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Member Since 27 Feb 2009
Offline Last Active Mar 09 2014 10:02 PM

Topics I've Started

Why do we need ERCs?

02 March 2009 - 10:51 AM

I understand the "advantagess" of a solid state device (ERC), as opposed to simpler mechanical devices, to control something as simple as a gas/range/oven.  These advantages (in no particular order) include being able to start and time your cooking even while you are away, to more efficiently and precisely control cooking temps, to be able to make oven adjustments by pressing a keypad rather than turning mechanical knobs, and to have the convenience of a clock to tell time, etc.

And I would have no beef with these "advantages" were it not for the fact that ERC units often fail and when they do they are a pain to troubleshoot and repair and expensive to replace (often costing 25% of the price of a new oven). Since they are so troubleprone and expensive, I have to question the worth of their supposed advantages. It seems hardly worth it to have an ERC for the reasons stated above. A well-calibrated mechanical thermostat and good oven thermometer will be just as accurate as an ERC with digital temperature output. If you just can't do without being in the house while something is cooking in the oven, or if you are strictly Kosher and can't fiddle with oven controls on Saturday, maybe you really do need an ERC to run your oven. A clock on the wall to tell time and an interval timer with an alarm serve quite as well for those purposes than an ERC Clock.

For these reasons I prefer ovens that eschew the ERC in favor of simpler (and IMHO more reliable) manual controls. There are some modern improvements in stove technology that I do appreciate: electronic ignition, convection fans, sealed burners, and better insulation and burner efficiency. All of these improvements may be had without having to rely on ERCs...

But ERCs are here to stay. I attribute this unfortunate state of affairs to the modern  ethos that has turned us into a society that tolerates "throw-away" appliances, even big ticket items. Remember the days of the neighborhood TV/Radio and appliance repairman? They even made housecalls. When was the last time you took your busted out-of-warrantee TV set to a repair shop?

When will we regain our senses?




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