Gas Appliances Q & A

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What You'll Need
What You'll Need

Q. I have a near-new Kenmore stainless gas grill. I just moved to a home that does not have gas outdoors. I bought a propane tank and converter for it and hooked it up properly. The grill ignites, but the flames are very low, and I cannot get the temperature above 200 degrees. What can I do?

A. Most likely there are spider webs inside the burner orifices. The only positive way to correct that type of problem is to remove the burners first. Then unscrew the brass or bronze orifices, which are screwed onto the gas valves and the back end the burners slip onto. Once that is done, clear out the orifices. Do the same to the gas valves while the orifices are removed.

Once that is done, screw the orifices back onto the gas valves. Be sure to first close the orifices until they just bottom out. Note how many turns inwards it took to bottom them out. Then take them off. To reinstall the orifices, screw them back on until they bottom out lightly. Then turn them outwards the same number of turns it took to bottom them out. Doing so will help ensure they are turned out about the same number of turns as they were prior.

Q. No matter how high a heat setting I use on my dryer, it takes 20-50 minute cycles to dry even the smallest amount of clothes. Any ideas why my clothes do not dry at normal settings?

A. Drying is all a matter of heat and airflow. If you are missing one or the other, you cannot dry anything. The fact that you can eventually dry your clothes means it has something to do with airflow. Your vent is most likely restricted or plugged up.

The vent should be four-inch vent all the way to the outside and the vent outside has to be big enough also. Never use flexible plastic vent on a dryer — it just causes lots of problems. Use ridged flex aluminum or ridged four-inch elbows and straight vent pipe to vent your dryer. The dryer vent should not exceed forty feet in length. Each 90-degree elbow equals five feet of the vent.

Most often the flexible plastic right behind the dryer is either too long and coiled all over, or it is crushed almost flat behind the dryer. Put a four-inch elbow on the back of the dryer so the dryer cannot get too close to the wall.

Q. I need help in installing my gas dryer that has been converted for propane. I was wondering what type of pipe I need to run so I could get the propane to the dryer? Also, do I need a pipe threaded or do they come in certain lengths already threaded?

A. Whatever type of pipe is presently being used in the house can be used to run to the dryer location. The pipe diameter for natural gas is usually half-inch. Use half-inch not more than six feet back from the dryer. All the rest back from that point to the supply pipe would be ¾-inch, which may or may not apply for propane. Codes vary from state to state and local area to area. It's best to check with a professional plumber in the area or the building department in your locality. A propane supplier may also know.

Pipe comes in many size lengths and is already pre-threaded. You'll also need supports to secure pipe to walls, beams or studs, whichever is the case. You will also need a shutoff valve at the end of the run and dryer connection fittings and parts.

Q. I just purchased a new commercial gas stove for my home. I do have an old gas stove working now. Are there any special do's and don'ts on installing the new one, or should I have a professional install it for me?

A. Basic installation should not be different than how the existing stove is installed and connected. What is important is to replace the existing gas connection flex line and valve with the new parts used these days. Next, use the 7/8-flex connector with a matching shutoff valve on the natural gas supply pipe. New parts and old existing parts used for stoves and ranges connecting to natural gas supply pipes do not interchange with each other.

The best place to obtain the new parts, made from new metal materials approved for natural gas, is at the local privately-owned hardware stores in your area. Depending upon your state and area, minor codes might apply slightly differently for local installations.

Q. Can there be a connection to my gas oven pilot going out due to the aluminum foil on the stovetop oven?

A. This advice might sound strange, but the clue might be the addition of the foil. The assumption is the problem was not present prior. Therefore, the foil may have caused the problem. No foil should be used anywhere in the baking or broiling compartments. Foil causes heating distribution and air circulation problems. The foil may be restricting airflow.

Remove it all and note what happens. Be sure the foil on the outside top of the appliance does not cover nor restrict the oven's heat exhaustion vents. Doing that causes airflow restrictions or blockages. The intent here is to avoid suspecting broken oven parts until it can be determined if the foil is causing the problem. Replacing parts would not solve any problems if none existed and if the foil caused them.

Q. I have a Kenmore dryer 80 Series. The Thermal Fuse has blown. We replaced it with a new one after cleaning the lint trap. The new fuse lasted four minutes before it also blew. What do I check now?

