02 Sep2008

Stove Maintenance

by Marketman

stove1

When was the last time you had your stove cleaned, checked or serviced by a professional? We tend to wash our car several times a week, get our motorcycle oil changed periodically and charge our ipod, phone or PDA every few days, but I bet many of you don’t pay much attention to your stoves. Now if you don’t use your stove, I suppose that is a reasonable excuse. But I suspect many folks (particularly in the Philippines) use their stove enough to warrant a regular annual check-up… If you have been reading this blog for any length of time, you can probably imagine the number of calories our stoves at home produce in a given year. I just jotted down some numbers, and I believe our stove in the city cooks up some 15-18,000+ calories a day (and we use a rice cooker for rice), and that isn’t counting the millions of calories in jams, preserves, baked goods, etc. that we cook at certain times of the year. So even if you assume we buy a top of the line “local” brand at say PHP45,000 and it lasts just 4 years before we put it out to pasture, then the daily amortized cost net of interest/opportunity cost is roughly PHP30 a day, or less than what most folks spend on inane text messages, and the stove feeds many people in the household! (Btw, local as in La Germania or Elba, is not really local, they would like you to think they are made in Italy, which many are not, instead the recent models are made in China, and frankly, fall apart faster than they should.)

stove5

A few weeks ago, I noticed a couple of disconcerting signals while cooking up a few dishes. First, the stove burners appeared to be having some difficulty lighting up and staying lit, almost as if the gas pressure was running low… and it was conveniently explained by the cook that a gas tank (we use the large sized tanks, and always have a second one on the ready) was about to be replaced. Then a few days later, we had problems with the broiler, which fired up really lame, and I was unable to caramelize the top of my onion soup properly, and I had to turn to a hand-held butane torch to get it done right. Then finally, a few days ago, I entered an empty and calm kitchen and I picked up the faint but distinct scent of gas. I immediately called the brand’s service center and made an appointment.

stove3

Cesar, the stove dude, arrived an hour ago. He proceeded to take apart the top of the stove, and as with other technicians who we have come across, proceeded to do a “flame test.” What is that? They take a burning gas lighter and pass it over all of the gas lines until they find a leak that then flares up ever so slightly and they confidently pronounce in Filipino, “there is the leak.” Egads. The first time I saw a serviceman do this, I ran out of the kitchen, certain he was about to blow up the entire side of the house and we would be airborne in seconds. I always thought a soap test was the way to go… add soapy water all over the key pipes and tubes and look for some bubbles that would indicate a gas leak… but apparently, in this part of the world, they fight fire with fire… Cesar claims in 10+ years he has never blown up a stove. :(

stove2

With constant use, these flimsy locally sourced stoves do spring leaks, and I would strongly recommend that you get your stove serviced at least once a year, if only for you to see the gunk that can accumulate behind the scenes, despite conscientious cleaning standards in your kitchen. All is well now, the stove is working properly, the broiler could singe your eyebrows and we will save more than enough in wasted gas to pay Cesar for his brilliant, if not hair raising work. At PHP400 for a home service call and throw in a generous tip, this is a bargain for your peace of mind and a properly functioning stove. Oh, and don’t think that because you buy a more expensive stove such as a Viking, you will need less servicing… we have the Viking serviced often as well to make sure it is in tip-top working condition… But I do expect the Viking to last 3-4 times a La Germania or ELBA. Now, for your airconditioners, have you had those cleaned out in the past year or so??? :)

 

COMMENTS:

  1. Rico says:

    This just proves that MarketMan is also a HandyMan!

    Sep 2, 2008 | 11:40 am

     
  2. Rico says:

    And a handyman (for me, since I count myself as one) is someone who calls a repairman! ;)

    Sep 2, 2008 | 11:44 am

     
  3. Marketman says:

    Rico, well, would you believe, I recently completely dismantled an entire toilet and re-attached it? All with my own sweat and swear words over an hour or two of effort? And a tool set that was so complicated that I could barely figure out how to RETURN the tools to the box??? Hahaha.

