Monday, March 20, 2017


We are going about everything backwards. Our original plans were to remodel the kitchen and then get new appliances. However, I haven't yet gotten to that project and we only have one surviving appliance left and it has been showing signs of flat lining a time or two already.

When we moved into this house, the door on our old microwave looked like it had gone twelve rounds with Mike Tyson. The frame of the door was all broken and the handle itself was caved in. At the time, I was able to find old "new stock" parts to repair it and it serviced us well for over four years. However, the handle due to poor design, broke off the machine again and there was no fixing it and there were no parts anywhere to be found for such an ancient machine. However, by grasping the underside of the door, we could still open and close it so we used it as is for another six months. However the continual torquing of the door played a toll on the plastic pieces and eventually it too broke off dropping the glass onto the stove below. (I'm not sure how it didn't break but it didn't!)

With no glass, I figured it was now a safety hazard (sarcasm there) and unplugged the machine. One problems I have these days with appliances is that hardly anyone stocks anything anymore. You have to go to a showroom, pick out something that you like, order it and wait for weeks or months until it arrives. With a five person household that makes 99% of all our meals and believes in making extra to reheat for quick meals in the days to come, a microwave anymore is a necessity. I ordered my microwave and was told it would be two weeks. Past experience has taught me that it could be twice as long.

I wasn't sure how we would survive without a microwave for up to a month so as I was driving home, I pondered the possibility of buying the cheapest microwave possible with the thought that it had to just survive a few weeks and then we could sell it this spring at our garage sale. I knew the only place that would have something cheap and crappy enough for my needs was Walmart so for the first time in decades, I stepped foot inside our local store. They indeed had a cheap piece of crap microwave made entirely of thin brittle plastic for $49! How someone can make a microwave that cheap is beyond me. It was bright red and could barely hold our dinner plates but barely was good enough for me. As a plus, it held up for two and a half weeks (see I told you it would take longer) for our stainless steel microwave to arrive.

Our old microwave was a recirculating model which isn't the best especially when you have a gas cook top directly underneath. The gas cook top, while a dream to cook with, has a downfall in that it generates a lot more heat than our previous electric cook top did, which in the summer makes the kitchen much warmer. Although super efficient in burning the gas without noxious fumes, the possibility is always there and that always worried me. Also, my wife likes to fry these Asian fish that can stink up a house for days during the winter time. With all these in mind, I bought a microwave that can be vented up through the roof. Our house has a hipped roof meaning we have to vertical surfaces accessible via attic space to vent fumes and the nearest outside wall if in the front of the house next to the front door, not an attractive place to vent fumes either. However, I figured I could work something out one way or another.

As it turned out, a previous microwave had been vented up into the attic so there was a hole already there to add ducting but I'm guessing that is where it stopped. Pumping heat into an attic here in the winter time leads to ice dam formation on your eaves and water damage to your walls so I didn't want to just dump all the fumes and heat into the attic. However, our roof has regular vents about every six feet along the peak of the roof and there was one within 92-1/2 inches of where the duct from the microwave came up. I know this for a fact because I initially bought a 60" duct thinking it was enough, returned a second time for a 24" chunk thinking that would get me there and having to return a third time for another 60" chunk that I cut down.

After much bumping of my head, barking my shins on rafters, taping together numerous joints and insulating the entire length, I finally got my microwave plumbed to the outside air at the peak of our house without adding a new hole in our roof. Now we can vent stinky fish fumes out the peak of our house which probably won't offend anyone but the neighbors downwind. Finally, all this is just before we are starting to get serious about remodeling the kitchen to the point we finally pulled some strings and are getting an architect to layout some options. However, I plan to recycle this microwave and all our other new appliances in the new design and the last remaining holdout, the double wall oven, if it lasts that long will finally be kicked to the curb and replaced with something new. It is nearly 45 years old so it has had a good run.


Kelly said...

Ha! I had to laugh at your comments about Walmart. I live in a small enough town that I really have no other option than to shop there. I try to only go once or twice a month, doing the majority of my grocery shopping at a chain grocery store (therefore earning points to get cheaper gas!).

I remember my Dad's last Christmas (which would make it 1969) he bought my mother an Amana RadarRange. He was so impressed with it and I think we cooked a pound or more of bacon on Christmas day. My sister inherited that microwave six years later and used it for many more after that. It didn't have all the bells and whistles they come with now, but hey... when something works for 20 or 30 years, you can't really complain. They sure don't make things like they use to.

Vince said...

If you have a catering supply store near. Remember eateries are the most prone to going to the wall within 18 months. But their electric goods are designed to take a hammering and use. So if you can get any ovens from them they'll see you out far longer than any domestic app' regardless of 'quality'.

Pumpkin Delight (Kimberly) said...

I have an amana gas stove/oven that came with my house and I love it! Good quality stuff there!