Dear GE, Your Cafe Series Range Has Been Leaking Gas Into My House

Below you'll find a message to GE. I'm posting this to warn people about the Cafe Series (CGS985SET5SS) range I purchased and also about (what I think is) GE's lack of responsiveness to a very dangerous hazard. Please share with anyone who has this range or is considering buying a new range. I don't care about page count, publicity, or anything like that, I care about what COULD have happened to my kids and COULD happen to someone else...

Hey, GE, remember me? The lady who called about the two ranges of yours that were leaking gas into her house? Of course you don’t, because you never took the time to call me back and learn about it.

So, let me back track. I was dazzled by your Café series (CGS985SET5SS). The bells and whistles, the beautiful, sleek, professional look all attached to the name GE with a big red ribbon on it. I was creating my dream kitchen under high stress (hours notice), so I chose your products (range, fridge, dishwasher, and convection microwave) and built the rest of the kitchen around it. It was love at first sight when the appliances were delivered in late October.

And then I used the oven. The first time I actually cooked something in the kitchen the smell of gas was so strong you could smell it outside. How do I know this? Because I was hosting family for dinner and they smelled it on the driveway. So, I called our gas company whose tech arrived immediately. His meter went nuts and he turned off gas to the range. Yikes. I called our retailer who insisted this was the first issue they’d had with this unit and offered to send us a replacement. I agreed, figuring I was just the unlucky person who received the defective stove.

Then I used the new stove and I smelled gas… again. And again. And again. The gas company came out twice. They couldn’t figure out what the problem was, as their meters weren’t showing anything. They suggested I open the windows, that since they were new there wasn’t enough air flow. It was getting increasingly worse, so I started avoiding using the stove. Except for Thanksgiving when I made a full meal and had to open the windows to air out the kitchen (as had been advised by a confused gas company technician). My mom called me at work one day and told me she had tried making the kids dinner and it got so bad she could taste gas and we had no choice but to address it... AGAIN.

So, the next day my husband and I decided to figure it out on our own. We started the oven… No gas smell. It heated to 350, we both walked into the kitchen, and – BAM – hit a wall of gas. We turned it off. Then set it to 325 and tried again. Nothing. So, we opened the windows and called the gas company.

The gas company showed up and the two of us explained everything we knew about the problem, including our suspicion that gas leaks when the oven tries to maintain temperature at 350 or higher. He turned on the oven. Nothing. And then it hit 350 and within a few minutes his little meter starting beeping, went red, and basically did all of the things to alert us to the fact that we had a big gas issue in our kitchen.

“You've got a major problem here. This is crazy. You’re lucky you didn’t blow up your house,” he said. Hear that, GE? Because the “customer care” guy I spoke with yesterday morning didn’t seem to think it was a big enough deal to put me on with his supervisor. He told me I was now in a cue, which I apparently remain in as I await a call 24+ hours later.

But I digress... The guy from the gas company was shocked. We were shocked. The reality is: we were putting ourselves and the kids in an incredible amount of danger when we used that stove. Our retailer gets it. Apparently I’m not the only person who has complained about this very issue. And I have been assured they REMOVED THE RANGE FROM THEIR FLOOR until you figure it out, GE. But no recall yet. Both the gas company technician and my retailer confirmed that the range “spews gas” (their words, actually, not mine). Yet, you haven't put anything out there to warn people, GE. Why?

My retailer asked their GE specialist to call me A WEEK AGO. I have not heard from him. I called your customer support line yesterday to see what your recommendation on my next steps should be and to learn of any plans of addressing this hazard. Because, you know, I’m hoping other families who have this stove have a keen sense of smell. And, you know, I’d like to make Christmas cookies with my kids at some point this year. But, GE, you haven't called me back. In your defense, you did warn me it could take up to 48 hours. (By the way, GE, this is not a busted knob… THIS IS A SERIOUS ISSUE. And I was totally open to staying with GE yesterday and finding a different model if you could have assured me it was not a safety hazard, but guess what?!?! Too late.) You're apparently more than happy to send out one of your technicians, but I can’t speak with someone who can actually answer questions.

I'll be waiting by the phone, GE. You just get back to me when you have a chance.

Disclaimer: This is my opinion, based on what I experienced with two ranges, information obtained from GE, my retailer, our gas company (four technicians), and lots of internet searching for answers. Clearly, I was not compensated in any way for this post. And - luckily - there have been no physical injuries, just mental and emotional distress to me and Matt -- and the two grandmothers who have been in tears over what could have happened.


Alena Belleque said...

Oh my goodness! :'( I'm so sorry this happened to you. I hope the issue is resolved soon!

Josh Kirschner said...

It looks like GE discontinued this model a couple of years ago and replaced it with a new model (I could be off on the dates). Were you aware of this when you bought it from your kitchen appliance salesman?

