Miele oven fireworks

cloud_swiftAugust 11, 2014

I'm not sure what happened, but our 7-year-old Miele oven was running with a bread stone on one shelf and a dutch oven on the other shelf when it suddenly started making a loud noise. When I turned around I saw fireworks behind the window. Lots of sparking and smoke.

It's power went out (I assume the breaker tripped - we haven't gone out to check because we aren't going to do anything with it until an appliance tech gets out here and it seems safer to leave it off).

Everything inside was covered with a fine dark grey powder and there was lots of smoke. It wiped off the dutch oven except for one spot at the back so I think the problem was in the convection fan heating element area. I think we are going to have to discard the pizza stone as who knows what was in that dust and I don't think we can be assured of cleaning it well enough.

The baguette on the pizza stone was discarded of course.

Has anyone else heard of this sort of thing happening?

Do you think it can be fixed or should we start shopping for something to replace it?

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Juno_barks

My old GE oven had flames inside twice - each time when the heating element self destructed. I simply turned off the breaker myself (before lots of fireworks), and allowed it to cool down. Because the elements were exposed, it was an easy home fix, with the part findable on the internet.

I'm happy for you (and me) that it didn't lead to a house fire. Because yours is a fairly new oven, and your description sounds more spectacular, I'd be tempted to get a professional in to to assess options.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 4:11PM
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cloud_swift

My best guess at what happened is that the convection fan may have gone out of balance and then something (part of fhe fan or something it broke off) hit the convection heating element causing a short.

To me the first sound sounded like a fan out of balance hitting something - a grating grinding metallic noise. And my husband who was facing more towards the oven thinks the noise came first and the sparks came after.

Only the broil element is exposed - bottom heating element is under the oven floor and the convection element is behind the oven cavity back. So no easy fix. The oven will have to be opened up to get to the parts, it may have to be taken out of the cabinet to get to what they need to get to. We will get the diagnosis tomorrow morning when the tech comes.

I'm kind of worried about what is in that black powder that is coating the inside of the oven and whether it will be able to be cleaned out of the passages. I don't want that stuff getting on my food.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 5:16PM
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hvtech42

It is not unusual for electric heating elements to give "fireworks" when failing but a grinding noise certainly isn't. Your hypothesis about the convection fan breaking it makes sense, as that would lead to the element being grounded to the oven casing and tripping the breaker as it did. Since it's Miele expect the repair to be expensive, but it's probably worth doing instead of replacing.

This post was edited by hvtech42 on Mon, Aug 11, 14 at 20:34

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 7:10PM
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rococogurl

My oven was just repaired after a power outage blew out one of the boards. The Miele tech really knew his stuff and the repair took about 30 minutes. They have a cart they use to brace the oven when they slide it out. It's no big deal.

Also, since the catalytic converter piece can be removed (or even replaced) and the fan is just behind there.

Our fix wasn't cheap (also not the fault of the oven) but it was way better than any replacement cost.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 7:33PM
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cloud_swift

The Miele repair tech isn't able to come out until Thursday so we won't know until then.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 8:44PM
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cloud_swift

The repairman has come and gone. He didn't have the parts to fix it today, but with the bad element removed, the bottom oven works fine so we will be able to bake in that.

The convection heating element went bad - elements usually fail open but, lucky us, ours failed shorted, vaporized a big section of it almost totally, providing spectacular heat and light for a few seconds. It actually melted a hole in the convection fan cover.

Verdict is still out on what the fix will cost. The heat from the short appears to have damaged a board that is behind the oven cavity (not the very expensive main control board which lives on top of the oven, but something still pretty expensive). When he comes back, he will pull the oven to confirm but he is pretty sure what got toasted.

It looks like it will be a much more expensive repair than if the convection element had shorted open because of the damage the heat did but probably will be in the range where repair makes sense. If so, we will repair.

Then if the Viking Fench door or Bosch side door double ovens still look good after a year or two, we might replace it with them since they would be easier for me (vertically challenged) to use. I wish I could consider the Gaggenau, double but it is a few inches too tall for the opening.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 4:34PM
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rococogurl

My oven is slightly older than yours. That power/control board in back got fried by a freak power outage despite all precautions. I was charged $505.61 for the part. The trip charge was $125 and the labor was $80. The tech was outstanding and the service could not have been better. I could not have replaced the oven for $800 and wouldn't want to.

Everyone has different ideas about things but being stuck with a mostly Viking kitchen that's been a fix fest for 10 years, I would never go there. I can't get rid of it all fast enough to be honest.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 6:59AM
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cloud_swift

I can understand that point of view. I feel that way about Thermador based on the ovens the house had when we moved in. I've heard Viking has gotten better, but I don't know.

