So I have a small confession to make. Replacing my stovetop was never really in my plan for our kitchen upgrade. It was a hope, a dream, but when it came down to numbers, it was too costly for our budget. And since aesthetically it was stainless and black, it did fit in to the overall look I was trying to create. While it appeared to be from the early 90s by the hinged design, it did have four burners and a griddle pan in the middle back, which my husband loved.
That said three of the four burners did not appear to work. It was completely filthy and caked in grease and food debris. And to our surprise it had been installed wrong and was leaning at a significant angle. My husband and I talked and decided we would clean it up and have the gas company come out and check and see how bad our three non-working burners were and, as I suspected we had, if we had a leak. I’m not sure about everywhere but in Southern California The Gas Company will come out and check all your gas connections and appliances for free. They won’t do the repair but at least you know what you are dealing with.
The Last Straw with the Old Stove: Bring on the Replacement Stove
So as I said, I have a confession. My mother, who had been helping us clean our hoarder’s mess we bought, was cleaning the stove. After an hour or so, she said, “That’s it! I’m buying you a new stove!” She was frustrated at how no matter how hard she cleaned, it wasn’t coming clean. She, having trained to start the nursing program, felt not knowing what was left in this debris wasn’t healthy for us. Added to how much it leaned, she was afraid we might have an explosion or continued leak or worse. She explained to me it was ridiculous to clean something and try to make something work that was unsafe; even if in its heyday it had been a really cool stove. She made me a deal. She said, “If you will install it, I will buy it.” So after seeing my mother was not going to budge on this one, and honestly, she was offering me a new stove, I gave in. (Thank you, thank you, thank you, and thank you a thousand times more mommy. I know you read my blog.)
She went to research on stoves. Honestly, if you ever want to know anything about appliances, this is your woman! I and my family lovingly call her “a kitchen snob”, but she does her research and knows which brands are good for what appliances, which ones to stay away from and more importantly which high-end brands are really what low-end…(Electrolux also makes Frigidaire…who knew)…so you get the best deal for what your budget is AND what you are looking for. So I trusted her completely with what stove to buy for this stove upgrade and replacement. The only two things I requested were that since we may or may not (depending on if I could get my induction cooktop) replace the stove when we do our Real Dream Kitchen Remodel that it be a gas cooktop (I’m not a fan of electric…how do you make indoor s’mores then) and that it be stainless steel as I would eventually switch to all stainless steel appliances. Then I let her have at it.
While she researched stoves, I research installation of stove tops. Since almost all cooktops were self-contained units, it really was a matter of dropping it in and making the connections. I did my online research which basically said your hole for your stove must be smaller than the overall dimensions of the stove but larger than the cutout dimensions. This is where the original stove had one of its major problems. The cutout was smaller than the hinged top but way too large for the main unit and the brackets that held it in place; therefore it leaned greatly and wasn’t really resting on anything. I could see me now with a big pot of spaghetti in hot water and my stove collapsing on to my really awesome pots and pans and smashing all my glass lids. Ugh. For my part, the installation should be easy and getting the old one out was sadly as simple as unhooking the gas connection. Nothing else was really holding it in place.
So my mom, savvy shopper she is, came to me with two stoves, one by Whirlpool and one by Maytag. Believe it or not, these were the same stove, made ultimately by the same company. The only differences were a $100 difference in price and stainless steel knobs. So for a $100 less, I love my black knobs. But really that was the only difference. Both came with 5 burners, three with the same BTU burners, 1 smaller BTU burner for smaller pans, and 1 mega BTU and all with AccuSimmer (which for me was important because this is what helps you have a pot on low and not boil over which is often the case with gas). It had an impressive 5 star review and from a looks side, I think it is a beauty…a handsome masculine stove top. I loved the burner grates that were a masculine matte black finish and were hefty to the feel. They weren’t going anywhere. What can I say, I was head over heels for my new cooktop.
Remember that I said my mother was a savvy shopper? Three of our favorite stores are Lowe’s (all my DIY almost always starts there), Best Buy (so a technology junkie and they feed my habit), and Pacific Sales (mainly just to drool over the great appliances). She had found the same cooktop at all three, the best price at Best Buy, and all three price matched. BUT Lowe’s had the advantage. While Best Buy and Pacific Sales will give you anywhere from 6 to 18 months interest free same as cash financing, Lowe’s will give you 5% off, and this time 10% off, your purchases when you use your Lowe’s card. So between the price match and the 10% off, she got the stove for $250 less than retail! Sweet, right?
Stove Installation and Replacement
I confirmed with one of my regular Lowe’s guys, Mundo, (yep…I’m there a lot, a way a lot) that even though my existing cut out was bigger than the cut out dimensions that since it was a contained unit (i.e. – one piece) that the overall size was smaller than the cutout and as such, it would fit. All we needed to do was drop it in, screw it in place and make the connections. Yeah…right?
Remember the golden rule of DIY and construction, something will always go wrong. So getting the old stove out was pretty simple. FIRST AND FOREMOST, turn off the gas. My son and husband did the awkward lifting of it out since I am too short and I did the pushing and holding from underneath since I can be called the human pretzel…comes in handy often. We dropped the new stove in to do a dry run and see how it fit only to discover the counter wasn’t exactly level and the cutout was skewed thanks to something the builder had done with the cut out. So in order to make it look even, we had to slide the cooktop forward, which left a rather significant gap in the back. Something went wrong…
Thinking caps on. We will grout the back. It’s not really visible and will blend. Problem. Grout needs two walls or berms to hold it in place while it dries. So my husband took some leftover wood and nailed in a small berm slightly lower than the counter and I grouted. Okay…not the ideal but to quote a line from Argo, “This is the best bad idea we have got.”
While the grout dried, I connected the new gas line to the stove by following the instructions. Read my post on DIY Lighting and Electrical and you will see how much of a stickler I am for reading and following the instructions. Before starting your gas connections, make sure you have all the tools you are going to need including the gas tape. This is similar to Teflon tape used in plumbing but specific to working with gas. All the needed tools will be listed in your instructions for replacing a stove. Make sure the connections are tight but not so tight you crack the valve.
So next we dropped in the stove. Pretzel yourself into the cabinet underneath, and yes pretzel is the right word since the shelf does not come out, and screw the stove in place. While down there I connected the wall gas line to the stove line. When replacing a stove or reconnecting gas lines, there are two important things two remember: Turn on the main gas line slowly so that gas does not rush in and Check for leaks.
Checking for leaks is actually pretty simple. You need a sponge, dish soap and a cup of water. Add the dish soap to the water and stir so it makes suds. Dip you sponge into the water and then lightly apply water to the gas connections. If bubbles form, you have a leak. Turn off the gas, tighten the connections and repeat the process. Once there are no bubbles forming, you know your connections are good and tight. Wait for about 10 minutes for the gas to dissipate. Then test your burners. If all works well to your satisfaction, you can put you burner plates on, burner grills and step back and admire your work.
We did and we love our new stove. (Again many thanks to my mom.) So much so my husband got a little sad the first time I cooked on it. The major plus with this stove was, as advertised, it was designed to keep looking like new even with everyday use. Cleanup was and is a snap. Love my upgraded stove and feel confident I could take on another gas project in the future! What do you think of my Stove Replacement and Upgrade?