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Thermador hood ... really?

Posted by EstimatedEyes (My Page) on
Thu, Nov 7, 13 at 12:52

So our remodel was finished this summer and we love it, especially the open kitchen with custom cabinets, superwhite counters, and all Thermador appliances - induction, double oven, dishwasher fridge and .... hood.

Err not quite. We have been waiting .... and waiting .... and waiting for Thermador to get their act together on the hood.

We went with the package deal to get a free hood and discounted dishwasher ... saving (we thought) thousands of $$$$s. In hindsight maybe we should have gone with the SubZero fridge we wanted and said no thanks to the "free" hood that came with the Thermador fridge we got instead. Here's why:

Ordered the Thermador package and selected a hood insert with remote blower etc. to fit into a custom wood cover to be built over the island induction cooktop. Contractor triple checked the specs, confirmed with the distributor, ordered the equipment and built the box. Due to the location,we needed a long run (approx. 30') for the remote switch, so ordered and installed that too. The remote switch has a lot of functions built into it, and so requires a proprietary wire to connect it to the hood, a wire that only Thermador sells.

The insert arrives. In it goes. Only guess what? The plug on the remote doesn't match the plug on the insert. Really? All the specs say they do. Call Thermador. Strange, they should match. Let us look into. Aha, we've updated the insert, we'll send a new one out that should match the wire you installed. OK, fine.

Weeks go by. New insert arrives. Uses the same plug as the last one. Whoops, let us look into. Not sure what's going on.

Weeks later: Turns out the hood is built in Germany and the remote in the U.S., so they use different wires. But we have a new wire we can ship you, but it will come from overseas and you'll have to repull the wire. OK, fine. Not happy, but we will wait.

Weeks later. New cord arrives. Yay! Wait a minute ... uh oh ... its only 13" long. What? They sent the wrong one. Starting to really get annoyed now. Call Thermador. What's up?

Days later, oops, sorry, we don't make a 30' long one like the original one we sold you with this connector on it. Well why did you tell us you did - especially after we told you we had a 30' run to cover? IDK, maybe we ca build you a custom one. OK, fine, please do that.

Weeks go by. Uh ... Mr. Thermador? We gonna get a new wire or what? Oh, sorry, can't do that. Would need to get it UL listed and we're not gonna do that for a one off. Sorry. Maybe you should redesign your kitchen to use a different hood?

Uhhhh, no thanks. We've been living with a hole in the roof and a half installed hood and no venting for months now, and, pardon us, but we really don't want to rip everything out and start all over again. We are now going with a unit from another manufacturer.

We've asked Thermador to take the old hood back and compensate us for the extra work we have to do to make up for their screw up. The thousands we saved by going with the package deal are long gone. We are still waiting to see if they respond to our request for reimbursement.

Stay tuned.

This post was edited by EstimatedEyes on Thu, Nov 7, 13 at 12:56


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Thermador hood ... really?

this is EXACTLY why people should buy appliances based on their own merits and how they fill a need. Not because of some Monty Hall promise of a box full of cash.


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RE: Thermador hood ... really?

That is sorta true. You should buy appliances based on their merits, so you don't have to live with a product you don't want or that doesn't perform as you expect. Our circumstance is slightly different, in that it arises from a failure of customer service, rather than a failure of the underlying product.

We are very happy with the Thermador oven and induction cooktop, and were going to order them with or without the box Carol Maryl was offering. Dishwashers, to us, were fungible, so we were happy to take Thermador's offering at a discount, and are happy with its performance. Our analysis on the hoods was the same - we did not feel we were sacrificing quality to get Thermador's discount. The only decision that changed due to the Monty Hall offer was the refrigerator -- and while we still would have preferred the SubZero, the preference is only slight, as we are happy with the Thermador built-in we bought. Which is just to say that we went into this with eyes wide open, and made a rational calculation that the savings under the package were worth (to us) the trade-off on the fridge. Others could reasonably have reached a different conclusion.

Our regret with the decision is with the customer service we've received after we bought the package. There is no question that Thermador provided our contractor with incorrect information about the compatability of the remote and the hood they were selling, and (later) the availability of a replacement part. The resulting delays in our project have cost us both time and money that (thus far) Thermador has not done anything about. So my beef is not with an inferior product, but with inferior service. That is just not something you can predict going in (and its not like we were buying from Shady Pete's Appliance Emporium).


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RE: Thermador hood ... really?

