Returning My KitchenAid Double Oven Gas Range (Model KFGD500ESS)

TL;DR The broiler routinely turns itself off.

I’ve owned the KitchenAid Double Oven Gas Range for about 30 days. Each day, I’ve cooked two meals. Some went off without a hitch. Every time I turned on the broiler, though, disaster struck. Last night’s salmon dinner was the final straw. I’m returning the double oven. Its broiler is trash. 

Let’s get one thing out of the way. These days, in the United States, the majority of people don’t know what an oven broiler is or what it does. If you never use the broiler, and you are thinking of buying the KitchenAid Double Oven, I personally see no reason not to buy this cooker. I disliked a few of its design features, but I’d gladly have overlooked them if only the broiler worked.

The KitchenAid Double Oven’s broiler regularly turns itself off. It’s also noticeably weaker than a standard oven broiler. I would have accepted its sad, puny output and longer cooking times if only it would stay on after being turned on.

KitchenAid Double Oven broiler
The incredibly weak broiler on the KitchenAid Double Oven. You can see the tiny ovular burn mark on the broiler guard – that’s the farthest the flames have ever reached! The flames are so weak they were barely able to be photographed. I’ll bet they’re not more than about an inch and a half long anywhere along the broiler.
Broiler on a 2016 model Frigidaire range
The broiler on this 2016 model Frigidaire range evenly distributes long, hot flames along the wide broiler guard. This is the type of broiler I expect to see in my new cooker!

Expected Broiler Behavior

The broiler turns on. The broiler shoots flames until I turn off the broiler.

KitchenAid Double Oven Broiler Behavior

The broiler turns on. After three to ten minutes, the broiler turns itself off. After “awhile,” once the food is cold and ruined, the broiler turns itself on again. I did not collect data to determine how long on average it took the broiler to reignite itself. Once, I saw it reignite in just two or three minutes. Other times, it’d stay cold four or five minutes. I’d lose patience waiting for it to reignite, and I’d turn it off and on again myself.

The broiler also turns itself off if the oven door is open “too long.” I did not conduct tests to determine how long the door had to be open to trigger broiler turn-off. Sometimes it seemed to turn off quickly. Other times I took my time flipping food, rotating the pan, and taking temps, and the broiler never turned off.

A Heat Limit, or A Steady Oven Temp?

Naturally, the broiler’s unpredictable behavior led me to believe it was broken. I called the store’s service department. A technician told me that this model has a sensor that turns off the broiler when the oven door is open too long. (No surprises there.)

Additionally, the technician said, the KitchenAid Double Oven has a heat sensor. In order for the machine to protect its electronics, the broiler automatically turns off when it senses 550 degrees in the upper oven that contains the broiler. Indeed, I had noticed the display mysteriously read 550 every time I turned on the boiler.

The display on the KitchenAid Double Oven Model Model KFGD500ESS reads 550 degrees when you turn on the broiler.
The KitchenAid Double Oven display says “550 degrees” when you turn on the broiler.

The technician told me the upper oven, with the broiler on, would likely reach 550 degrees after 10 or 15 minutes. At that point, the broiler was supposed to turn off. In two or three minutes, once the oven cooled a bit, it would reignite itself. Theoretically, the food wouldn’t go cold even when the broiler turned off — it would continue cooking in a nice, hot 550-degree oven.

Pondering this new information, I thanked the repair technician and said goodbye. I supposed that I hadn’t understood why the broiler was turning off, and that’d made me impatient. I should have waited for it to cycle itself on and off as the KitchenAid engineers intended.

Something didn’t add up. If the top oven was a whopping 550 degrees every time the broiler turned off, why was my salmon cold as the grave? How could my skirt steak have completely stopped cooking in a toasty, 550-degree oven?

Which brings me to last night. I decided to broil two sockeye salmon filets. Three minutes after I put them under the broiler, the broiler turned off. Three minutes! Nothing the technician said on the phone explained this! The broiler turned itself off almost immediately upon being turned on!

It occurred to me that the oven was actually pretty damn hot. Was the broiler hot? Hell no. Was the top oven hot? Not even close. However, I had a big pot of water boiling on the front burner. I had another pan on the back burner. And I had the bottom oven on full-tilt. I, the chef, could physically feel that I was standing in front of a very hot cooker.

I began to suspect the conditions in the rest of the oven can easily max out the 550-degree heat sensor limit. At that point, when a wall of heat is already hitting the delicate electronics, the KitchenAid Double Oven wouldn’t really want the broiler on at all. Not even for a couple minutes.

When I thought back on times I’d used the broiler, it’d always stayed on a decent ten to fifteen or more minutes when it was the only element turned on on the entire cooker. As soon as burners or the bottom oven were added to the mix, it began to behave erratically.

I wish I could say that I have a video of a thermometer in the top oven that clearly shows the broiler turning itself off while the oven is nowhere near 550 degrees, but I don’t. I didn’t begin meticulously documenting proofs that the broiler on the KitchenAid Double Oven was trash. I didn’t take the thing apart to find out the actual location of the electronics the heat sensor sought to protect, and speculate further on how that location relates to the operation of the broiler or other elements of this cooker as a whole.

There was no more pretending the KitchenAid Double Oven was okay. I had enough. I called the store and told them to come pick it up. Seeing it outside on the sidewalk, I breathed a sigh of relief.

I’m open to the possibility that my KitchenAid Double Oven’s broiler was, in fact, in some way broken. (Though everyone to whom I spoke seemed to agree that it was working as intended in this particular model of cooker.) Personally, I think the fact that the display shows 550 when you turn on the broiler is completely damning. It screams, “this ain’t no ordinary broiler!” I wish I’d seen that before I bought the cooker.

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