The tech mumbled something about the back board being around $600 - he hadn't checked the price at that point but it sounds like his recollection was in the ball park. I think with the convection coil we will be getting around $1,000 which still makes sense compared to the cost of new ovens.

He was going to look up the cost of a new convection fan cover but he doesn't think we need to replace it. It just has one additional hole about the size of the holes for the fan above and to the right of the fan area.

I'm still thinking of replacing the ovens in the long run for something with a door that is less in my way since I'm short. But we can take our time about it.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 1:00PM
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dadoes

$1,000 damage from a shorted heating element. That's outrageous, really.

I recall when the bake (lower) element of the el cheapo Frigidaire drop-in (coil top, no self-clean) at my first house fried in a similar manner. I found a generic replacement hanging on a rack at Lowe's for probably $35.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 1:34PM
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barryv_gw

I agree withdadoes, the price on the convection element doesn't sound right. I have priced tons of elements, and it is easy to find them for $50 to $200, I have never seen any near $1,000. Could it be that he has to replace more than the element? By the way, failure of an element is pretty common, and I suspect it has nothing to do with quality control, just bad luck. Mine shorted as well shortly after we bought the oven, but it was an exposed element, so it was easy to replace, with no other damage.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 2:52PM
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hvtech42

"I agree withdadoes, the price on the convection element doesn't sound right"

Don't forget we're talking about Miele here.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 3:57PM
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dadoes

I don't think cloud_swift is saying the convection element is $1,000 but that all the parts (element, board, and whatever else may be involved) plus trip & labor is totaling ~$1,000.

Which my point is are these upscale Euro-brands really worth what they cost both in purchase and repairs?

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 4:07PM
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dodge59

I agree!

Yep it should have been fused or a least a circuit breaker on it , so the only thing that fries is the element and not enough before a fuse blows/circuit breaker trips to cause a fire or other damage to oven or it's components.

Unfortunately, the Mieles are like the two Mercedes I had.
If they break, and they did , (A Lot), then you get the "BENZES"!!!! (Sorry about that)!!!!

Gary

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 4:24PM
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kalapointer

I had the same thing happen with a convection coil in a KA wall oven. I had baked a pizza(without a stone), turned the oven off, ate dinner and notice the sparks inside the oven after dinner. The oven was turned off. We turned off the breaker to the oven and that stopped the sparking. The next morning I call KA (Whirlpool) and they wanted me to pay for part of the replacement since I was just out of the warranty by a few months. When I said that their oven could of burned down my home they said they would replace it at no cost to me.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 5:30PM
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cloud_swift

As I mentioned above, the convection element failed to a shorted condition (that is an unusual failure mode - heating elements more commonly fail to a short). It got very hot very quickly.

We were there in the kitchen, heard the load noise, saw sparks and the circuit breaker turned it off before I could react and move the few steps to the oven so it was seconds, not minutes.

In that short time, it got so hot that it melted a hole in the metal cover over the convection element and fan and fused a deposition of something on to the part of the dutch oven that was facing that spot.

Apparently, in dying, the bad element wiped out the power control board that is behind the oven cavity - either due to the heat or perhaps an electrical spike such as an inductive kick when current to the shorted element was turned off. That won't be confirmed until the tech comes back with parts and pulls the oven but it is based on the current symptoms - the remaining upper elements and the convection fan won't turn solidly on in test mode - they cycle on and off and that component is the likely culprit.

The $1000 my guess based on the parts cost of the power board (rococogurl said that cost her $506 and the tech said it is around $600), the heating element (which I don't expect to cost much), tech labor (which will be upped considerably by the control board having gone as the oven needs to be pulled to replace it).

I expect that the bill will at least total $800 (rococogurl listed charges that totaled over $700 for replacing just the power board).

I don't know that a fuse or circuit breaker in the oven would have stopped it quickly enough to avoid the damage. The house oven breaker tripped pretty quickly and it didn't.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 5:42PM
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cloud_swift

When the tech returned with the replacement convection element, he tested the upper convection fan and remaining two elements again. He couldn't get the behavior of them switching on and off to repeat.

He still took the oven out and the cover off so he could see if there were any signs of damage and didn't see any. So, the oven was put back in place and the new convection element installed.

The upper oven seems to be operating fine. We have no idea why it wasn't acting properly a few days after the initial failure but is fine now. That bothers me.

The bill came to a bit under $500 - not as bad as I expected since the power control board didn't need to be replaced.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2014 at 4:28PM
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