    Sep 2, 2008 | 11:50 am

     
  4. Madeline says:

    We have ovens and other appliances from the US. Some others were brought way back when Sangley Point in Cavite, Clark Airbase in Pampanga and Subic Base in Olongapo. They are really durable and takes decades. The problem is that there is no service center around and when we have somebody do it, they arent that knowledgeable about it.
    From that experience, we now buy some locally made products which have service centers here.

    Sep 2, 2008 | 12:18 pm

     
  5. nina says:

    MM, you are right, the best way to check leak is by using soapy water. This is standard practice even in the industry. Both my husband and I work for industrial plants (oil and gas, petrochemical) where safety is a top priority. If somebody comes to our house and light up a lighter to find the leak in my stove, we will freak out for sure. My husband would probably give the service man a safety lecture.

    Some people disregard safety because they think they’ve been doing things for 10/20 years and nothing really happened to them. The sad part is if something goes wrong, he may not have a chance to correct his mistakes. If you have big leaks of LPG, even a spark can blow up your kitchen.

    Stay safe!

    Sep 2, 2008 | 12:29 pm

     
  6. jenny says:

    Been planning to buy an oven, what kind would you suggest for a first timer?

    Sep 2, 2008 | 12:31 pm

     
  7. Homebuddy says:

    I was admiring the Viking professional cooking range and ovens in your earlier post, how I wish I could own one someday!

    Sep 2, 2008 | 1:07 pm

     
  8. suzette says:

    i am contemplating on buying a new stove… what do you think would be best for a family with four small children who likes brownies, pizzas and cupcakes?

    Sep 2, 2008 | 4:44 pm

     
  9. sister says:

    I’m all for professional cleaning. In Europe and the US you can contact a company called Ovenu and they come, take apart your stove and bring the parts down to the truck for cleaning. Beats working with Easy off or going green with baking soda. My Viking. less than one year old, already needs servicing. It probably is used about 40 or more hours a week all year.

    Sep 2, 2008 | 8:57 pm

     
  10. Gerry says:

    If your a first time oven buyer, I suggest you get an electric oven, preferably convection for fast and even heating. It would also be great if the convection fan could be turned off when baking delicate cakes. Electric ovens are much easier to maintain, though they may be a little bit more expensive to operate. The benefit of not having to worry about gas leaks may be well worth that price.

    For those who really want the power of the Viking without the price, you can go for restaurant type burners. They’ll get the job done, but without the beauty and elegance of the Viking. A 5 burner set-up costs less than 30K.

    Lastly, a tip on stainless steel. To know whether an appliance has good quality stainless, bring a magnet. If it sticks, it usually means it’s made of lesser quality steel. Good quality stainless contains nickel, which renders the it non-magnetic. Whether it be magnetic or not, the thicker the stainless, the more durable the product usually is – so knock on those panels to see how thick they are.

    Sep 2, 2008 | 9:00 pm

     
  11. sister says:

    As for airconditioners there are companies that take away your airconditioners in the fall, clean and store them and reinstall them in the spring. I am an absolute convert and for the couple of hundred dollars charged it is well worth having all windows unimpeded by machines. I plan on doing it every year from now on.
    Clean your filters once a week if you use the units every day, it makes a vast difference in the efficiency of the units.

    Sep 2, 2008 | 9:01 pm

     
  12. melissa says:

    Hi everyone, does anyone know of a company that cleans airconditioning units here in Makati? I use mine every day and have had it cleaned once so far this year. The unit leaked for a few days after they cleaned it until they could come back and fix it so I’m worried about having the same guys come over. Tsk tsk.

