GE JEM31 Microwave replacment/repair??

dfw17January 13, 2014

I remodeled my kitchen in 2005 (with much input from GardenWeb forums) and installed a GE JEM31 microwave snugly in upper (custom) cabinetry. I thought it was a great choice because it was less than 13" deep so it didn't stick out. I knew I would probably be stuck with the GE brand if I ever needed to replace it, but since we use the MW mainly for just reheating, I was okay with that.

Fast forward to 2014.....a fair amount of interior paint on the MW has flaked off (i.e., 3x4 inches). So, I decided to go ahead and replace the MW....BUT the replacement GE model called the PEM31 (they don't make the JEM31 anymore) is now 1" taller and won't fit into my cabinetry!! Agh.

A few questions for anyone who might know: (1) Is there any other less-than-13" deep MW on the market? (2) Does flaking paint cause a health problem? (3) Would painting the interior cavity be a safe option? (I found a MICROWAVE CAVITY PAINT by QB on and other sites.)

Thanks for any help!

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I did you one better - I have that model built-in to an upper cabinet with a trim kit. I've had mine since 2002. I always figured I'd replace it with the PEM31 if it came to that - didn't realize the size changed. Fortunately, I haven't had any paint peeling. I occasionally have an electrical issue - MW won't shut off or shuts off completely - throwing the breaker has always fixed the problem so far. They do still sell parts for this model including the control board so I've figured I'd just pay to get it repaired if it came to that. I don't know if you can buy a replacement for the cavity - I never looked into that. I have no idea if it's safe to paint the cavity. Keep us posted.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 2:53PM
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Arghhhhh! We have same custom trim with space constraints on height/depth. We're good on width. Our JEM31 just went after several years of 'acting out' (would run continuously with door open, no heat; wouldn't run at all) - usually fixed by a trip down to the basement to trip the breaker. And all probably a result that 'snug' design made built-in too hot ... at least the interior paint never peeled, however a few days ago during an 'acting out' we had smell of electrical fire and pulled it out, recycled it - figuring we would buy same size GE replacement ... WRONG. Newer model is bigger, just enough that the model we purchased as a replacement wouldn't fit (by ever so small an amount) and had to be returned. We just now bought the ONLY GE model that would fit - JES0736 - $70 at Best Buy, and it's a nightmare! 'Cheap' as the day is long. It is barely adequate (it works thus far, and it kind of fits into the space), but we will remain on lookout for a) same model that surfaces for resale b) a decent, quality compact microwave. Had we known, we would have paid to have the old model repaired.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 6:40PM
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Have you tried searching for your model on ebay or craigslist? Someone may have one in good shape and sell it there. Even if you need to pay a lot of shipping it would be your best option if the seller is honest about its condition.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 7:56PM
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Yes! And you are completely right about resale condition... the other issue is we already know that the old model is far from perfect... so don;t necessarily want to 'purchase' someone else's GE lemon. Hoping for some sleeker designs in future model years? You'd think given crazy space limitations in European kitchens, plus NYC galley kitchens, there would be sleeker options available here, currently!

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 7:55AM
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Here is a link to the GE parts store. Search for JEM31 and then select your particular model. The do stock the interior cavity at least for the model I checked - it runs about $150.

Here is a link that might be useful: GE parts for the JEM31

This post was edited by weissman on Thu, Jan 16, 14 at 17:06

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 5:02PM
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One more thing - according to one website on which GE customer service people responded, if you have a JEM31 installed in a trim kit, the PEM31 will fit in the same cutout but you have to buy a new trim kit - the PEM31 won't fit in the old trim kit. Sounds like that might work for me someday, although my first choice would be to get my JEM31 repaired.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 5:27PM
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Wow, Weissman, great info on the replacement cavity....I didn't think to ask about that. My exact model is JEM31SF001. When I look at the diagram (on your link), it's not clear to me whether "Case Outer (#18)" includes the back of the interior cavity, as well as the top and sides. I guess I'll need to call GE to double check. (Most of my peeling paint is in the back with a little on top.)

Another tidbit I'm pursuing, too, in case anyone else is interested -- my local appliance store has a Mongram ZEM (200, I think) model in a floor display. (It is mounted with the vent kit in an oven stack.) It is apparently the exact same as my original JEM31 model, but with the "Monogram" brand on the front. They are holding it for me to come look at this weekend. They've given me a price of $380.

Given all this "work", I think I'm going to try to make both options work. I'll keep an extra in the basement for 5 years down the road :)

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 8:58PM
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