Check Amazon and Consumer Reports and other consumer ratings before picking your next model - this one was slammed in the ratings.

Still doesn't excuse the quality issues or GE's response.

Nicole Andrews Moore said...

Crazy. So glad you are all safe. Huge hugs and much support.

John M said...

I have the same model and I am getting the same response from GE.

Joanne Lessner said...

Just curious what ever happened for you. I have the same oven and a month ago I noticed a gas smell every time I opened the door baking at 350. The GE tech said that was normal; reigniting to keep it at that temperature. But then yesterday I was baking at 375 with the kitchen window closed and smelled gas in the house. They're coming back tomorrow, but given your experience (and mine from last time, which was clearly incorrect) I'm not optimistic that they'll isolate and/or fix the problem.

Heather G said...

I have the same model and same issue... just bought mine about 3 months ago. Wish I had known to look for this issue before I purchased it!

Anonymous said...

Oh yes. I had the same gas leak in the oven apparently from the faulty control valve. Had it replaced 3 times. The fourth time I told GE I wanted a new range. They agreed to send a new range for another $1000 which we paid because we didn't want this hazardous range any longer. We got the new range and guess what, same gas leak problem. I am trying to resolve this with GE. I do not want another GE gas range. My gas tech said he sees this problem with many GE gas ranges not just the Cafe like mine. In the mean time back to the grill and crock pot for the usual several week timeframe it takes GE to actually do anything.

Joanne Lessner said...

Okay--I got mine fixed and I know what it is now! It's the air shutter. I had a really knowledgeable tech who explained it to me and it's a very simple fix. It's not a gas leak--if it were an actual leak, you'd smell it all the time. It just requires an adjustment. Basically, the air shutter isn't open wide enough, so the gas isn't being balanced by the proper amount of oxygen. They need to take off the door, take out the bottom of the oven to get to the burner and there are actually two air shutters. One of mine was open the proper amount: about an inch (it's a one-inch squarish opening in the middle of a bolt, if that makes any sense.) But I could see that the other shutter, the one right on top of the burner, was open only about a half-inch. He unscrewed it, made the opening larger, and then re-screwed it and put everything back together. And now it's fine! It's one of those things where you have to be lucky enough to get the one guy who's come across this before. My guy knew what it was as soon as I explained it. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the info on the repair. Serviceman is coming tomorrow, l hope! At any rate there is a real problem with these GE gas ranges and they need to recall the ranges out there with this problem. If you want a recall to happen everyone that has a defective range needs to call the Consumer Product Saftey Commision at 800-638-2772 and file a complaint. They are the people who can make a recall happen if they get enough complaints. Talking to GE's consumer advocates is fruitless. For the record, the GE gas Cafe range is rated second in the 2013 consumer report, so much for that.

Joanne Lessner said...

Well, I spoke too soon. It was fine that day and the next few times afterward, but I'm baking again now at 375 and even with the kitchen window open I smelled gas as soon as I walked in. On the phone requesting my third GE service call. And I really thought we'd fixed it. Sorry for the false hope.

Anonymous said...

We bought a GE Cafe last year ... same problem as you .. the strongest smell was some chemical that had to burn off (and did) after 3 self cleaning cycles. However we have had nightmare after nightmare regarding the gas smell and other issues. I am considering posting a blog myself regarding this issue and the customer service I have been receiving. For $3500 you would definitely expect better.

Anonymous said...

The last post was mine. After MANY headaches with GE repairman, PC Richards , working with GE figured out a design flaw in the oven. It seems that the insulation that ships with the oven is too thick and blocks proper oxygen flow to the oven ... Causing gas to pool inside before reaching an ignition point. The fix was simple ... A thinner piece of insulation that allowed for better oxygen flow. The GE part number is WB35K10054.

The oven now works great and there is ZERO gas
smell while in use. We are very happy with this range now.

Kasia Zahiri said...

This has been such a helpful post to read! Thanks everyone!

I thought I was going crazy - I recently bought a home with the same GE Cafe gas range stove and I couldn't get over a faint smell of gas around our stove. I've spent a couple of hundred bucks on technicians who came in and were not able smell or to locate a leak.

The most recent comment above gives me some hope - if this is a insulation issue, I will go ahead and order the part asap.

Has anyone gone ahead with this fix and noticed an improvement?

Anonymous said...

I replaced the insulation with part WB35K10054 as suggested in the comments. I can confirm that this resolved the gas leak issue I was having with my GE Cafe series oven. The part did not come with instructions and it was rather tricky figuring out how to properly install it.

It took about an hour and 15 minutes to install it, with much cursing :) But now that it's done, we no longer have a faint gas smell in our house when we run the oven.

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