    Sep 2, 2008 | 10:40 pm

     
  13. bernadette says:

    We have no service centers here to boast about and even auto mechanics hereabouts can so-so (only insiders know who the best really are) so it really pays to be handyman (like my husband) and file/read the manuals that go with the appliance or equipment! I have a 6-burner Diplomata and it has served us very well. My husband does the soap-test for looking out for leaks in the hoses. But actual flame test??? Whoa! How does that guy start with that way of testing? Maybe he first controls the gas gauge or something?

    Sep 3, 2008 | 8:52 am

     
  14. melvs says:

    MM ,what a coincidence. Last weekend I was also thinking of having our oven serviced but I’m not aware on any company that provide such service. Can you share the contact numbers of that company that serviced your stove. Thanks

    Sep 3, 2008 | 1:14 pm

     
  15. melvs says:

    ops, don’t bother mm, I got it already from web. thanks.

    Sep 3, 2008 | 1:27 pm

     
  16. Pia says:

    My dad also does this once or twice a year. Absolutely necessary given the amount of use our stove gets.

    Sep 4, 2008 | 7:56 am

     
  17. cher says:

    @Melissa

    pick up a copy of red hot chilli paper and streettalk, there are lots of info there home service pa :)

    Sep 6, 2008 | 3:45 am

     
  18. Francis says:

    MM, would appreciate if you can share the contact number of the service company. I need to have our oven cleaned but could not find a shop to do it.

    Thanks!

    Sep 21, 2008 | 6:48 pm

     
  19. BBM Catering Services says:

    Do you have any contact number of your service company.We need a repair service.

    Hope your responce soon

    Nov 21, 2008 | 2:25 pm

     
  20. yellahfellah says:

    Marketman, I too find myself in need of a stove repairman. We our La Germaina just about a year and a half ago and it’s already falling apart!. I didn’t realize these things were made in China pala! All the while I thought they were assembled here with parts made from Taiwan/Italy/locally made parts(?). Our previous La Germania lasted us more than 10 years and was very durable. So was my mom’s.

    First, the dial indicators began to rub off due to constant wiping of the surface. So I got my Pentel pen and put dots on where I estimated the markers to be (and using the manual as a guide, too). Then after it dried out, I put some clear nailpolish over it to protect it from being rubbed off again. Sayang I didn’t do this when we just got the oven.

    Now, the oven’s flames seem to die out for no apparent reason. It starts out fine, then the flames very slowly die out without any change in the flame control knob! As you adjust the flame knob to a higher setting, the flames will come back up again, but then the process repeats itself again! It seems like a gas leak to me because we bought the tank just 10 days ago and it normally lasts about 40-50 days. But then when we use the stove for cooking, there seems to be no manifestation of any sort of leak. (Maybe the leak is after the portion where the gas line separates to the oven side?)

    At any rate, I hope you can share with us your contact number for the stove/oven repairman. I can’t bake anymore! I already ruined 2 cakes…

    Thanks!

    Feb 9, 2009 | 3:19 pm

     
  21. marcel says:

    MM, do you a contact number of the service center for table top gas stove here in batangas city? ours is a lagermania 2-burner gas stove. i think it needs servicing. we have been using it for about 5 years and has never been checked nor maintained by any serviceman. Right now, only 1 burner is working. the other one is totally out.
    We will appreciate it if you could share us the contact numbers of the repairman/service center located here in batangas city.
    Thanks!!!

    May 14, 2009 | 2:14 pm

     
  22. Marishka David says:

    To yellahfellah:

    You can call the La Germania Center that services the Makati area. It’s 700-8341 and look for Ms. Ligaya. They do the house service from Monday – Saturday, 10am to 5pm. I just called them earlier and scheduled one for Saturday — check up and demo since I’m new at using a manual gas oven. Service fee is P400.

    Hope this helps.

    Jul 18, 2009 | 9:34 pm

     
  23. lita villarosa says:

    I bought my elba stove at SM. Previously, an ELBA technician can easily be reached and have serviced including repair work on my elba stove. However, we cannot get in touch with him now.

