How to Inspect a Stove
In reviewing stoves, we will be reviewing ranges, ovens, or cooktops, depending on your
local terminology. It would seem pretty straight forward at first, but there is definitely a
method to performing this evaluation properly. The first thing I do when I start is remove
anything from within or on top of the stove so as not to melt anything while operating the
unit. I also assume that it is Thanksgiving Day, in other words all burners or elements
are on at the same time. This is the best approach since eventually everything will be at
some point in the future.
Assuming an electric stove, start by turning all of the burners on and to the highest
setting. Within the oven turn on the “bake” element. Let all elements remain on
until cherry red. Once the bake element has become cherry red switch the control to
the “broil” element (leave the stovetop burners on). Now, if the stove has not been
replaced from the original installation there should be no issue with the size of the circuit.
If it has been replaced you may blow the fuse or circuit breaker due to the increased load.
This is the reason for running everything at once. It is not uncommon for an older home
to have a 40 amp circuit for the stove while many brand new stoves require a 50 amp
circuit. This presents quite a problem for the Buyer since you would have to either pull
new wire from the panel or replace the stove with a smaller unit. Either is not cheap.
Gas ranges are much easier, just light all of the burners, one at a time and turn the oven
on in both the bake and broil modes to be sure they fire and you will be complete with
that portion of the home inspection.
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