Despite what xedos says, you did your research - it was definitely Thermador that screwed up. They should certainly give you a full refund for the hood - whether or not they reimburse you for anything else remains to be seen.


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RE: Thermador hood ... really?

Only problem with that is the hood was free.

"We went with the package deal to get a free hood and discounted dishwasher."

Makes it kind of hard to argue the value of the hood.


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RE: Thermador hood ... really?

oops!


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RE: Thermador hood ... really?

Well there is "free" and then there's "free." We paid Thermador close to $20k for the appliances (induction hob, fridge, double oven, hood and dishwasher). It's not like they just gave us the hood for nothing, or would have done so if we hadn't bought the other 4 pieces.

More to the point, we are not really looking for my money back. We just want what they agreed to give us -- a hood and remote that fits into the cabinet we designed based on the info they gave us, or the $$ we need to go get that from someone else and retrofit the cabinet to accommodate it. Since they can't deliver the first, we have asked for the second. At a minimum they should take the old equipment back, reimburse us for the cost of the one we had to go buy to replace it, and pay some of the extra costs we are incurring to make that work.


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RE: Thermador hood ... really?

Do they have a hood without a remote blower that would fit into your space? That might be the best compromise.


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RE: Thermador hood ... really?

Unfortunately no, or at least not one that we could install without a significant redesign of the space. Their rep and my contractor went down that road as far as it would take them, and I think they both concluded that there is no other product they have that will work in the space as it is presently set up, which requires that long run to get from the switch (remote) on the island to the hood in the ceiling.


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RE: Thermador hood ... really?

Has any attempt been made to revise the plug at one end or the other, or hardwire into one unit or the other, or use the short cable to splice (inside a box) the long cable to the short cable to get the correct wire to plug circuit at each end?

If necessary, have Thermador send you schematics of both devices so modification can be done efficiently. Is their goal endless negative publicity?

Thermador equipment may have to be UL approved to sell it into the US, but the equipment owner's requirement is to comply with the National Electrical Code, NFPA 70, as adopted and interpreted by his local Authority Having Jurisdiction. I don't see adoption of connectors or cables to be violations of the NEC, so long as they are suitable for the purpose as defined in the code.

kas


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RE: Thermador hood ... really?

My point is really: what or how much do you really expect for free ?

So you spent $20,000, so what ?

You spent $ XXX, XXX or more on your house - did the seller pay your property taxes or give you a free car or vacation? Why not? Didn't you expect that, after all six + figures is A LOT of money, not just chump change appliance money.

I'm not excusing T'dor here. They made the deal and they need to make good, I'm just pointing out there is NO FREE ANYTHING despite what the brochure say. You EARN everything, (discounts, free spiff, ect.) and you pay for it with with either $$$, time, or (lack of) quality/ longevity. No way around it I'm afraid.


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RE: Thermador hood ... really?

I'm a little confused - I thought you were talking about a remote blower but now it seems that you're talking about a remote switch as well. My original comment still stands - can you get a hood with a built-in blower without a remote switch and just turn the hood on and off using a switch on the hood like many of us do. It sounds like the remote switch, while nice, is complicating the whole thing.

xedos - I'm sorry but you're off-base - Thermador offered a total PACKAGE that included the hood - they have an obligation here. The fridge could have been offered free if you buy a hood - would that change the situation for you?!?


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RE: Thermador hood ... really?

The remote switch is because he doesn't want to climb in the attic to turn it on. (Sorry Weissman, you're usually on top of your game so I hope I'm laughing with you, not at you!) But otherwise I agree with you.

Xedos, like Weissman said the contracor seemed to do everything right in my eyes. Thermador is not a low end brand, it's not like he bought some no-name Chinese hood off of eBay and crossed his fingers. If you go to buy a Lexus and the dealer throws in a "free" NAV package as an incentive, would it not be reasonable to expect the system fits in the dashboard and integrates with the external mic?


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RE: Thermador hood ... really?

foodonastump - no problem - I understand what you're saying which is why I suggested an internal blower which would not require a remote switch - confused by the fact that the OP talked about the switch being on the island which sounded like it was separate from the hood insert. I don't have a remote blower but I assumed that normally a remote blower gets wired into the switch on the hood insert. In any case, I would think an internal blower would meet the OPs needs although it might be a bit noisier.


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RE: Thermador hood ... really?

