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Jenn Air S125 Downdraft Electric Range - Broken

September 18, 2011

Hello, I would appreciate any advice. We have a very old electric Jenn Air range with the downdraft between the burners. In the past 6 months one of the prongs that holds on the knobs for the burners broke, and we're down to 3 working burners. We ordered a replacement part for that recently, and just need to figure out how to get the part switched out. However, this past week our oven has gone nuts. Regardless of what temperature we set it, the preheat light never goes off and the oven gets very hot. As an example, I was trying to cook some sweet potato fries and the directions were to cook for 30 minutes at 400. I set the temp at 375 instead and set the timer for 15 minutes to check them and flip if needed. In less than 12 minutes they were totally burned and ruined. We first thought okay, it's time to get a new range. However, we quickly have discovered that trying to replace this unit is not as simple as we had hoped. It seems that nobody makes downdraft electric drop-in units at all anymore. I think we could get a slide-in or freestanding unit perhaps, but then the whole downdraft thing is causing us difficulty. It does not appear that the kind of downdraft we have (I believe it may be called integrated downdraft) is made anymore either. When I search online, I do find some options like something called 'telescoping downdraft', and that is quite expensive (sold separately for around $700) and I have no idea if that will even work with our setup or not. I suppose getting a repair done could be our best option, though I hesitate to continue dumping money into this seriously old appliance! A neighbor told me she believes the unit was original to the house, and it was built in 1979! Online searches lead me to think the problem could be a faulty temperature probe. Does anyone know if that sounds plausible, and if so, would you recommend a repair or just biting the bullet and getting a new appliance, which seems that it will end up being quite expensive. Thanks for any advice! We are confused and frustrated...

Comments (7)

  • live_wire_oak

    You will need to begin planning a kitchen remodel. It may be a "light" one, where you reconfigure some cabinetry and venting to just be able to put in new appliances, or it may morph into a major one. After, all, it's a 1979 kitchen! :)

    The least expensive and best functional change would be to get a new slide in type range and an overhead vent. The next would be to get a cooktop with downdraft that could hook up to the old venting that you have----the ducting, not the motor. You would then have to figure out another location for a wall oven. Ranges cannot be used with popup downdrafts, even though you've probably seen a few idiots on the home channels do this. It moves the downdraft (which is never effective to begin with) too far from what needs to be vented, and you have to void the warranty to figure out how to house the downdraft mechanism that's meant to go under a cooktop.

    Either way, since you seem to have diagnosed your current range issue, continue to DIY patch it until you can accomplish the remodel. If you have to pay labor to repair the range, then plan on doing the remodel sooner rather than later, as labor in a failing Jennair will eat your remodel budget alive and you might as well be spending it on your replacements.

    In the meantime, you'd be surprised at what you can accomplish with a good quality good sized toaster oven and freestanding induction cooktop. Many people purchase those items to get them through the period without their kitchen and end up keeping them in the remodeled kitchen. If money is really tight, that would be the way to go, and just use the piece of junk as counterspace to hold the small appliances.

  • lavendargrrl

    Hello...thanks for your quick response! The entire kitchen isn't from 1979, actually. Apparently the stove is the only remnant :) The rest of the kitchen was remodeled in the late 80s and so it is admittedly dated and we hate it as well. However, the other appliances are newer (about 7 years old when I purchased the home). This range is going to be a big problem, I can see! Our neighbor had replaced their unit several years back with a GE slide in with the same kind of downdraft like ours has. However, I don't believe that GE unit is made any longer, either. We do actually have a nice, and big, toaster over, so that is good at least. Thanks again!

  • oasisowner

    We had the same problem and replaced the old Jenn Air with a new electric smooth top Jenn Air. It is not the best range and the oven never has cooked evenly, but it works.

  • lavendargrrl

    So do you not have a ventilation system in place now, then?

  • oasisowner

    The new Jenn Air smooth top also has the downdraft ventilation between the burners.

  • weissman

    Jenn Air still makes electric ranges with downdrafts built-in but they are slide-in ranges not drop-ins but I'll bet you could get it to fit it without much work. They're the only ones who make ranges with built-in downdrafts. Dacor has ranges that allow for a pop-up downdraft behind the range. All other pop-up downdrafts are only made for cooktops, not ranges.

  • lavendargrrl

    Thanks for the clarification and all the help :)

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