The Fresh Loaf

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Warning: Don't buy a Jenn-Air range

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Eidetix's picture
Eidetix

Warning: Don't buy a Jenn-Air range

I've been baking bread for about six weeks and loving every minute of it. However, I am now on forced hiatus since the shutdown of my Jenn-Air range.


It is a four-burner gas on gas unit, model number JGS8750ADW. I bought it 8 or 9 years ago for $1,600, then by far the lowest price available for this unit on the local market.


This week it quit on me for the third and final time. Its electronics are prone to failure; I have replaced two membrane switches at a cost of $250 per repair. The bad part does not affect the stove, but it renders the oven inoperable. I will not be putting another $250 into my Jenn-Air. I look forward to dragging this piece of garbage to the curb.


Jenn-Air is manufactured by Maytag. I don't know the history of the brand, but I am guessing that it was once an independent operation that built a reputation for quality before acquisition by an appliance giant. That giant presumably profits from a worthy reputation while compromising quality to cut costs, a sad but common tale in the story of modern manufacturing.


So please, save yourself money and aggravation by steering clear of Jenn-Air.


I ask for Floyd's indulgence in allowing me to bump this thread periodically so my warning gets in front of as many TFL readers as possible. In a related thread, I will ask for your suggestions regarding a range I should look to buy to replace this one.


Bob Ottaviano

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Bob, sorry to hear about your unhappy experience.  We have a Jenn-Air with dual electric ovens and a gas cook-top which has served us very well.  Only maintenance so far has been to replace a burned out heating element in the lower oven.  The membrane switches (so far) are behaving as intended.  Given my experience, I'd highly recommend Jenn-Air to friends.


Paul

TNBentRyder's picture
TNBentRyder

Sounds like the same range I have; the dual fuel with dual ovens. Had mine for more than 7 years now and love it. I too cook frequently at 550. Love the ability to dry herbs and make yogurt with the drying settings. The two timers come in  very handy. Very versatile appliance. Have a full sized FibraMent stone that stays on the bottom rack in the bottom oven that I use for breads, pizza, crackers, etc.

foodslut's picture
foodslut

I've been using a Jenn-Air ever since I started baking bread, and the only problem I've had in 3 years was needing to replace the heating element in the oven.  Considering I crank it up to 500+ more than once a week, I'm OK with a little more-than-usual wear on that part.


Also, we paid about $5K Canadian about 4 years ago, so I'm impressed with the price you got your oven for.


Sorry it sucked for you.

hanseata's picture
hanseata

but, like Foodslut, I subject my (electric, with fan-assisted convection) JennAir range to heaviest duty workouts, using it for my home based bakery.


It is 4 years old, and regularly heated up to 550 F. The only thing that sometimes happens is an auto switch off with error message that can be easily fixed by switching the circuit breaker to reset it.


Karin


 

Eidetix's picture
Eidetix

Thanks for the comments. Please keep them coming.


I also ran my Jenn-Air oven at high temps. When it worked, it worked well -- but isn't that what they're supposed to do? That's what I paid a bit extra for. At a premium price, I thought I was buying performance and reliability.


The joke's on me. I wish I was laughing.

Chuck's picture
Chuck

Quote:
Its electronics are prone to failure ...

The very first thing I'd ask, without even knowing the brand of oven or its history, is if you create steam in your oven, and if so how?


If you have any oven with electronic controls, it's much safer to use the cover ("magic bowl") method of steaming. Any method that generates steam throughout your oven (not just under the cover) is likely to make any electronic control go kaput. If your procedure includes anything like open fry pans, open cast iron pans, ice cubes, lava rocks, towels, or a mister, and you have any oven with electronic controls, beware.


Electronic controls are ubiquitous on new electric ovens these days;I don't have a sense of how common they are on gas ovens, but I'm quite suspicious.


Might this explain your experience?

DerekL's picture
DerekL

Three failures in nine years - and you're damming the whole brand?  Methinks your expectations are a wee bit unrealistic.

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

Not to damn the whole brand, but certainly not "unrealistic expectations" for a major appliance, especially for the price paid, along with the expensive repairs. But I guess it depends on one's perspective.


No experience with these electronically controlled ovens/ranges, but over the last 45 years, this household has only had 2 ovens: both relatively simple GE electric ovens with no electronic controls(microprocessors,etc). Just an occasional(evry 5 years) replacement of the bottom element(which is exposed). Very simple and cheap self repair.


There does seem to be some history of jennaire having problems with the contols being damaged by steam. Even stove top controls sustaining damage from steaming pots on the stovetop. Can't say if this happens any more than other brands of similar type though.


I know I would never look forward to having a home oven that breaks down with the freqency and expense of the op.


Even Rolls Royce probably makes a "lemon" every now and then. The key is the frequency and the support(and cost) going forward.

