It's time for another BlueStar update. It's been 6 months since I bought this pro-style range. It took months of research and sleepless nights to make this decision. If you are not in the market for a range, you'll probably find this post very boring. Come back in about a week when I'll post something yummy.
Let me start with the good news. I have never had to change my dinner plans or cancel a class due to the range becoming completely dys-functional. The range also cooks and bakes exceptionally well. The stove top gives me control from the lowest low to very high and everything in between. The oven bakes evenly and holds heat well. The convection fan gives me that extra boost of browning when I need it.
Now the bad news. The reliability has been atrocious.
In my last post, I mentioned the jet engine noise the oven made after being on for about 30 minutes at high temperature (400F or higher). The first service call from Vesco (the only service company I am allowed to use if I don't want to null and void my guarantee) blamed it on the propane company. They wouldn't even stay long enough to reproduce the problem and their propane pressure meter was broken, but they said it can't possibly be the range. My propane pressure is likely dropping sometimes, causing the noise, they said. The propane company came and did a ton of tests and reproduced the problem several times. It was not the pressure at all. It was the range. I was lucky they took pity on me and didn't charge me for the long service call that turned out to not be their fault at all.
One good thing about BlueStar's terrible reliability is that it puts you in touch with long lost friends. I got an e-mail from Mark, who was my partner at CIA (Culinary Institute of America), and he said he just bought a BlueStar too and it was making the same noise. He was googling for this issue and came across my blog. What BlueStar said to both of us is that the pipe that sends propane to the stove gets warped out of alignment when the oven heats up. This results in propane igniting in the wrong place and making very loud noise. Luckily, they had a solution handy -- a small piece of metal to keep the pipe in place. The Vesco guy came out, put it in place and the noise stopped. Why don't they put it on all their ranges to begin with? That piece of metal couldn't possibly cost more than $10.
All was well in my kitchen until around December (4 months after I bought the range). The door started sticking. I heard about this happening and googled for a solution. EuroStoves, who is a big BlueStar retailer, and the leading expert on it, explained in one of its instructional videos that you should spray the hinges with Pam every once in a while to keep the door operating smoothly. I tried Pam. It helped. But a week later the door was getting badly stuck again. I kept spraying it with Pam (at some point, I had to do it every 2 days). And one day, I couldn't open the door at all to get something out of the oven. After turning the oven off, and pulling for 5 minutes, the door finally opened. But as you can imagine, that's not a very good situation to be in. I called BlueStar. They said they'll send me a new door. They said they have a better design now that prevents the hinges from overheating and deforming (my left hinge was in pretty bad shape). Now the door has ventilation holes not only on top, but on the sides too.
A month later, the new door finally arrived and got installed. Meanwhile, it was a lot of Pam, tagging, and pulling. I asked to get a year guarantee on the new door. It's only been in existence for 1 year, and they said most people don't have any problems with doors for 1-2 years. Considering their quality assurance record, I thought I should at least get 1 year guarantee. They said it's only 90 days or until my regular guarantee runs out (which is in August 2010). After that, they claim they've been sending free doors to customers who have problems up to 4 years, but won't cover the installation. It's hard to say whether that was a real guarantee, or just some temporary policy. If I didn't use my oven 5 times as much as normal cooks, I'd be worried. But I am hoping I'll start seeing problems if any before August 2010 since I use the oven every day.
I wonder what they'd say if I started having door problems after my regular 1 year guarantee ran out? I might be on my own, which would be very costly. The door is around $500, plus $125 for installation.
Hope this post was helpful to all you guys who've been contacting me with BlueStar questions. By the way, if you need a good contact at BlueStar, it's Eric. Calling the general number is useless. If you need his direct number, send me e-mail. I don't feel it's right to just post it on the web. Good luck and I feel your pain!