Thread Number: 75643  /  Tag: Recipes, Cooking Accessories
Will a new range with self clean oven last? Or just get a cheapy?
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Post# 994568   5/18/2018 at 19:08 by neptunebob (Pittsburgh, PA)        

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My sister has a Caloric range from 1990 and asked me about a new range. The self clean mode has been gone for awhile, but the oven still heats up, although inaccurately, it burns cookies and no matter which temperature it's set to, it is about 500 degrees. She asked me if she should have the thermostat replaced, but the range is ugly, hard to clean with many seams and sharp edges, and her repairman may not be able to get parts.

I have been looking for a bisque range for her (very few) and I also hear about how the self clean feature now causes an entire oven to crap out, so that you cannot even cook at all anymore. She is willing to clean an oven with Easy Off but while that is no fun, is this something people are just going to have put up with in the 21st century? I also wonder if the chemicals we use are really much more unsafe than the SC ovens, as I have burned myself on a SC wall oven (the outside door).

The only problem with a non-self-clean range is that while they are cheaper, they look rather cheap. But I have read of people who buy a self clean oven and use Easy off because they are afraid of frying the electronic controls that make self cleaning happen.

Below is a video about a GE engineer who invented the self clean oven and he said that "they could not use a hydraulic thermostat, they had to invent an electric thermostat". Could this electric thermostat failing be what happened to the Caloric, and would a hydraulic thermostat (non-self-clean) be more accurate? He made it out that a "self cleaning oven was equal to the moon landing" and that GE went to great lengths to keep "Project 7" a secret, even though there were over 100 patents to make this possible (so why couldn't they come up with one to prevent the heat from frying the electronic package?).

Unfortunately, to get nice things like a timer and a door window one often has to get the self clean oven and pay for a feature you may never use.

I have noticed often ranges that get set on the curb have filthy ovens, even if they did self clean so there must be a lot of those failures out there and maybe the owners let it get dirty until they could stand it no more and then bought new ovens.

What ovens do you all have (I know most vintage ovens) and do you find cleaning ovens a pain? or can you put up with Easy off, which I think will still be on the market 50 years from now.


Post# 994573 , Reply# 1   5/18/2018 at 19:30 by DADoES (TX,†U.S. of A.)        

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I've run self-clean several times (maybe average every 1.5 years) on my 2003 GE range with no adverse effects.† Last couple times I set a small fan blowing toward the control panel (backsplash).

Post# 994574 , Reply# 2   5/18/2018 at 19:31 by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
I think

A self cleaning oven and a Frost Free refrigerator are two of the most trouble prone things ever invented, I don't want either one.The MOST trouble prone thing ever made is a thermostatic surface unit, you will find one out of a thousand that will still work.

Post# 994575 , Reply# 3   5/18/2018 at 19:32 by ea56 (Sonoma Co.,CA)        

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I have personal experience with an oven no longer working due to use of the self clean feature. It was a Maytag smooth top that we got in 2000, a slide in model with the controls on the front, over the oven. Anyway, after about 20 mo.s of use I tried to turn to oven on, but just got error codes. It was going to cost $300 to 400 to repair. So I got another range, sans self clean, oven. I didnít like the fumes from the self cleaning process anyway, and if you clean up spills right way and keep the oven floor covered with foil you donít have to do a major cleaning very often. The racks are the worst part of the process, and I confess Iím not real anal about keeping the racks pristine, but I do clean them.

Our current range is a BOL GE in white, old fashioned dial control for the oven, no clock or timer. I love it! The burners are fast and also cool down fairly quick too. I just got a digital timer with big numbers and a magnet and stick it to the control panel when Iím timing. And best of all, I can broil with the oven door closed, hence no smoke in the house when broiling!! A real plus! It would be nice to have a delay start and stop oven, but I manage fine without it.

See the link below they do sell it in Bisque.



This post was last edited 05/19/2018 at 01:36
Post# 994580 , Reply# 4   5/18/2018 at 21:18 by americana4 (East Greenwich RI)        

My current GE americana range is about 30 years old, I've had it for nearly 20.
I've used the self clean feature- including panels from the upper oven and drip pans- once or twice per year with no trouble ever. Deja vu all over again- GE once got it right. Wish it was still true.

