Repair or replace wall ovens

July 10, 2013

QThe door on my conventional wall oven will no longer close completely. The hinges appear to be “sprung” a little. Both this oven and the microwave that came with it are 21 years old, but both are working perfectly well. They are KitchenAid ovens, model KEMI371X for the main oven and KEMI371 for the microwave. However, I have been advised that parts are no longer available, and several appliance stores have said that no one still makes a combo unit that would fit in the narrow space, just 251 / 2 inches wide and 50 inches tall.

In 1997, I had a full kitchen renovation, and the contractors worked around these appliances, which were then fairly new. I love my kitchen, which includes beautiful high-end cabinetry, and definitely do not want a new kitchen renovation. Is there a way to replace these appliances without destroying some of what already exists? Are there companies that specialize in kitchen makeovers that would be willing to send someone to my kitchen to consult on how I can solve this problem in the least damaging way?

Cabin John

AFirst, you might want to see whether it’s possible to just fix the hinge. Joe Kuhnke, who does repairs for M&M Appliance in Washington (202-882-7100; www.mandmappliance.com), suggested giving him a call on his direct number, 202-534-7665. His company frequently replaces old wall ovens, and he scavenges parts from them to make repairs for other customers. “You might get lucky,” he said. If this works, the cost would be very inexpensive. He charges about $50 an hour.

Or, you might be able to buy a new replacement part. A representative of the company that handles parts replacements for KitchenAid (800-955-2373) looked up the parts diagram for your model and said the problem is probably just a sprung spring, a component of Part No. 3178298. KitchenAid no longer makes that part, but a representative at the parts department suggested looking online to see whether someone else still has it. PartSelect (www.partselect.com) shows it in stock, at $74.43. The company’s Web site includes a diagram of your model with all the part numbers called out. The piece you need is labeled Part 28.


An oven that needs replacement parts. (Reader submitted photo)

If neither of these easy fixes works, the next-best solution is probably to replace your ovens. Under the GE, Kenmore, KitchenAid and Whirlpool brands, you can find 24-inch-wide double wall ovens that call for a cutout of 221 / 2 to 231 / 2 inches wide by 48 to 493 / 4 inches high. So any of these would probably slip right in. If gaps remained, you could cover them with trim. But these appliances all have two standard ovens; you’d lose the microwave.

If you don’t want to give up that feature, consider installing a 24-inch-wide single wall oven and reconfiguring the space above so that it has a shelf where you can put a regular microwave. Frank Rexach, an appliance specialist at the Home Depot store in Bethesda, said this is a common solution. But he cautions that it involves a bit more than hiring a carpenter or handyman to reconfigure the cabinet. You’d probably also need an electrician, because your existing ovens almost certainly operate off a single 240-volt circuit. A new wall oven could plug right in, but an independent microwave needs a standard 120-volt outlet, which the electrician would need to add.

I read your May 23 column about repairing cracked leather cushions on a sofa seat. I have two very nice bar stools with tears in the leather seats. Where in Washington can I get these reupholstered in leather? Your earlier column suggested a company in Manassas, but I’d rather not have to drive there.

Washington

Here are a couple of options: D’Carlo Home Interiors at 7327 Georgia Ave. NW (202-722-0749; www.dcarlohomeinteriors.com) and Woodridge Upholsterers at 2308 Rhode Island Ave. NE (202-529-6220; www.woodridge
upholsterers.com
).

The price varies depending on whether only the seats need to be recovered or the chairs have backs that also might need to be recovered so they match. D’Carlo charges $70 to $150 per chair, plus the cost of the leather. A representative at Woodridge said that company gives estimates only after seeing the pieces, either in person or via an e-mailed photo.

Have a problem in your home? Send questions to localliving@washpost.com. Put “How To” in the subject line, tell us where you live and try to include a photo.

The Checklist Read Jeanne Huber’s roundup of home-improvement tasks you should tackle in July, such as clipping back branches, at washingtonpost.com/home.

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