The range we bought is made by Whirlpool. It has a nice user interface with simple programming controls for time bake and temperature settings. It is also free of any pilot lights. Instead, it has a spark generator (coil) which sparks when you turn the control on for a burner. The spark lights the gas and you are on your way to cooking.. I'm sure you all have seen this. One thing I did notice is that the little spark plug makes a spark on all of the burners when any one of them is turned on. I did notice that two of the burners didn't always light as readily as the other two, even from day one when it was new. Also, when the igniters are sparking there is a rather loud and distinctive clicking noise - it comes from the spark jumping the gap at the igniter. After a while one just turns the control knob to the point where the clicking is heard, assumes that the burner has ignited and sets the control to medium or whereever one want to cook. If there is a large skillet on the burner the flame can't be seen.
Well, one day Arleen was preparing one of her spectacular dinners (I weigh well over 200 pounds as a result of her culinary skills!) and she did the normal thing and walked to the refrige. What she didn't know is that the front burner hadn't ignited - there was a large skillet on the burner - and gas was building up in the area. Finally the gas made its way to an already lighted rear burner and WHOOOOM, the front burner ignited along with a pot holder next to the range! Being a quick witted, calm person Arleen handled the situation well and continued to cook dinner. I, being a not so calm person told her to get out of the way and let me see why the burner didn't ignite when she thought it should have.
It turns out that two of the burners were not sparking at all. The intermittent failure mode was now a constant failure. No matter how long one waited, the gas never ignited on these two burners. Click, click, click, - nothing.
After dinner I pulled the range away from the wall. It had been there for two years. That is something you don't want to do after a big meal. There were old crumbs, spilled gravy all the stuff that you can't clean up due to the tight clearances - ugh! I removed the rear cover and there was the spark coil, a small box with lots of wires attached. I found the four wires that went to the igniters and switched them around. Two of them were dead. No spark.
Next morning I called the store where we bought the range, a local establishment. Always buy locally cuz they will treat you right when there is trouble. NOT! I was told by the parts manager that there was a one year warranty on the range and that it had been purchased nearly two years ago. He told me there was an 800 number to call for escalation of customer problems. He wanted 135 dollars for the part and told me that he would have to order it cuz they don't have many (any!) calls for that particular part. (more ammo for my plea). I called the 800 number and was told by a very courteous but persistent woman that Whirlpool had a policy of not extending the warranty but that I could write a letter to the boss and explain why I felt that the part should be warranted . She gave me the name and address of the person and I did write a letter. Basically, I requested that they sell me the part at their cost which I figured to be around ten or fifteen bucks. I explained to him how strongly I felt that the part should be covered under warranty but that I would concede and pay them their manufacturing cost - sort of a win-win situation.
A week went by, then two. No response. Meanwhile we were getting used to lighting the burners with a hand held grille lighter. Not bad but rather inconvenient. There were no more explosions.
Sometime in the third week a package arrived by UPS. It was the spark coil! I opened the invoice attached to the box - NO CHARGE! No letter of explanation, no message from the pope, but more importantly, no charge! Ten minutes later I had the unit installed, turned on the burner and heard what the unit should have sounded like from the get-go. CLICK, CLICK - a loud snapping spark appeared at each burner and they all lit on the first CLICK. No more tick tick and false ignitions. It was like brand new and I had saved another hundred and thirty five dollars! I guess it pays to write that letter!
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