Post# 994582 , Reply# 5   5/18/2018 at 21:32 by cuffs054 (MONTICELLO, GA)        

This is the first time in decades I have a non self clean oven and I hate it. The stove is good at what it does, the oven bakes great but it is filthy and I have zero desire to clean it. I will keep using it until something breaks or the oven smells so bad it has to go. In all the years I had self clean I never had an issue with the ranges.

Post# 994583 , Reply# 6   5/18/2018 at 21:59 by fan-of-fans (Florida)        

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Ours is a 1985 Hotpoint electric self clean, and never had any issues with it, but it has nothing electronic.

Have you thought about getting something used? Easier to find bisque and might be built better than new ranges. However, anything made later than a few years after 1990 would probably be electronic controlled just like new ones. I will say it's quite possible that Caloric she has may be built better than anything new out there. However, as far as I know Caloric did make the Prestige line of ranges themselves but the Heritage line was made by Sunray. If it's a self cleaner I imagine it wasn't made by Sunray as I never heard of a self clean Sunray range.

I do know the Caloric ranges were made as late as 1996-97 and by then they looked quite modern, they still had self clean with the infra red broiler, and may have been made by Amana by then as I know they had bought Caloric. But it's the same issue, any higher end Caloric from after the mid 90s is completely electronically controlled. If the parts go out, parts would be probably unobtanium by now and the board would need to be rebuilt at the component level.

As far as new ranges, I do know GE makes an electric self clean range that is very basic. It doesn't have any touchpad or digital display. You just turn the oven dial to clean, slide the lock lever over and when the light goes off it's done. I don't know if this is done by electronic modules or not. And I don't know if they make a gas version. But I did see this range at an appliance store or two but never at the big boxes. I will also say, for what it's worth, after feeling the weight of the ranges and the oven doors, the GE self cleaning electric range, to me felt the heaviest built between it and a similar Frigidaire and Whirlpool. I also remember though that someone on here said back in the 90s they compared a Caloric self cleaning gas range weight and door to other brands and it felt heavier than the rest.

Another good thing about self cleaning ranges is they tend to be better insulated than non-self cleaning ones. It's possible they also use heavier quality metals, but it's possible they don't.

Post# 994586 , Reply# 7   5/18/2018 at 22:50 by PassatDoc (Orange County, California)        
2002 Frigidaire Gallery self-cleaning convection gas range

self-clean used once or twice a year. No issues whatsoever, had to calibrate oven temp once in 16 years.

Post# 994607 , Reply# 8   5/19/2018 at 07:38 by Helicaldrive (St. Louis)        
I have never used self clean

I find it is very easy to simply clean the oven every time I use it. It wipes out clean very quickly when still warm. Use Bon Ami and a Mr. Clean magic eraser pad.

A little ammonia added to the dish water helps a lot.

Then you never need those nasty oven cleaners.

Post# 994610 , Reply# 9   5/19/2018 at 09:00 by Joeekaitis (Rialto, California, USA)        
No woes with our Hotpoint gas self-cleaner

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Canít buy a new one. Haier trimmed the Hotpoint lineup and discontinued gas self-cleaning ovens. Electric is still available.

Bigger advantage than self-cleaning: beefier insulation = lower energy usage and better temperature stability.

Post# 994622 , Reply# 10   5/19/2018 at 11:16 by Awooff (Peoria, Illinois)        
Mid 90s dual fuel jennair slide in

I have tortured this stove over the years. Convected many turkeys and chickens which blows grease all over the oven cavity. Have never used Easy-Off as I'm afraid it will damage the heating element or take off the self-cleaning coating. I remove my racks for the self cleaning feature which the manual stated. Some damage to the electronic control may exist. Reason I say this is once a year or so the oven will beep incessantly and I'll have throw the breaker. Other than this the oven is perfect in every way. Also I see similar ovens on Craigslist to mine for around a hundred fifty bucks regularly

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Post# 994628 , Reply# 11   5/19/2018 at 11:58 by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
Caloric has not been

a top quality range since the 70's, and neither have Magic Chef or Maytag since the 80's until Whirlpool designs.
You clean the oven on average twice yearly unless you're baking to sell, or catering.
Many models today have steam clean assist also. You pour a little water and or cleaner onto the oven bottom and push the quick or steam clean button.
Saves energy too.
My mom had a continuous cleaning non stick Kenmore range and liked it.