    Kindly provide me a contact number of ELBA’s service center nearest to my place, Bacoor, Cavite.

    Aug 4, 2009 | 1:40 pm

     
  24. odette says:

    please email me the phone number of this repair service center since I want my La Germania stove checked and cleaned.

    thank you

    Aug 5, 2009 | 7:54 pm

     
  25. Victor Y. Apaliso says:

    please email me the place where i can find and procure the part of germania exhaut

    Aug 31, 2009 | 6:43 am

     
  26. ching v. burgos says:

    Pls email me the contact number of a service center that can repair and replace worn out parts of my la germania stove. I live in San Pedro, Laguna. Kindly help me find one. Thanks so much.

    Sep 21, 2009 | 11:14 pm

     
  27. liza necesario, cebu philippines says:

    Pls email me the contact number of a service center that can repair and replace worn out parts of my la germania gas range. I live in Cebu, Banilad. Please help me find your service center in Cebu. Thank u so much and more power.

    Oct 22, 2009 | 3:24 pm

     
  28. Thel Guzman says:

    Hi there! i want to know if there is a service center of la Germania here in Antipolo City…and i want also to know where i can buy a burner…pls. email me…thanks a lot!

    Nov 15, 2009 | 6:31 pm

     
  29. Fely Mercado says:

    kindly email me your contact numbers if you have a service center in Pampanga. thanks.

    Nov 19, 2009 | 5:46 am

     
  30. Sally says:

    I live here in Batangas, please email me the nearest service center of La Germania in our place. Thanks a lot,,,

    Nov 28, 2009 | 10:02 am

     
  31. juris says:

    I live in Imus, Cavite. How much is your charge for cleaning and repair for a La Germania stove and oven? Thanks

    Dec 1, 2009 | 7:04 pm

     
  32. jeyeykei says:

    Viking, though made in the US, doesn’t necessarily mean durable, for many of my friends who own Vikings are not happy with it’s efficiency in terms of durability and energy consumption. My la germania double fueled cooking range is still working properly despite 2 days submersion from ondoy’s flooding, and just by drying it up normally. My other la germania electric range is already 24 yrs.old and still functioning magnificently, and i use it’s oven almost everyday from toasting , roasting, drying etc. Wld you believe that i haven’t called their service center office until now for repair.

    Dec 11, 2009 | 2:19 pm

     
  33. Marketman says:

    jeyeykei, I would take a viking over a la germania ANY DAY. Vikings aren’t perfect, but they sure are more sturdy than a La Germania. In the 10 years we have had our Viking, I have changed our La Germania stoves in the city twice. I cook a LOT and the La Germania’s are okay for occasional cooks but not for frequent users. That’s okay, I just amortize their cost over a shorter period. But try bending the metal on the La Germania, you can easily to that, but its harder on a Viking. And the heat of a viking is 2-3X the BTU’s given off by a La Germania. As far as energy consumption, would your friends have electric vikings? Why would they do that. Gas is the way to go.

    Dec 11, 2009 | 11:53 pm

     
  34. manilamomof5 says:

    hi MM, been lurking around your site and i find it extremely helpful and a lot of times entertaining. i was searching the net for the service contact numbers of la germania and your site was in the top 5 of the list :) for those who’ve been asking MM for the contact numbers of la germania, you can call 564-1521 to 28 and ask for the contact number of the person who services your area. just called them now and i’m finally going to have mine serviced after 6 yrs! i’m amazed we haven’t had a major accident. thanks MM, love your site

    Jan 5, 2010 | 1:14 pm

     
  35. larry says:

    i broke na door glass of my moms lagermania howmuch would it cost me to replace it…any idea?

