the ignitor twice. Once with a generic brand and then with an OEM part. Still have the problem. Checked every line and valve with soapy water. No leaks. I will have to ohm out the OEM ignitor . New only means not used. New doesn’t mean it’s good. From there I don’t know what I’ll do. Maybe find a used but good one with a standing pilot.

  • Our problem is identical to the one Joe experienced. He didn’t finish the article with what the solution was. It would be useful to know how the problem was resolved.

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