A Moron-Proof Microwave? Another Tale From "The Money Pit"; General Electric JVM1400 Microwave Oven

May 28, 2005 (Updated Dec 30, 2006)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Looks nice, powerful exhaust, turntable, oven rack, night light, child lock.

Cons:If a moron installs it beware of a potential fire hazard and sawdust filled food.

The Bottom Line: A nice microwave with tons of features but get it installed by a pro!



As I’ve mentioned in several other reviews, there were items that I really hated leaving behind when I moved. My microwave was one of them. For years I dreamed of having one of those cool over-the-range microwave ovens that didn’t take up counter space, would help pull smells out of the kitchen and would basically “looked cool”. When I started looking for a microwave I settled for a cheap one that would make popcorn and heat up water until I found one that I wanted to have installed over the new stove. I searched high and low until I found one that would fit in the area and had all the features I wanted. I picked out the General Electric JVM1440 because it had the power I needed, features I wanted and it would fit perfectly above the stove. I did end up paying about thirty dollars more for the stainless steel one after the white was destroyed but now that I have had this for a while I really like the way that it looks compared to the white one.

After I purchased the white one I had it installed by a “professional” because I’m done using these fly by night guys that do a half-assed job of things. That was mistake number one. The professional quoted me $55.00 total to install the unit and said it would take no more than an hour to do so. I should have told him to get out when he said he didn’t need to turn off the power in the kitchen to do the hook up; since I am clueless about things like this I assumed that there was some wiring that needed to be done as well as connecting it to the exhaust system that was installed for the stove. My second indication of this persons moron level should have been evident when he asked me if I had insurance. Ummm, that doesn’t seem like a run of the mill question that you just throw out to someone unless you are on the subject. When he was done he asked to be paid in cash and made up an excuse about not having any receipts to give me - that’s when I made him write out exactly what he did, sign it and write down his information and contact phone number. I had a bad feeling about this situation and usually when I get a bad feeling about something it usually ends up costing me money.

I figured it’s only a microwave oven - what harm could it do? I started cooking dinner and figured that would be the perfect time to try things out. I had tossed in a cup of water and heated it while the “professional installer” was there and everything seemed to work fine. I was making hamburgers on the stovetop and heating up fries in the oven; everything was going smoothly then I turned on the exhaust on the microwave and things took a nasty turn for the worse. Sawdust from where the “professional” cut the hole to accommodate the new exhaust line started blowing everywhere - all over the food and all over the stovetop. Dinner was ruined and the little pieces of sawdust were starting to spark and catch on fire. I grabbed the fire extinguisher from under the cabinet and sprayed everything down before it got out of control. When I saw the amount of sawdust that was in the cabinet and the amount that had blown onto the stovetop I wondered what in the hell this guy was sawing - it looked like it was working on some hundred year old tree. Not only was dinner ruined but I was ready to wring his neck.

I called Home Depot and asked them if they had someone there that could come and check out this install job just for my own peace of mind. I finally got someone that said he could come over and look at it but if there were any repairs that needed to be made I’d have to pay them. The person told me that the unit was damaged from behind and that if I continued to use it, chances are it would end up shorting out or burning up. Seems the moron that installed it drilled into the back of the unit. This is something that still puzzled the guy from Home Depot and he told me that if I had this guys information and he was licensed to this, he needed to get reported. When it was all said and done I ended up paying $200.00 for the microwave, $55.00 for the install, $45.00 for the Home Depot house call, $230.00 for another microwave [this time in stainless steel] and $45.00 for the install.

The only reason that I mention all this is to let people know that if you are having this installed by someone please make sure they know what they are doing and that the exhaust system is working properly. I hate to think of what might have happened if I’d turned on the fan and walked away from the stove; there could have been a huge fire in a very short period of time which would have been even worse if I would have had an open flame or just removed a pot from the stovetop. If they are doing any kind of drilling or sawing then please make sure that you Shopvac everything up and give this a trial run when the stove is off. To add insult to injury the second installer told me that there was really no need to do any drilling or sawing, the microwave could have been hooked into the existing line but since it has a recirculating exhaust system the only reason you would need to have it hooked into an existing system is if you plan on using it without the charcoal filtration pads.

[After having another person look at it, it was confirmed that this doesn’t need to be hooked into an exhaust system because it recirculates the air and the optional charcoal pads will help to keep air smelling clear once they are installed.]

General Electric JVM1440 Microwave Oven

This microwave oven has touch pad electronics that guide you though the operations and there is even a demo mode that you can use in case you don’t want to be bothered with reading the manual. There are quick feature buttons that allow you to pop popcorn, boil water and defrost thing according to what they are or their weight. One nice perk to this is the “add” button that allows you to extended the cooking time by thirty seconds while the timer is still working. If you are a microwave popcorn junkie you will appreciate this feature; you will be able to add time to the pop cycle without having it stop then running the risk of burning the popcorn. Another perk is the turntable; you can have it powered off if you are cooking something that is too large to turn completely while the microwave is on. The default is for it to revolve when the unit is powered up so if you are looking something that is too big to move inside it, make sure you press the off button for the turntable.

