Sunday, August 8, 2010
Converting Your Kenmore Range to Propane
As a service technician (and handyman), I see a few things that are out of the ordinary. Along with fixing heating and cooling equipment, I've worked on dryers, washers and the occasional gas range. Tomorrow, I get to gas pipe a generator, so that one will be fun and if worthy of being written about I'll get to it. This isn't a step-by-step tutorial on how to convert a gas range to burn propane, but to illustrate something that even a few home service professionals aren't aware of. If you choose to use this info, remember that propane, or LP gas is extremely dangerous. It's heavier than air and will explode when concentrated enough and an ignition source is present. Injury, death and/or property damage could result. When in doubt, call a professional or technical support. As an added bonus Sears will not warrant installation damage because they have no control over your work. I don't either. Use this info at your own risk. Call backs are a pain in the rumpus especially when they interrupt one's anniversary night. Friday was the night and a range that I installed and converted for a long time client of mine brought to light the importance of clear and complete instructions. The week prior, I had installed a Kenmore range and converted it to use propane. It involved changing orifices on the cook top and turning the pin on the regulator around. Because propane is heavier than natural gas, the orifices are smaller and the spring pressure on the regulator is different. Leaving natural gas settings in place and using propane will cause the appliance to over fire. This can be unsettling at best and dangerous at worst. Of course using natural gas on a propane set appliance will cause it to under fire , which is annoying. When my client called because her oven had flames a foot over the burner, it was unsettling, and perplexing. After all, I flipped the pin on the regulator, swapped out the orifices for the cook top, etc. I did everything the instructions said to do. This should have been the end of it and my client could be cooking her garlic paste in her brand-new oven. I want to say that my family has used Kenmore products for nearly 40 years and we will continue to do so. I will say that they need to more complete and clear on their instructions with something as potentially dangerous as a gas range. The instructions for setting the burners on the oven AND broiler were supposed to be in a leaflet in the use and care guide. Because this range was a display model, this leaflet was probably gone with the wind. The result was there was no instructions for converting the oven, only the cook top and regulator. Neither I nor the homeowners checked the oven the first time (my bad). This doesn't excuse Sears from their directions, which seem to be in a foreign language with parts missing, but it does bear mention to check everything. Well, here is the "trick" to converting the oven AND broiler, without emailing Sears or trying to call Frigidaire. Remove the door to the oven (read the instructions) and the floor to the oven(there are two screws). Pull out the drawer and set this stuff away from the work area. You'll need a 1/2 inch wrench and a pair of gripping pliers for this. There is a spud (nozzle) that feeds gas to the burner and this is adjustable. It lives under the oven. Tighten this down all the way, at least 2 1/2 to 3 turns with a 1/2 open end or flare nut wrench (do not use a crescent wrench or you'll round off the brass spud). The same story goes for the spud feeding the broiler, but use the gripping pliers (or groove joint pliers) to hold the stationary part of the nozzle steady while you tighten the spud. As per the directions, the oven burner flames need to be about 1 inch high and the broiler flames shouldn't exceed the burner shield. Put the floor, drawer and door back on in that order and turn the oven on for a half hour to burn off the cosmoline. As long as you do everything right, you can roast garlic to your heart's content. Don't forget to invite me for some yummy garlic bread. Maranatha!