Whether you’re replacing a stove that has given up the ghost or updating an existing model, there are a lot of considerations that should factor into your purchase decision. As a major appliance that may last 10 years or more, a stove can be a costly and important investment, particularly if you’re a serious cook or you are thinking about selling your house in the near future, in which case you want the best possible model. Before you fall down the rabbit hole at the appliance store, think ahead about what you need.
One place to start is whether you are prepared to make modifications to your kitchen to accommodate your stove. If you’re renovating anyway, that may provide a chance to put in a major upgrade. If you’re not, think about issues like existing stove hookups, ventilation systems, and stove space, because these can all determine which model you buy.
Stoves come in both electric and gas models. Many people prefer gas because it offers superior temperature control, instant response, less waste heat, and great heat for searing and similar activities. Others like electric because it can sometimes offer more even oven temperatures as well as more energy efficiency with models specifically designed to be environmentally friendly. Generally, if you want to appeal to cooks, install a gas stove.
If you have existing gas hookups, buying another gas model makes sense. If you have to convert to put in a gas stove, be aware that it can get expensive. Sometimes, making modifications to switch from electric to gas or vice versa can open up a can of worms; opening up the wall to put in the new stove plumbing, for example, may lead to the discovery that you have problems with electrical or other systems that will need immediate attention of a plumber or electrician.
Ventilation is critical. If you don’t have a stove hood or other ventilation system in place, you should consider installing one. It can cut down on odors and reduce the risk of fire. Be aware that if you upgrade to a larger stove or one with high-heat burners, a grill, or a griddle, you may need to install a bigger ventilation system, which can also add to the expense. This might be a tradeoff you’re willing to make in the interest of cooking a wider range of foods or appealing to prospective home buyers, but make sure to get an estimate before you plunge in.
Finally, space can be an important thing to think about. Many traditional ranges including a cook top and oven are designed to fit in standardized spaces at the counter or in the kitchen. If you get a bigger or smaller model, it could force you to redesign your kitchen. If you upgrade to a separate cook top and wall oven, this can require an expensive retrofit to accommodate all your new equipment. Measure your existing space and think about how you utilize it before you give up precious kitchen real estate for a new stove.
Some cooks may be tempted by commercial stove models because they look impressive and appeal to people interested in having gourmet kitchens. It’s a good idea to rethink that plan. These stoves are designed for heavy, high-capacity use in commercial kitchens, not for home use. They require special ventilation and hookups or you could run the risk of fire and other problems in the kitchen. There are some great midrange stoves that are designed for serious home cooks and chefs that won’t break the bank, and will provide features similar to those offered by a commercial stove.
If you are putting your home on the market, you might want to talk with a real estate agent or home stager about a kitchen remodel to determine what’s popular in your area, and which modifications you can make to create the most appealing kitchen package for buyers. The right kitchen can clinch a deal, while buyers may be turned off by a kitchen they have to remodel. Don’t make the mistake of investing in kitchen equipment that won’t fit the bill!
s.e. smith writes discusses HVAC contractors in San Francisco and other home topics on Networx.com.