Post# 994629 , Reply# 12   5/19/2018 at 12:02 by firedome (Binghamton NY & Lake Champlain VT)        
Vintage P-7 GEs

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are pretty common, a good way to go. They function well and we've never had a problem with one. 1960s to about early '80s models GE parts are available, and rarely seem to fail. 60s, '70s FDs are good too, build quality a smidgen better even, Electri-Clean came later than P-7, but FD parts don't seem to be as available, so we bought a complete parts range for our current '76 FD 30" Electri-clean, which works great. Build quality in almost all of the new and affordable ranges seems abysmal, they feel really cheap and flimsy, while up to early '80s GE's quality was still very good. Agree with Tom, they had it right then.

Post# 994631 , Reply# 13   5/19/2018 at 12:14 by henene4 (Germany)        

A self clean feature does cause stress on electronics. Electronics hate heat, thus, an oven is a horrible place for them in general.

A self clean cycle will thus stress electronics a little further. How long they last thus really depends on cooling and quality.

Personally, given that manual cleaning an oven is a horrible task for me and will never give me the same all-corner results, I'd trade a few years of life for a true self clean.

True high temp self clean, not that steam soak crap...

Post# 994632 , Reply# 14   5/19/2018 at 12:24 by henene4 (Germany)        

GE has a few models in the color she wanted for just 500$ MSRP with self clean option with coil surface units.

WP offers some smooth-top models with simmilar spec, color and self clean for 650$ MSRP.

Accounting for rebates, both seem pretty acceptable prices for ranges if they last 10 or so years...

Post# 994633 , Reply# 15   5/19/2018 at 12:28 by fan-of-fans (Florida)        

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Apparently GE does make a self clean gas range like the electric one I was talking about. No touchpad, no display, just turn the dial to clean and lock the door. Does anyone know if this has electronics or how the timing works?

Only thing is it only comes in white.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO fan-of-fans's LINK

Post# 994642 , Reply# 16   5/19/2018 at 13:59 by 48bencix (Sacramento CA)        
My current GE

My GE double oven has self cleaning for both. The unit has a fan that comes on soon after the unit is started and pulls air in near the controls and blows out below the bottom oven. This keeps the electronics cool. This is a 2016 unit.

Wonder what happened to continuous clean? I had a 1980 gas stove with this feature and it seemed to stay clean.

Post# 994643 , Reply# 17   5/19/2018 at 14:22 by neptunebob (Pittsburgh, PA)        
Thanks for all the answers...

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Fan of fans: Actually, and I will get a picture, this Caloric is in sad shape. It has a lot of seams and sharp edges that collect crud and has the open burners that get crud under them too. For example, the GE Artistry range has at its top one stamped piece of metal that is porcelain coated that cover the entire top of the unit and curves up the back and the grates and burners on top. With the caloric, there is the top which is placed in the "box" with chrome trim around it and the back is a separate piece, and opening around the burners. The knobs are horizontal almost flush with the cooktop and has lots of crumbs, the writing is worn off, and the door is black glass with more crud collecting trim, it's stained in between, and it seems like they used excess parts to make the appliance.

There are too knobs that make the oven bake broil and self clean, one temperature and the other the mode. It has only one time, 3 hours. It is a digital clock but don't know if it is all electronic.

It will still bake (badly) even though the SC doesn't work but on some ranges, when SC fails, the oven does not heat up at all.

Were GE P-7 ovens more reliable about not cooking their electronics? How was all this handled back then? See this video about the engineer and how they had to keep Project-7 a secret (don't let the kids know!).

She is going to look into getting the bisque GE range, the non-SC one.


Post# 994646 , Reply# 18   5/19/2018 at 14:52 by thomasortega (Los Angeles - CA)        

A couple of weeks ago I got a Kenmore Elite self cleanign oven at Sears Outlet.

