How to turn a small problem into a large one

Trying to take a shortcut, when you know better, often leads to increased complications. Case in point: the bake element in our kitchen range went out recently. Not a big deal right? Order a new element, remove two screws, pull old element out several inches to reveal wire connections…and here is where the trouble started. There was a wire snugly attached to one side of the element, but not the other side. Read on to discover how to turn a small problem into a large one.

Normally you would now remove the back panel to ascertain where the other wire has gotten his little, mischievous self. We, however, have a slide in range that I lovingly installed in our kitchen island with the top perfectly caulked to the counter-top. I was not super pumped to uninstall the range, so I attempted to fish the wire out with a telescopic magnet. Negative success. In the dark recesses of my mind there resides a little gremlin that feeds my subconscious mind really bad ideas. It said maybe there is only one wire in this particular range. Fire it up and see if it works!

Knowing better, I did just that. There was a loud pop, and the breaker kicked. The gremlin said “Try it again just to be sure.” The breaker kicked again, and this time there was smoke and an acrid, something-electrical-has-bit-the-big-one smell. My 15 minute honey-do had taken a turn for the worse, and my checkbook was whimpering in the corner. I calculated that the smell was at least a $150 part.

So now I had to cut the caulk with a razor knife and slide the range out of the island as far as the wiring would allow. This gave me about 6 inches between the back of the range and the counter-top in which to work. I then removed the back panel and immediately discovered the missing wire. It was lying against the metal frame of the range amidst a black, angry scorch mark. Yay team! I fished the wire through and connected it to the new element, replaced the back panel, reinstalled the range, and turned the power back on.

The digital display remained blank. I tested the cook-top burners. They worked fine. I checked the oven light. It also worked. It was looking as if I had fried the digital display when the wayward element wire arched against the range frame. Not a big deal it’s just a timer…right? Wrong. After a little research, I determined it is actually the Electronic Control Board which retails for $258.86. That will put me at around $300 dollars for the repair including the bake element.

It was difficult explaining to my wife that my laziness was going to cost us another $260. In my defense, an uneventful element swap wouldn’t have been very interesting. I have now come up with a guide for turning small problems into large ones, so you too can have interesting stories with which to regale your friends and family. Here are the steps:

  1. Never follow instructions, manuals, diagrams or the like, and discard all such immediately.
  2. Base all important decisions upon conjecture and opinion, eschewing all facts and pertinent data.
  3. Never ask for help, directions, or professional advice; go with your “gut”.
  4. Gleefully act upon all suggestions from the demon in your subconscious without pause or contemplation.
  5. Always look for the shortcut in any task. Remember, something worth doing is worth doing quickly, so you can get back to watching television.
  6. Doing something efficiently and correctly the first time is for sissies. Where is the adventure in that?

You have now heard exactly how not to repair a kitchen appliance. I am the reason there are repair manuals “for dummies” and “complete idiots”. I must go now, the ice-maker in the refrigerator has been acting up…what could possibly go wrong? Costing yourself hundreds of dollars through sheer stupidity may suck, but Idaho does not!

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