New to You
We all move occasionally, and with new homes come new appliances. Perhaps not brand new, but “new to you” anyway. People want to make sure these new appliances work properly, and will often call out a technician to check them out. Over the years I have answered many such calls only to discover their new; older machine works perfectly fine. This is an unnecessary expense. In this first of a series of articles, I will show you how to avoid this expense, and determine the serviceability of your new appliance.
Let’s begin with ovens, and how to get the most out of them.
I think most people perceive thermometers as exact in the readings they make, but they are not. All temperature gauges have a certain margin of error and digital devices tend to have smaller margins of error than analog devices, and so are more accurate. I use two thermometers for in-home diagnostics and repairs, a thermocouple voltage meter and an infrared thermometer. My thermocouple is more accurate than my infrared sensor and a thermocouple voltage meter is a required tool for all expert appliance technicians like myself. Most of the thermocouple voltage meters claim to be accurate within 3 degrees Fahrenheit. Residential ovens use thermocouples mounted within the oven cavity to measure the oven temperature. Now compare the accuracy of a thermocouple to that of an infrared thermometer which has an accuracy range within 4 to 8 degrees. Most store-bought analog thermometers have accuracy ranges around the 25 to 50-degree mark fresh out of the box, so an analog thermometer that says 435 degrees in an oven may have a true temperature closer to 405 degrees furthermore, the accuracy of said analog device will decrease with continued use in the oven. I say all that to say, don’t go trying to fix something that’s not broken because a rusty old thermometer told you so! Trust the ovens technology first. If you are convinced something is just not quite right with your “new to you” oven consider these oven performance tips first, then visit TinLizzee.com.
Always allow any oven to preheat 20 to 30 minutes even if the oven chimes in that the preheat cycle is finished. If it takes your oven 10 to 15 minutes to get to 400 degrees go ahead and give it another five to ten minutes. I say this because of the thermocouple/thermostat assembly in residential ovens. Thermocouples are made of two different metals both of which absorb heat, the metal types vary. The metals are joined at a point and when heated interact and produce voltage at the junction point. That voltage is read and interpreted by an electronic or simply activates a switch in the case of a mechanical system. The problem with the thermocouple is that the temperature reading is that of the metal within the thermocouple itself, not necessarily the temperature of the oven cavity. This problem is exacerbated the closer the thermocouples’ proximity to the heat sources and many models mount the thermocouple right next to a secondary heating source! The extended time allows the heat in the oven to compress and level out evenly within the oven cavity.
Keep in mind, oven cavities are typically made of steel. Steel is a pretty dense metal and needs plenty of time to heat up. If you want an oven cavity to reach 400 degrees then the oven walls will have to be heated to at least 400 degrees first. Some ovens are designed with additional paneling within the oven cavity that give the cavity a sleek, modern, incognito look concealing brackets, components and screws. The downside is that all of the extra metal slows down preheat time. For ovens engineered with incognito designs, steam cleaning or intensive heating systems using the machines’ optional or additional features becomes more important.
I’m always surprised at how many of my customers don’t use the extra, optional, and additional features of their appliances. These are add-ons we pay for people! And the sad truth is that for some of these appliances, those optional features aren’t so optional. The machine may need that additional feature to operate at an optimal level. In the case of ovens, the often overlooked and neglected additional feature is the fan.
Whether it’s a venting fan or a convection fan if your oven has fans installed in it then those fans need to be running. Venting fans help regulate the oven temperature near heat sensitive equipment within the machine. Some ovens just use a funnel or pipe to allow heat energy to radiate out of the machine thus cooling it. But if you notice that an automatic fan in your oven no longer seems to run automatically, visit TinLizzee.com right away! If your oven has a fan switch, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you get in the habit of using it every time you cook in the oven.
The convection fan feature helps maintain and regulate an even oven cavity temperature, it can also lend itself to speeding up the preheat time. It does this by force moving the heated air around the oven cavity. If you feel your oven has always taken a little longer to preheat than you would like, or were promised by your salesperson, try using the convection bake setting. If you don’t like using the convection technology; plenty of people don’t, try just doing the oven preheat utilizing the convection feature. It should speed up preheat time significantly. Those ovens that market themselves as fast prep, ultimate heating, 10-minute preheat cycle! etc. these types of ovens need to use all of the available heat sources and forced air fans it has to even come close to achieving the operational parameters they claim. Many convection fan components have dependent heating element either attached or built-in. The drawback of the increased oven performance is the increased noise level and energy usage.
If you try this advice but continue to have a heating problem in your oven, visit TinLizzee.com for excellent advice to troubleshoot the issue and professional guidance to repair the problem yourself saving you hundreds of dollars! We have tried and true methods based on in-field experience to get the job done. We share that knowledge with our customers right over their own 4G network connection! Maybe your oven just needs to be recalibrated. If you have the tools, at Tin Lizzee we have the expertise to identify your ovens heat problem and recalibrate the thermostat to within 5 degrees of precision!
Check back here on this blog page for more articles that will help you get the most out of your “new to you” appliances. There are also a wide range of appliance related topics on our blog, many written by highly experienced technicians with years of experience. Bon Appetite!!!