There are ten power settings; each one is sectioned off for certain type of food but you will need to play around with these settings to find out which one works best for your needs and what you are cooking. Within this myriad of control settings there is one for the child lock feature. This is something that is really nice to have but sort of useless when it comes to this type of unit. Since this is mounted over a stove or range the chances of a child climbing up to use it or get into it are pretty much non existent but there is always a chance. You can set it up to lock automatically after the cycle is done then you have to punch in a code to unlock it. I can see this being a little more beneficial if it were on a counter top version but I guess if you have children in your household this is worth the peace of mind knowing that it comes with the unit. There are also two sets of lights; one is a nightlight and the other lights up the entire stovetop. This is nice if you want to sneak into the kitchen and don’t want to have everyone in the house know you are getting a snack and since it provides a good bit of light, it can be used to cook with instead of having a ceiling light on.

The oven rack is something that perplexes me since this has exposed metal on it. I have never used it because, well, I always thought that metal inside a microwave was a complete no-no. This would be nice if you were trying to cook a lot of stuff at once but that is why microwaves were invented - to cook things quickly so if you shove a ton of stuff in it , it takes longer to cook. This is great if you use a microwave oven on a regular basis to thaw out foods, heat things up or do light cooking. I like this better than the Sharp R-308H Microwave Oven that I had because the inside is larger and it does a great job at steaming vegetables and the fact that I can add on an extra thirty seconds before the timer runs out. If you are wondering about the size of this - here’s the scoop. it’s seventeen inches high, thirty inches wide and fifteen inches deep [these are the external measurements, the inside is smaller due to the control panel and body of the unit]. This should fit above most standard sized ovens and ranges but you will want to measure the space that you have before you buy this as well as the amount of space that there is between the oven and the bottom of the microwave.

This brings up another important thing to consider; you need to have enough room from the bottom of the microwave oven to the surface of the stovetop so that it is safe to use both at once. No one has been able to give me an exact number so you might want to ask someone at Home Depot after you have measured out the area. Once you have measured everything out - get a cardboard box about the size of the microwave and put it above the stovetop. This might sound silly but bear with me for a minute. Now, look at it and see if there is going to be enough space for you to work in while you are cooking. Since the cabinets that are above the stove were smaller than normal I had a couple of extra inches to play around with so this wasn’t a big deal but if I would have went with larger cabinets it would have been a tight squeeze for the microwave and for me to be able to get to all four burners and the issue of safety.

Care & Cleaning

The inside is pretty easy to clean if food splatter or you end up spilling things inside it. The rotating glass turntable can be removed and it is dishwasher safe [so is the oven rack but I’ve never used it]. For cleaning the inside I use the Easy Off Heat Activated Microwave Wipes when it needs a deep cleaning, otherwise I stick with a wet paper towel and try to clean up spills as soon as they happen. The outside is a different story; the white one was nice to look at but after the first day it looked like it had seen a war. When I tried to clean it off it seemed like the dirt smeared all over the place no matter what I cleaned with it. Now that I have the stainless steel one most surface dirt doesn’t show up but you go get greasy fingerprints and splatter from the stovetop if you are frying stuff. I like the way that it cleans up if I use something like Fantastik or an all purpose cleaner.

Warranty

This comes with a one year warranty against defects and workmanship errors. This doesn’t cover any errors that may occur when it is installed or anything that may happen from a bad install so do yourself a favor and have someone who really is a professional install this unless you have prior experience. After the first year is up you are still covered for the tube [Magnetron covers this portion of it] but it only covers the tube so if something else happens to it, you are out of luck. They did offer me an extended warranty for $59.99 but I elected to skip that because after a year if it breaks I’ll buy a new one. I like the fact that this comes with a top to bottom warranty and that if you have to buy replacement parts [turntable, glass dish, shelf] they are available if you break them.

Price

Since I had both the white and stainless steel versions [this also comes in black] I can give you some info about both versions. The white is the basic one and costs about two hundred dollars. If you shop around you can find them for less and some online places have these for as low as $179.99 but they kill you on shipping [this weighs about sixty pounds]. The stainless steel one cost about $230.00 and to me it was worth it because it looks a lot nicer than the white one. It also cleans up easier; the white one got really dirty really quick and in one day it looked like it went from brand new to being in the middle of a war zone. Is it worth it? It has a ton of features but if they aren’t something that you are going to use on a regular basis then go with something that doesn’t have all the bells and whistles.

The Bottom Line

After the initial fiasco with the white one and the thoughts of what could have happened under other circumstances I am glad that I forked out the extra money to have someone else come and look at the install job. I like the fact that this has a night light to it as well as one that lights up the entire stovetop. I don’t use the exhaust system as much as I should because even though I opted to get the charcoal filter for it, I still get a lot of dirt and muck built up in the vents on the top of the microwave from it blowing out the “recirculated” air. You do need to fine tune some of the presets to suit your needs but overall this is pretty easy to get used to and if you sit down and read the manual that comes with it, you’ll be able to make good use of all that this offers. For the price this was one of the better over-the range type built in microwave ovens that had what I wanted. I just wish I didn’t have to deal with Senor Moron when the first one was installed.


As always, thanks for the read!

~^V^~ Freak ~^V^~

© 2005 Freak369


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