    Mar 30, 2010 | 3:31 pm

     
  36. mhel says:

    Home Appliance Service Center in the Philippines

    SAMSUNG Philippines
    Ground level Bonaventure Greenhills,San Juan
    Tel. 580-5777 / 726-6624
    SONY Philippines
    7285 Solidhouse Bldg., Pasong Tamo,Makati City
    Tel. 330-1111
    PHILIPS Philippines
    106 Valero St. Salcedo Vill. Makati City
    Tel. 816-2617 / 816-4416
    SHARP Philippines
    KM 23 West Service Rd. Alabang Muntinlupa City
    Tel. 847- 777 / 809- 4991/93
    PANASONIC Philippines
    Taytay Cainta Rizal
    Tel. 636-3101
    JVC Philippines
    918 Arnaiz Avenue, Makati City
    Tel. 889-7711 loc.153
    LG Philippines
    15F Legaspi st. cor.Raymundo Ave. Maybunga,Pasig City
    Tel. 640-2525 / 641-4181/85
    CARRIER Philippines
    KM 20 East Service rd. Alabang, Muntinlupa City
    Tel. 863-555 / 863-5540
    KOLIN Philippines
    Kolin bldg. EDSA cor. Magallanes, Makati City
    Tel. 852-1531 / 851-2711
    ELECTROLUX Philippines
    308 Buendia St. Makati City
    Tel. 812-6751 / 892-3589
    PIONEER Philippines
    710 Adelo st. Malibay, Pasay City
    Tel. 852-6706
    CONCEPCION (Kelvinator, Condura) Philippines
    8223 Ene bldg. Sucat Rd. Paranaque
    Tel. 845-4663 / 845-2273
    LA GERMANIA Philippines
    1820 Paz Mendoza Paco Manila
    Tel. 546-1521
    ELBA Philippines
    3425 Bataan st. V. Mapa Sta. Mesa,Manila
    Tel. 714-6002/03
    WHIRLPOOL Philippines
    24 D. Tuazon st. cor. L.Castillo,Quezon City
    Tel. 732-7373 dial 1
    TCL Philippines
    Rm. 2004 Richville Corp. Tower Madrigal Business Park Ayala Alabang
    Tel. 809-3138 / 807-4880 loc. 123

    Apr 7, 2010 | 11:36 am

     
  37. jan gloria says:

    good day po,

    we need a service for our whirpool refrigerators, washing machine, and range.
    we need a service also for our lagermania gas range, sino po kaya who can accomodate us we are located in calamba laguna,
    hope you can help us, slamat po and GOD BLESS

    jan gloria
    09276260848

    Apr 18, 2010 | 6:16 pm

     
  38. jeyeykei says:

    Mr. market man, you would take Viking over La germania anyday…yeah right! Unless someone gives it to you for free, or you’re more than willing enough to spend around $7000 US dollar for a unit, more or less 300.000 Philippine pesos, which is tantamount to purchasing a low cost house down further south of manila, is ridiculous!!!!!, and if i can afford one myself, i am expecting a master piece, but then again….. Try googling complaints in the US about Viking.
    By the way, i never thought that you are so popular amongst food enthusiasts, critiques and the likes. Saw Anthony Bourdain’s trip to Manila, and was told that you were there. Felt so honored that you took some time to answer my comment, though we clashed a bit. Hehe! Good day Market man.

    Apr 26, 2010 | 10:43 am

     
  39. ederliza estrera says:

    we have a problem with our stove same with the others,we want you to repair it.can we have your contact number?

    Jun 25, 2010 | 4:53 pm

     
  40. AC says:

    our elba also has same problem… mahina apoy.. and minsan… namamatay magisa… una akala ko madumi lang kaya pinabayaan ko… pero nabasa ko ito.. delikado pala at baka leak.. saan po kaya pwede ipagawa?
    recommendations naman po.. thanks

    Jul 31, 2010 | 9:06 pm

     
  41. Robert Hammerslag says:

    Does anyone have any comments on the Bopani cook stoves. They are supposed to be Italian but cost less than LaGermania or Elba. Here (Iloilo) they are sold by Citi Hardware

    Aug 13, 2010 | 3:11 am

     
 

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