At 30 feet, you should probably consider fans at either end, one pulling, one pushing. Because, 30 feet!
Casey


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RE: Thermador hood ... really?

I wouldn't want to try dual fans separated by 30-feet of duct without testing them experimentally. Air flow lag down that long of a path might make the entire system unstable (fans would hunt and not maintain a constant speed). This could be evaluated by analysis if the fan curves were extended into the second and fourth quadrants, but that is not something manufacturers would have much cause to do.

Usually, high pressure loss (several inches, w.c., and I don't think 30 feet gets us into that region) with a diameter limit is addressed by longer fans having more blades or longer blades, i.e., longer axial fans. Ametek/Rotron have some that illustrate this path for aerospace equipment that is typically dense in cooling fins that the air has to blow through.

kas


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RE: Thermador hood ... really?

Sounds like a little clarification is in order. The issue is with the switch, not the remote blower (Thermador calls their switch a remote, even though it is hard wired in). We can't just operate the blower from a switch on the hood insert, because it is too high above the floor (I am 6' 2" and could just barely reach it). We looked at a larger box that would come down closer to the cooktop, but it ended up looking like a coffin on the ceiling. (Because we are induction, not gas, we don't feel we need the hood to be that close to the cooktop). We looked at kaseki's idea re magyvering a cord, but concluded that Thermador's proprietary cord was pretty sophisticated and would be too difficult to replicate and the contractor didn't want to risk creating it only to have it fail 2 or 3 years down the line. (He, too, was puzzled by the UL requirement, since it appears to only be LV controls for the hood.)

So in the end it boils down to a design choice we made at the outset of the project, based on the specs that Thermador provided, which proved to be incorrect, so now we either have to redesign the space or find a hood from another manufacturer (we have opted for the latter).

The picture below may help clairfy the issue. Because it is an island, the wire for the switch (which is placed on the far side of the island in this pic) needs to travel down to the floor, run along the joists under the floor, then back up the far wall by the ovens then back over the ceiling to the hood. That's the 30' run I was talking about -- and the (mismatched) 30' cord Thermador originally supplied was just barely long enough to make it. We are not talking a 30' duct run. (And because there is living space above the kitchen, there is not enough room in the ceiling for an inline blower, so we are using a remote (roof-mounted) blower but that is not the difficult issue here).

Thanks for all the helpful comments. Unfortunately we have concluded that there is not a design solution possible to make the box in the picture work with Thermador, so the only option is a different insert or to scrap that surround and go with a different kind of hood, like a stainless chimney island style hood, but that we felt was not the right design choice for the space.


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RE: Thermador hood ... really?

I think this might be a blessing in disguise. Go for a lower chimney style hood if you want it to actually do something. The only way I see your setup doing much of anything is if the of surround were a bunch lower than the fan so that you'd be in effect creating a huge capture area. Hopefully Kas will jump in here as I'm no expert by a long shot, just extrapolating my personal experience with a hood mounted 30" above the cooktop.


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RE: Thermador hood ... really?

The issue isn't really gas vs. induction - it's what you cook and how much smoke, grease and odor you generate. Yes, gas will generate more heat but that's not as big a deal as smoke, grease, and odor. I agree that since you have to change something, you ought to consider lowering the hood.


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RE: Thermador hood ... really?

Yes, those are valid points. It is true, however, that as a generalization, gas requires more venting than other cooktops, not just because of the heat but also due to the amount of water vapor, CO, and other byproducts you get from burning gas. While not conclusive, The Induction Site estimates that induction units only require about 2/3 of the vent power that gas would take. As Weissman points out though YMMV, depending on what you cook and how you do it.

We don't fry much, and most of our protein gets cooked on the outdoor grill a few steps to the right, or in that oven across the way. And we like the smell of carmelizing onions or garlic. So perhaps the occasional fish fry will present a bit of a challenge for this hood, but I don't think we will mind it all that much. (And we did compensate (somewhat) for the additional height by getting a 1200 cfm blower, where 600-750 would probably be adequate.)


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RE: Thermador hood ... really?

Another reason I don't like appliance packages is that you are putting all your eggs in one basket customer-service-wise. If you haven't liked Thermador's customer service on this hood issue, just think how you will have to deal with them again and again for each of your appliances that may develop an issue. Fingers crossed that all your other appliances in this package you purchased are problem-free and will never need a part.


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RE: Thermador hood ... really?

