Hot Topics: Override Gas Stovetop Locks During Power Outages

gas burner on a stove lit in the dark

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Original Post: Override autolock on gas stovetop during power outage?

Bham45 - Member

This is a Kenmore gas range. I found someone had asked the same question on the "Shop Your Way" website and never got a decent reply.

We've been wondering how we could use our stovetop during a power outage since it's got electric ignition. The manager of our local gas utility came out to show us how to do it and we were thinking, "Terrific! We're all set for the next power outage."

Wrong. We had a power outage a couple weeks ago at dinner time and tried to use his method--but no gas at all. We finally realized the darn thing has an autolock that engages whenever the electricity goes out. Not sure why that is.

Anyway, is there any way around it? A way to disable this autolock?

What kind of range would you have to buy in order to be able to cook without power? Do they even make anything other than a camp stove you can do normal cooking on? We don't live out in the country so a wood-burning stove wouldn't work for us.

Baldwin - Member

"We've been wondering how we could use our stovetop during a power outage since it's got electric ignition."

You said stovetop, I'm wondering if you meant oven? I just unplugged mine and I can light the top burners with a match. If you meant oven then no, the igniter has to be hot before the gas valve will open.

From my manual (I think this pertains to the oven although it doesn't say so):

For electric ignition models only: Do not attempt to operate the range during a power failure. If the power fails, always turn off the range. If the range is not turned off and the power resumes, the range will begin to operate again. Once the power resumes, reset the clock and oven function.

Further down it says:

In the event of an electrical power outage, the surface burners can be lit manually. Use caution when lighting surface burners manually. To light a surface burner, hold a lit match to the burner head, then slowly turn the surface control knob to LITE. After burner lights push in and turn knob to desired setting.

I bought this Kenmore this past winter.

Bham45 - Thread Starter

Yes, I meant the stovetop, not the oven. The method described is what we attempted to do, but it was dead. No sound of gas at all. Ours is probably 12 years old now, so maybe that's an update that allows you to use the stovetop in a power outage. Utilities guy told us to put masking tape over the knobs as a reminder to never turn them on without having the flame ready first. Just makes you stop and think. He said the biggest danger is to your eyes.

AHHH!!! I just got out the instruction manual and it says exactly what yours says about being able to use it in a power failure. BUT then there's a box below for "Cooktop Lockout (on some models)". And guess what on these models?--OURS--"the surface burners cannot be activated until power is restored." If I weren't a lady, I'd say something not nice right now.

WHY would anyone want that as a feature? It was a single woman who had this house built and purchased the appliances--not like she had to worry about kids.

Guess I'm looking for a new gas range...

ray2047 - Member

Not ideal but you could use a car battery and an inverter. One of the pros more familiar with stoves would have to say how big an inverter.

PJmax - Group Moderator

There really isn't an "autolock" per se. There is a gas solenoid that needs power to open.

No power = no gas.

Baldwin - Member

If she had a burner on say medium when the power goes out and she forgets it, when the power returns will that solenoid open and fill the house with gas?

PJmax - Group Moderator

No.... her range should also have active re-ignition where if the flame goes out.... the spark module will relight it.

I could tell for sure with the complete model number.

Bham45 - Thread Starter

Here's what I've got: 665.75023102 Serial RP2816196

Bham45 - Thread Starter

If you're not having any luck with that number I gave, take off the 102 at the end. So 665.75023.

Baldwin - Member

Looks like it will remain locked out until you unlock it so no worry about getting blown up.

If the product loses power, the appliance will automatically go into the lockout position. The surface burners cannot be activated until power is restored and the Cooktop Lockout is disengaged.

Bham45 - Thread Starter

But that also means we can't cook anything in the event of an extended power outage.

As a kid in the Chicago suburbs, we had extended power outages with the occasional blizzard. My mom managed to put food on the table without blowing us up.

ray2047 - Member

As I said simplest is to use an inverter and a car battery. That will probably give you at least an hour of cooking time. Last resort you can use your car (engine on) to recharge the battery.

Handyone - Member

"WHY would anyone want that as a feature? It was a single woman who had this house built and purchased the appliances--not like she had to worry about kids."

I doubt that anyone would go shopping for such a feature, it just happens to be an integrated safety factor that most would be unaware of.

I have had several occasions where I accidently rotated a cooktop gas knob without realizing it until smelling gas, usually during a vent hood or microwave installation.