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

I have to say I'd be P.O.'d too if an inexpensive part repeatedly failed. Cutting corners on already cheap parts is a false economy, and is reason enough to be down on the brand. Any decent switch's mean time between failures should be in the tens of thousands of operations; certainly longer than than the average three year's time the OP experienced.


Were it the thermostat probe, or the light socket that failed, I might think moisture (though that would argue poor design, as ovens are intended for roasting which is a wet cooking), except the switches are not in the oven, and are not subjected to intense heat or moisture.


Rather than toss the appliance, consider a well thought out plan of complaint. There is ample evidence that if you climb the levels one by one, there will finally be that guy who tells his people to fix the problem and don't let him have to  deal with it again.


In my own case, GTE (now Verizon) had my new phone number as unlisted. After nearly six months of trying to get it right,  I phoned the president's office in San Angelo. After telling my sad story to his secretary (they're called personal assistants nowadays), I  got a full refund of my phone bill, though I had only asked for 50%, and directory assistance immediately dropped the unlisted bit. In another example, I ordered some computers from Dell, about $2100 worth. They misapplied my payment and wouldn't fulfill the order. My cleared check didn't seem to matter. I finally realized we were at an impasse. I emailed Michael Dell with all previous correspondence attached, asking him whether he had enough pull to fix things. About 10AM the next morning, the customer service manager, who had been very pleasant but not helpful, phoned to  say the order was shipping that day, that the monitors were complementary, the shipping would be on them, and a discount would be applied on the computers. The order came the next day via UPS, and a check for a little over $600 was received a few days later.


The point is that if you have a legitimate beef, it can be worthwhile to complain in an orderly and rational manner. Escalate the complaint until reaching the brick wall, then pull out the big guns. Mail the boss.  There are websites that even give the top dogs' phone numbers; others that neatly discuss effective tactics to make your gripe heard where it matters.


An oven is not a toaster or a Mr Coffee to be trash canned when it gives up the go. If all you get from JennAir is one more repair, that's another three or four years for budgeting a new oven. If you get zip, you're no worse off than before.


cheers,


gary

Eidetix's picture
Eidetix

Once more, contributors' two cents worth is much appreciated.


I learned about the hazards of steam to electronics after my oven crapped out. When baking bread, my steam pan was always on the top shelf just inside the door (and directly under the "brains" of the slide-in unit). It had to be, for safe and easy access. Would it be unreasonable to expect a prominently featured warning on the oven about this not uncommon practice? I guess you'd have to ask the folks who make Jenn-Air ranges.


Just the same, no one was steaming the oven when the same switch failed twice previously in the last 8 years. I'd like to ask the manufacturer about that history as well.


I am grateful for Mr. Frost's good advice about ovens without electronics. I am technologically backward, but I am pretty sure that stove and oven design is relatively simple. I would be willing to sacrifice some efficiency or precision in exchange for design that is basic enough to limit the number and types of parts that are more likely to go bad.


And I thank Gary for his suggestions about pursuing customer satisfaction. It's always a good idea to weigh options and their costs and benefits before reaching for the sledgehammer or the hand truck when trouble comes and anger boils.


That said, I am unfortunately old enough to remember the days when a decent dollar bought an appliance that performed as advertised for a lifetime. That kind of quality seems to have gone the way of the rotary telephone. (I sound like the universal grandfather now, don't I?)


And maybe I'm irrational, but I would hesitate to take another Jenn-Air range if you gave it to me.


Please keep the comments coming. Has anybody had comparable experiences with their Jenn-Air equipment?


Thanks again.


Bob

bnom's picture
bnom

Bob, as you say, in the old days they built for quality to last a lifetime.  You're right. Maybe you should think about getting an old range. I have a double oven GE hotpoint range that is from the late 50s.  Sometimes a burner goes out and it's a simple enough procedure for someone like me to fix myself.  I've cranked up this range to 525 for bread baking for 17 years and only once had to call in someone to repair it...cost $75.  Another big benefit is that one of my ovens is wide enough to make long baguettes.


 

Mary Clare's picture
Mary Clare

I have a 13 year old Jenn-Air oven, so I can't speak about their new products.  But we have spent more on repairs in this oven than on the oven itself, and it would be even more if I didn't have a handy husband.  I used to have a GE Profile oven that was great.  I loved the snap-out element that made replacement easy.  The Jenn-Air (and maybe all others now) makes replacing an element in a wall oven a big project.  Most of the other money went to fix the computer stuff, located right over the vents.


Another thing.... I will never get another white oven, even though all my other appliances are white.  It has a window (I LIKE a window, I know not all want one...) but the white speckles on the window reflect light and make it impossible to make any useful observation  on the state of the food inside.  


Happy Thanksgiving!

Liam's picture
Liam

Hi


Be careful with Maytag products in general.  I have a glass top Maytag range, with a "3rd shelf rack"  which is a useless  piece of rack about 12" x10"  which clips to the oven's back wall.  I have never used it.


