Replacing my Viking range
We bought this house 6 years ago and it came with a Viking range. I was so excited thinking I was getting a great appliance. It took me 6 months to realize the oven can't hold a temp. Fast forward to now. I can only open the oven door a foot. The hinges hang up.
We have plans on doing a kitchen remodel within a couple of years which included replacing the crapola Viking. Now we just hope to replace the Viking now and include the new range in the remodel because we figure the repairs will be more than $500.
The Viking is 36". Can I just go out and get a new 36" range from a different manufacturer? Is there anything else I need to consider?
S.M., I read a lot of reviews on e-pinions .com before remodeling and there were few kind words for Viking and especially for their warranty/customer service. We settled upon Dacor and have been happy ever since. Dacor offers a duel-fuel range that has a gas broiler and electric oven--a winning combination. Their pure electric ovens are also excellent. (As are their microwaves.) Most of my friends who have Viking appliances are now one a suicide watch and my turn is Sunday night.
Size/dimension-wise, yes, any other 36" would go right in. The fuel source could be an issue. If it's gas it should hook right up. If it's electric or dual fuel not so much. In that situation, the dedicated electrical circuit requirement might not be the same size from range to range. (I'm actually not sure if all 36" dual fuel ranges would want the same size circuit or not, but it's possible they do.)
Also keep in mind that some ranges are picky about the supply (gas and/or electric) being in exactly the right spot for it to sit flush to the wall, so there's the potential for that to be a headache. IME this is particularly true of pro-style ranges. Unfortunately you need to dig pretty deep into the mfgr specs to figure out the supply location requirements, and even then you still might not know exactly how it's going to play out until you have the thing there. I would at least move your existing range out and measure exactly where the supply comes in so you have that for reference. Which is not to say you're not going to have to move the supply...
A good appliance specialty store should be helpful with all of this. A general goods kind of store like Sears or Best Buy, probably clueless.
If the replacement range is a dual-fuel type, in which the oven is heated electrically, you will need a fairly hefty branch circuit receptacle behind the range - probably a 40-ampere branch. Pull the range away from the wall slightly, and look for a large three-prong receptacle which looks like or may be the same as an electric dryer receptacle. While looking, you should also see the gas nipple to which the flexible gas line is connected. Generally what you will see is an iron pipe with a gas shutoff knob, to which a flexible gas appliance pipe is connected. That arrangement for the gas supply is pretty much universal, and there is a variety of connector parts that can be used to adapt to your new range. Generally, it is wise to replace the flexible gas pipe connected to the range when the range is replaced.
Now, an alternative thought - a replacement range of similar capabilities to your Viking will cost thousands of $$'s . If you are on the east coast, in the NY/NJ/PA area, the distributor for Viking is Carl Schaedel in north Jersey. They may be able to recommend a decent service provider who can replace the hinges (this requires taking the side skins off the range, but it isn't really too hard to do). The oven temp problem is generally simple to remedy - there are two glo-bar igniters which glow continuously when the oven is lit. Unfortunately, the ceramic material they are made of is unbelievably fragile, and also deteriorates in the flame heat (this is true of ALL glo bar igniters). So the ignitors can break, or deteriorate. AS they deteriorate, they prevent, increasingly as they age, the gas valve from opening fully - so the oven heats up slower and slower, If one if broken, the oven will never reach its highest temperature. This design, by the way, provides a safety in that it is impossible for the gas valve to open unless the gas can be ignited - so the oven can't explode if the ignition system isn't working right. If you have access to a handy soul, the replacement parts are not very expensive and can be purchased from various web stores or even from the distributor parts department. The oven igniters are about $40 each from the distributor, perhaps double that from a local appliance store. They are supposed to be replaced about every three to five years. Weigh the relative costs and benefits. The Viking range, although rife with problems, provides four very large burners which heat fast. I have never seen another gas range with all four burners of the same high capacity. And, the burners can be lowered to a very very low simmer level - most ranges will require u to move the pot or skillet to a separate simmer burner. When the oven is working, and properly leveled, the oven cavity in the Viking is generally much larger than similarly priced ranges, and the oven generally heats uniformly (and if leveled, will produce cakes that are not sloped to one side!). So, I have had a lot of things to repair on mine, and i have griped about those things, but, i have always bought the parts and installed them myself, which has kept repair costs in line. And, truthfully, (quality aside) I haven't seen nearly the burner capacity and oven cavity size in any other range i have looked at.
Thanks for the replies. I bought a 6 burner dual fuel Wolf at a warehouse sale last Saturday. They delivered it and hooked it up yesterday. Unfortunately, I won't get to do a ton of cooking with it until next week because most of my family is heading out of town today.
It is lovely and clean though.
While the OP has already replaced the Viking hopefully they kept it to sell and didn't let the delivery guys take it away so they could sell it for a few thousand. ;)
The Viking hinges can be oiled. That problem could have most likely been fixed...for free. Viking does offer a HD hinge (under $100).
The igniters are ceramic and will wear over time. They are cheap ($25-45) and easy to replace. This range probably could have been fixed for under $200 by a handy person.
Nearly every range of this style is made the same. You just swap one set of trade offs for another with different brands. The beauty of these products is that they are designed to be repaired instead of discarded and parts have really come down in price over the last few years.