The amount of effluent that can be generated by frying is significantly greater than the amount of water and trace carbon monoxide generated by the gas flames. The issue for grease collection and odor capture is that the rising effluent from the pan expands as it rises, and a hood at the height shown should in principle (and, amazingly, in practice) be the size of a typical commercial hood. The apertures of these are normally set at 7 feet above the floor, but variations exist. Too small a hood for its height will ventilate the kitchen, but some of the grease will not be immediately captured and contained, so it will likely condense elsewhere.

Meanwhile, the portion of odor not bonded to the grease or water particles, being a molecularly diluted chemical rather than a spectrum of particle sizes as is grease, will propagate at the transverse speed of air molecules and not be removed until all of the house air is effectively replaced (to some dilution) by the ventilation. (See S. Chandrasekhar's 1943 paper on Brownian motion for more.)

So, I understand the aesthetics issue, as I wrestled with it myself, but my dislike for odor and grease won out and I used an island hood 34 inches above the top surface of my induction cooktop.

kas

This post was edited by kaseki on Sun, Nov 10, 13 at 11:50


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RE: Thermador hood ... really?

weissman - you may be sorry, but I'm not off base at all .

did you miss: "I'm not excusing T'dor here. They made the deal and they need to make good, ??????????

Of course they need to honor their deal.

My broad point (which you seem to have missed) is : there is no free lunch. Doesn't matter that you have a signed sealed and delivered contract, or are on a first name basis with the president of the company. Pay attention here now, I'll spell it out again.

this is it

you listening ?

EVERYTHING HAS A COST - even "free" stuff !

You will end up paying for that "free" stuff too. May not be with dollars, pesos, rubles, or yen, but you will pay for it. In Eyes' case it is with time and frustration.

stump - no the Lexus NAV package would isn't a good example. The dealer may have comped you the $$$ for it, but the thing itself would have rolled out of the factory already fitted. There is no retrofitting one of those on a Lexus in the field. And yes, I have several. Furthermore, they aren't "giving" you anything. Period, end of story. There may be a line on your invoice showing cost of NAV system $2000 - net cost to you $0.00. but the dealer is not walking away from $2k or $799 or whatever the thing cost. That money is made up on another line of the invoice. Guaranteed.

I get your point though. You are all miss reading me. I'm not saying Eyes is doing anything wrong, or doesn't have the right to expect what was sold to him/her. WHat I am saying (in a broad sense / big picture ) is I think it's a bit naive to expect everything to go off with out a hitch on something that is free !

To me it's clear that Theramdor is out of their std. operation on this. That hood was not ready for prime time, yet they sold it anyway with half baked specs and clearly no stock from which to draw.

This should really clue you in to what T'dor is - a marketing machine. That hood was most likely from Bosch or Gaggenau's European offerings and which a genius in Huntington thought he could peddle to raise the status of Thermador in the USA. Meanwhile , no one here has or even had a clue about the thing. My guess is no one here ever saw one at all , let alone installed in an American residence.

Eyes should be thankful (s)he didn't pay full price for this thing. That would be a real mess.


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RE: Thermador hood ... really?

Thanks for the detailed explanation kas. We will try to contain the molecular transformations of odiferous biological matter to the center burner, so that any expansion of the plume will hopefully be captured by the vent. Hadn't considered going with a wider unit -- we are using a 36" but 42" or 48" would fit as well, which is nice to know in the event we develop a taste for liver & onions down the road.

No need to scream, xedos, I get it. Think we all do. I certainly wasn't expecting a free lunch, and don't think I got one either. Neither do I think the price matters in expecting something to go off without a hitch -- I expect products to work as they are supposed to work, and product literature to be accurate and complete, and I don't think the fact that you put a $0 next to one product and $FULL MSRP next to another on the invoice matters one whit as to whether that expectation is legit or not. You seem to be saying that because it was "free" I should have expected to have problems. Sorry, I just don't buy that, either as a matter of logic or customer service. Problems during a remodel? Of course. Problems only with, and because of, items that are "free" or part of a package discount? Sorry, I don't buy that.

You may be right about their marketing, but I will say their products are very well put together. The induction unit is quiet, responsive and easy to operate. The oven is a beast, very powerful and very accurate. The dishwasher is so quiet we often can't tell it is on. Even the fridge is solid, well-built, and well designed. I have no reason to believe the hood would not have worked just as well ... if only they had figured out that the plug for the switch had to match the plug for the blower in order for it to work! :)


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