New in Box, I don't know why they were selling it at Sears Outlet, full of bells and whistles, like a TOL model. The only thing it doesn't have is the stainless steel top, like most TOL ovens.

All gas, one oven, one triple burner, broiler, electronic control panel, griddle burner, cast iron grates (I loved the design) all glass control panel, meat probe, true convection.

Right on the first day I used the self clean to get rid of the "new oven" smell.

According to the manual, the racks were designed to resist the self cleaning temperatures. I loved that because then I'll never (or almost never) have to clean the racks manually)

No problems at all, except learning all the 20 zillion features the control panel has. i'm still learning, and the user manual is almost like a phone book and I still struggle a little bit (not something horrible as I learn more every time i use it and basic operation and features are very obvious and intuitive)

I can say I am more than happy with that stove. I originally wanted a Samsung and on the very last minute, almost closing the deal on a MOL Samsung model, we decided to leave Sears and go to Sears Outlet "just in case". It was a great surprise to see that model with many features more, a very affordable price and attractive financing options.

My husband was reluctant first, because he insisted I should get the stove I loved and he is more than aware I like the Samsung brand a lot because of the bells and whistles, specially the Wi-Fi.

I just love, love, love my stove. I haven't used it enough to need to self clean it to remove dirt, the first operation was just to remove smell, I selected 4 hours and used only 2 hours.

Anyway, self cleaning cycle is not something we use all the time. I've been using self cleaning for decades and never had an issue with it.

And those steam cleaning cycles come on, that is RIDICULOUS! Use it once and you'll regret so much that you'll never use it again. It makes a mess in the oven and you should be aware that the moment you start the cycle, you must start getting ready to use lots of elbow grease. because when the cycle is done you will have a hot oven with a real mess to clean manually. 


I love it (the aerosol version) to clean baking pans and trays, sometimes even pans. Spray, let soak for 5 minutes, rinse, rinse, rinse, rinse, rinse and just in case rinse again. But never to clean something I can't rinse with lots of water. In the oven, NEVER and nobody will convince me to try.

Post# 994667 , Reply# 19   5/19/2018 at 20:43 by iej (Ireland)        
Self-cleaning and frost free - never had one problem EVER

I've had Bosch frost-free fridges / freezers for years and years and have never had one single problem ever.

Also, I've had a De Dietrich and a Miele pyrolytic cleaning oven and in both cases, never had one problem ever and I use the function regularly. I typically run it anytime I spot the oven's dirty.

There's no way I would use a non-frost free freezer / fridge and I don't think I would find a non-self cleaning over very practical.

Post# 994682 , Reply# 20   5/19/2018 at 23:33 by MattL (Flushing, MI)        

Good grief.  I've had a number of self cleaning ovens since 1973 and have had zero -ZERO- issues with using that function.  i cannot comprehend why anyone would want to clean an oven by hand.  I guess if you don't use the oven then don't bother with self cleaning, but if you use it for anything splatters and such will happen.  I think the stupid "aqua lift " ovens are a joke, would not even consider one of those.

Post# 994689 , Reply# 21   5/20/2018 at 03:58 by superocd (PNW)        

My MOL Whirlpool convection is self-cleaning (AquaLift) and I've never used it. It's supposed to be lower heat to avoid killing the control board but I find it quicker and easier to just wipe it out as needed with Simple Green and hot water. I guess my preferences to keep doing it the old fashioned way is good because some are describing AquaLift as a gimmick.

As far as conventional (hi-temp) self cleaning goes, I remember when my parents ran the self-clean function on their 1990s KitchenAid range and it really didn't do anything except make the kitchen smell like a really bad barbecue, wasting $5 in electricity in the process. It did soften some of the stubborn baked-on crud, but the oven was far from clean after wiping the ash out. My mom wiped the oven in 10 minutes of elbow grease and liquid dish soap mixed with hot water and it looked as good as new.

I'm sure that 15-20 years later the technology has improved, but then I've also heard that the control boards cook themselves. Of course, some people have used self clean since its inception and never had a control board die, but the odds aren't good. One thing to consider is the fact that the earliest self-cleaning ovens didn't have control boards, so the odds were better then than they are now. Mechanical controls are much more forgiving than integrated circuitry. Most manufacturers do not use any safeguards such as fans and heat shields, unlike the GE wall oven described a few posts above.

