Thursday, July 26, 2012

How to break quartz with warm water - or warranty adventures with sous vide!

I'm a novice with sous vide, and proud to say that it's my first real DIY electronics project (see Make Magazine's project).  So I'd done a couple of things including the obligatory perfect soft-boiled egg, and decided to go for a tender slow-cooked lamb shank at the end of March, so that I'd have shank bones for a Passover seder.  After 40 hours on my countertop at 62°C, I was alerted to a problem when the woman from the cleaning service points at my sous vide and says "brrrroken?"

To my horror, the solid-surface countertop (DuPont Zodiaq) had cracked about 1/8" at the edge to a hairline right under the sous vide.
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The slow heat of a couple gallons of water on a slab of quartz resin that can't expand equally in all directions caused the whole thing to split through the weakest point, the thin edge by the sink.

I was horrified, thinking this was going to cost me thousands of dollars to replace, plus removing it could crack the tile backsplash and at six years old, replacing the tile might be impossible -- and it wraps around the whole kitchen.  I was relieved to see that the DuPont warranty was 10 years -- and it only mentions "extreme" heat as a non-covered reason (more on that later).

So it took a couple weeks for them to send out their warranty service company (Back to Perfection), who measured, took a pile of photos, and eventually called DuPont, because it was a bigger crack than they'd ever repaired (and they don't actually repair, they just slap some resin on to prevent further splitting).  They said they'd refer it to their claims department and get back to me in a couple weeks.

Three weeks later, they said, "Nope, not covered by warranty because it's heat."  I said "It's only 143°F, that's hardly extreme.  To me, extreme should be taking something out from a broiler or off a stove burner." They thought about it for a minute and said they'd appeal it.  A couple weeks later, they said they'd replace it -- the whole 19' section of my countertop!  It took three months in total to replace it, but they did a smooth job, didn't even crack one piece of the backsplash, sending a licensed plumber to re-attach the sink and faucet and even cleaned up after themselves.

Thanks, DuPont for standing behind your product.

For more pictures of my kitchen (we did a lot of the fit n finish including the floor and wall tile), go to my Flickr photostream.  Lots of pix of food, and the whole construction process.

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