Buying a Used Range

Finding a good used appliance may save the family budget. There is a risk when buying a used appliance. By planning and shopping there will be less of a gamble.

Answer these questions before you shop:

What size range do you need? Measure the space where the range will go. Measure the width and the depth of the space.

Do you want a special color? White is the basic color. Colors may be hard to match with the other appliances in the kitchen. But color may add just the right cheerful touch.

Where should you buy? Some department stores and appliance shops sell repaired, used items. Also, check second hand shops and newspaper ads. Find out the return, repair and refund policies. Will the seller deliver? Will there be an extra charge for delivery?

What type of range do you want? Do you want gas or electric? Your kitchen is usually set up for one or the other. Do you want a self-cleaning oven? This may be easier but may cost more.

Things to watch for when you shop:

If the range is hooked up, test to see that all burners and parts work. If not, check the appliance as soon as possible. Here are some things that should be checked:

  • Are there at least two oven racks?
  • Does the oven door open and close easily?
  • Is it free from scratches, dents, rust, and rough spots?
  • Are all the knobs there and working? Can they be removed for easy cleaning?
  • Is the broiler easy to use? Are the broiler trays there?
How does it work?

Check for these things at the place of purchase. Or check at home as soon as possible:

Electric range: Check the heating elements to see if they all work. Do the baking unit and the broiler unit heat? Does it heat up to the right temperature setting?

Gas range: Does the range top pilot work or does it need to be lighted with a match? Check the flame of each element. Flames should come from each opening and should be all blue. If the flames flicker or have a mixture of other colors, the pilot gas line may need to be cleaned.

Does the oven have to be lighted with a match? An oven that lights just by being turned on is safer.

When you get it home:

Look at the back of the range. See if all the hoses and wiring are in good condition. There may be extra costs for new hoses or fittings. These items can cost from $10 to $20.

The oven and range top may need to be cleaned. There are good all purpose cleaners and oven cleaners for this job. Be sure to follow the cleaning directions on the container.

Prepared by Rhonda Hardy, Consumer and Family Economics Educator, University of Illinois Extension.

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