I would just go ahead and buy a self-cleaning oven and just clean it the old-fashioned way. You might add an extra decade of life to the range/oven doing that way versus running the self-clean cycles; in any case, it will not last nearly as long as an older, non-digital range/oven. If you clean as needed, you can get away with using just soap or Simple Green and hot water, keeping a can of Easy-Off for spritzing the tougher spots. It shoudn't harm the cavity as long as you never run the self-clean function. If you use Easy-Off, rinse it with water.

Post# 994693 , Reply# 22   5/20/2018 at 06:54 by firedome (Binghamton NY & Lake Champlain VT)        
GE P-7 was "analog" if you will...

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and the self-cleaning cycle has never affected the electronics at all that I've ever heard of. There's no electronics to speak of, in the sense of digital chips, microprocessors, displays &c. Just hard wiring, rotary controls, motor timers, mechanical switches, and the like... there's really nothing to fry the way there is in new models. The overall cheap feel of new ranges completely turns me off as well.

Post# 995823 , Reply# 23   5/31/2018 at 16:13 by ea56 (Sonoma Co.,CA)        
I cleaned the oven for the first time in six months

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last night after dinner. I was just going to replace the foil on the bottom, but when I found that there was some leakage under the foil, I decided to just clean the whole oven.

I had some Easy Off on hand, but I didnít want to wait for it to act, and I hate wiping the nasty mess out anyway. So I just went at it with SOS, a Chore Boy SS scouring pad, green scrubing sponge and Bar Keepers Friend. I took off the door and tackled the floor first, then each side separately and finally the back. It took me all of 30 mins, not too bad, considering that I use the oven at least 4 times a week and the broiler 2 to 3 times weekly, and it went thru Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and Easter! I didnít do the racks, but they arenít really very dirty anyway, so Iíll do them sometime later on.

I didnít find the task onerous and I sure didnít miss the fumes and smoke that I would have if I used a self cleaning oven. And its cheap therapy to get out my agressions, LOL!


Post# 999465 , Reply# 24   7/5/2018 at 21:38 by DaveAMKrayoGuy (Oak Park, MI)        

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This is my late-momís self cleaning range that my dad usesóand I mean uses, as in never cleans... and Iíll let you guess which burner no longer works (okay, the large, front, most-used one on the right!)

So, as for the oven which has probably not been cleaned since the brief time years ago when my mom was able to use it, I will let the pictures speak for themselves:

(Bonus features: Grandmaís dishwasher used for storage of stuff no longer fit to use)

ó Dave

  Photos...       <              >      Photo 1 of 6         View Full Size
Post# 999475 , Reply# 25   7/6/2018 at 05:38 by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

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I bought my mother a Caloric self-cleaning gas range with sealed burners in 1992. At the time it was heavier built than anything else from WP, MT, MC, or FD as I checked all of them out. But it did have a lot of square corners, seams, and crannies to catch crap. It served her well for almost 25 years but the oven control started getting wonky and a new board was around $400. I told her to get a new stove so she got a Frigidaire almost like mine. We used the self clean on her old one only a couple of times when it was new but didn't like how hot it made the kitchen. So she just used easy off. Same with her new one and I have never used the clean cycle on mine either. Oven cleaner is fine. I'm not a messy cook and most times I can just wipe out small splatters.

Post# 999529 , Reply# 26   7/6/2018 at 14:37 by cuffs054 (MONTICELLO, GA)        

Dave, was anyone hurt in the explosion?laughing

Post# 999530 , Reply# 27   7/6/2018 at 14:46 by thomasortega (Los Angeles - CA)        


Please NEVER invite me for dinner. LOL

What the hell happened there?

Tip: Bar keepers friend spray and paper towels.

It will take no longer than 5 minutes.

Of course the result won't be perfect, but at least your stove won't look so miserable.

It's not about looking fancy or being a clean freak, it's about safety! Your stove is already a giant fire hazard in your kitchen!

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