I would recommend a propane camping stove for use during power outages. An appliance capable of shutting off the gas supply when it senses the gas will not be ignited is a good thing.

ray2047 - Member

Is your clothes dry gas? If it is and there is room in the laundry room you could set up a two burner natural gas hot plate branching off the dryer connection for its gas.

PJmax - Group Moderator

This is a Whirlpool built appliance. GE has a way to open the valve during a power failure but Whirlpool does not.

"it just happens to be an integrated safety factor that most would be unaware of."

I service appliances and I personally haven't come across one of the big name brands that has that. Bosch and some of the expensive brands have similar valves.

From Sears.....

The Cooktop Lockout prevents unintended use of the surface burners. When the cooktop is locked out, the surface burners cannot be turned on by the control knobs. The cooktop will remain locked after a power failure if it was locked before the power failure. If the product loses power, appliance will automatically go into the lockout position. The surface burners cannot be activated until power is restored and the Cooktop Lockout is disengaged.

To Lock/Unlock Cooktop:

Before using, turn all control knobs to OFF. Press and hold the TOP keypad for 5 seconds until a single tone and "Loc on" will appear on the display. After 5 seconds, "Loc On" will disappear from the display, and a picture of the cooktop will appear. Repeat to unlock cooktop. "Loc OFF" will appear on the display for 5 seconds and the picture of the cooktop will disappear from the display.

Handyone - Member

"it just happens to be an integrated safety factor that most would be unaware of."

I may have sounded like the feature could be overridden during a power failure, not my intent.

I need to sign up for English classes after 57 years of trying.

Furd - Member

"I need to sign up for English classes after 57 years of trying."

Brian, you do just fine with your writing. It is mostly the under thirty crowd that has utterly atrocious communication skills. I blame the schools for their "Well, you tried and that's good enough" policies as well as the (in my opinion) stupid texting of everything.

PJmax - Group Moderator

I didn't get that from what you wrote Brian.

I just wanted to confirm that there is no way to disable it.

Bham45 - Thread Starter

I don't know how to tell who is replying to what post so I'm a bit confused. This is a reply to PJ Max post #15

Yes, we do that after every power outage. Are you saying we would be able to do that with no power? I wouldn't think it would work.

When you say "I personally haven't come across one of the big name brands that has that." What is "that"? The ability to override the lock? The lock itself?

I'm not opposed to getting a new stove--but not a high end one. I wonder if any salesman could even tell us if the stovetop is operable in a power outage.

Bham45 - Thread Starter

To Ray #14, that's a possibility. We'd need a handyman friend of ours to show us how to do that.

Safe enough to set the stove on the washing machine and cook there? There isn't a whole lot of room in there.

And about the inverter and car battery. I don't think we could figure that out ourselves at all. (We keep telling our handyman friend that we need to move next door to him.)

ray2047 - Member

"Safe enough to set the stove on the washing machine and cook there?"

There are quick-connect hoses made for gas barbecues that might work. Examples:

Amazon.com: AZ Patio Heaters Natural Gas Hose, Quick Connect, 10 Feet: Patio, Lawn & Garden

Amazon.com: Mr. Heater 12 Foot Natural Gas and Propane Gas Hose Assembly 3/8' Female Pipe Thread x 3/8" Male Flare Quick Disconnect: Automotive

The inverter is really easy to do. We could even walk you through it. Post over in the electrical forum if you want help with that.

You should be aware though nothing I have suggested would probably cost less than $150. Is having a way to cook that important?

Baldwin - Member

Being curious and not wanting to cut the grass I looked up a few models.

-Kenmore (5 models cheapo to high end)

All say you can light surface burners during a power outage.

-Whirlpool (3 models)

Although you can lock out the key pad, all say you can

light surface burners manually during a power outage.

Appears to me the lockout solenoid of years ago is gone, at

least the ones I looked at.

Will the sales person know? Good question, best to look it up yourself usually

looking under "setting surface controls".

Good luck.

Bham45 - Thread Starter

Well, we live in an area that rarely gets snow but people have told how before we moved here they had a storm that knocked out power for 2 weeks. We DO get severe storms that can knock out power for several days. Many neighbors have whole-house generators. $150 or so is a bargain in comparison.

Basically, I just decided to check out the FEMA home preparedness recommendations and they're pretty overwhelming. I figured if we could just use our stovetop in an emergency that would be one good thing we could do.

Bham45 - Thread Starter

Thanks Baldwin, for putting my question ahead of your grass-mowing. :-) Really good to know that it's possible to avoid the lockout issue.

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