While the stove works fine and I have used it quite a lot since I bought it five years ago, Maytag's quality and thoughtfullness of design is not what it used to be.  I don't think the insulation in my self cleaning oven is very good.  I was looking forward to the self clean aspect when I bought.  I understood that it meant better insulation.  My kitchen is small and poorly ventilated - so hot in the summer.


It's just plain hot when I run the oven.


You should see the production you have to go through to change a bulb (both range and fridge).  I was just plain disgusted with the technique and the instructions.


Five years ago when I bought the oven I went straight to Maytag and didn't look at any others.


Now I would check out the competition.  There's just something missing from the new Maytag products.  They're good I guess, but with Maytag you used to be able to achieve an excellent well designed well thought out quality product at your price point.  KitchenAid is also made by Maytag, but their line seems to be better over all, price is higher though.


 


Maytag if you are listening, you just lost a lifetime client.


Regards


L

ablpete's picture
ablpete

Jenn Air used to be an excellent brand, in the pre-Maytag days.  Unfortunately we bought a dual-fuel (gas cooktop, dual electric range) model during the Maytag years.  The ignitors for the cooktop burners have gone out twice (already) in six years, and they're beginning to be a little flaky again.  If it hadn't been for the extended warranty, we certainly would have been screwed.  Then, on Easter morning, in the middle of baking a cake (before baking the ham), the lower oven element went out - burned clean in two!  We had an older Maytag oven in the garage.  Went on line and verified that the heating elements were interchangeable, and swapped them out.  Easter was saved, but it was about the last straw with this thing.  For those who say controls are shorted out by steam from the oven, I must say "Duh!"  After all, since the oven will always produce some level of steam, the controls should have been sealed to keep steam/condensation out of them.  Like another comment said, they made many components as cheap as possible to save a nickel here and there, at OUR expense.  No, we will never, ever buy Jenn Air again!

mrmac1903's picture
mrmac1903

A six year old 30 inch double wall oven by Jenn-Air no longer stays within a reasonable temperature range and they call it normal. Set the oven to 400 degrees and watch it go to 480 and all of a sudden drop to 350 then zoom up to 450 then drop to 325 and Jenn-Air says a 20% plus or minus is within spec's. We have replaced the control panel, no change.

As an aerospace engineer I find that totally unreasonable that an oven can’t be controlled any better than that.  If I designed anything for an aircraft or spacecraft to be 20% plus or minus we would have aircraft falling out of the sky all the time.

I would strongly suggest you think twice about buying any Jenn-Air product if that is the way they design their products. To add ot this we purchased all Jenn-Air when we build our home and so far everyone of these items have failed. We have extended warranties because of the Jenn-Air junk. But they won't repair an oven that is 20% plus or minus in heating and we should live with the average. Then the tech tell me to buy a unit to measure the heat and record it. So I should spend a couple of hundred dollars to record what the Temp is. This is insane.  Don't buy anything Jenn-Air until changes it entire design process. But being part of Whilypool I doubt they ever will.

cuisiniere63's picture
cuisiniere63

Exactly 6 years ago our Jenn-Air, dual fuel, slide-in with down draft was put in place in our new home. We have not had any problems with it until about 6 months ago. The oven is not maintaining baking temperatures. I will put an item in to bake & when I cancel out the temp. 5 min. later, the temperature has dropped 40 to 50 degrees which wrecks havoc on delicate baked goods. I must recheck every 5 min., cancel out, reselect the bake temp. & then hit 'rapid reheat' to bring it back up to proper cooking temp. This goes out through the entire bake time. If I don't watch it constantly, the results are very disappointing. I never had this problem with my last ranges that I had for 18 years!! [ not a Jenn-Air.] We thought we were purchasing one of the more reliable brands. One can only think Jenn-Air builds for obsolescence & early replacement.................. 

pepperhead212's picture
pepperhead212

That through the years, when checking Consumer Reports range ratings, I've noticed that Jenn-Air rated notoriously low in dependability - that bar graph they have in the articles showing the % of the items of a given brand that needed repair. Even 30 years ago, when designing my kitchen, they were way down in dependability, even though the actual ratings of some of the models were high.

I guess I'm lucky I didn't get one...how many replacements would I have had in 30 years? Amazing how commercial ranges stand up to abuse! And all that electronic stuff in todays ranges just provides more possibilities for problems.

I would suggest posting your experience on facebook and twitter - not in an antagonistic way, but sort of asking if others out there have experienced this, and if they figured out how to fix it in a "frugal" way, STS. You will get a lot of responses, I'm sure, and probably from a JA representative, as they do NOT want discusions like that to snowball these days. I got something well past the guarantee date replaced free of charge, after posting a letter about the fact that it had only been used a half dozen times before breaking, and got several immediate responses with similar experiences, and a company response came in less than 15 min! Of course, you won't get an offer of a replacement, but they may offer to send a repairman out, just to quiet you.

Dave

Dave