A. Most likely the dryer is full of lint, and also the vent may be obstructed or clogged. Clean out the entire dryer including the blower. Replace the fuse. disconnect the dryer from the vent and try running it. Take the back panel off the drier, and then take the lint chute off the left side as you face the rear. If all else fails, it must be the thermostat. See if you can take the temperature of the exhaust. Alternatively, you might just go ahead and replace both the operating and safety thermostats. You should be able to get them as a kit and try again.

Q. My GE dryer will squeak so badly I can't hear anything else. What can I do to fix that? My GE washer will spin fast and spills water. I can't wash large loads of clothes because water will be all over the floor. What can I do?

A. The dryer: It is probably the rear bearing — the heat has probably dried out the grease. If the sound is more like scraping and at the front of the dryer, that would be worn drum glides. Both are fairly easy fixes, especially the glides. Search online bookstores for the "cheap and easy" repair book for GE laundry appliances.

The washer: Does the basket spin during a wash/agitate cycle? If so, and it's the newer design access to the running gear through the front of the machine instead of the back, the lower transmission bearings are worn, preventing the brake from engaging fully. Does the basket brake properly if you lift the lid? Frankly, if the machine is older, you might want to shop for a new one. GE dropped the ball with this design.

Q. We have a 6-year-old Magic Chef gas range with propane supply. We've noticed over time that two of the burners have flames that are slowly becoming more yellow than blue. Can I make an adjustment to correct this?

A. Each stove burner's flame color can be adjusted separately. The air shutter adjustment needs to be opened more, which allows more air to mix with the fuel. The shutter is located at the end of the burner tube. Once the shutter is adjusted correctly and all lint or dust is removed, there should be no yellow flames.

Also, clean out the air shutter area. Clear out the burner tube and all the burner head holes or ports so flames are present completely around the entire burner. Some burners have ignition holes up one side of the burner head. Usually, three or four small holes are used for burner ignition. If these holes are plugged or restricted, burners become slow to ignite or do not ignite. Clean out the holes with a pin but do not enlarge the hole. Enlarging the ignition hole will cause other problems, which cannot be fixed without replacing the entire burner.

Q. My husband and I are moving out of our old house, and will take the gas dryer and washer with us. The question is, we are moving everything on our own, and have no idea how to uninstall our Kenmore washer and gas dryer before moving them to the new house.

A. To remove the washer, unplug the machine, turn off both water faucets, and disconnect the water hoses from the faucets/spigots. Then remove the drain hose from the drain line and place it, along with the inlet water hoses, into the tube. Once at the new location, reverse the removal procedure to install the washer.

To remove the gas dryer, unplug it. Then turn off the gas valve that supplies gas to the machine. Using an adjustable wrench, remove the flex gas line at the shut-off valve. Then disconnect the exhaust vent line from the back of the machine. Neither machine should be laid on its side to either disconnect or re-connect. Both machines must remain vertical as they are currently. Using a hand truck to move them makes the job easier. Hand trucks can be rented at the location where you rent the moving truck.

Dryer reinstallation is also a reversal of the removal process, providing the new location already has a setup for natural gas. It's not always an identical setup. You may have to redo some gas connection fittings, etc.

Q. I have a GE Profile Cooktop with downdraft and my handyman is having problems finding the proper orifices for this unit to convert from natural gas to propane. I have two questions: 1. Is this unit convertible to use propane gas? 2. Where do I buy the proper orifices to complete the conversion for this unit?

A. Conversion orifices can be purchased at any local appliance part store. Yes, the appliance can be converted from one fuel to another. Orifices may or may not be needed. On some appliances, the existing orifices can be adjusted. The regulators usually have a lever to switch over to another fuel type or a cap to turn over. It's best to inquire at the appliance store if an owners/service manual is not handy. Appliance parts dealers are an excellent source for original replacement parts and problem resolving matters.

Q. I live in a condo and have very limited space. I just want to know if it is "safe" to install a gas dryer in the same closet as my gas water heater?

A. Generally speaking, the answer is no. The confined space was not originally designed or intended to be used to have two appliances. So, code allowances were not built into the enclosure, whether that space/area is partially opened or fully closed. Ventilation changes would have to be made to allow space/area to accommodate two appliances. It's best to have the expert advice of a professional before proceeding. Check with the local building and safety departments in your area also.

Q. When I turned the dryer on I heard a loud popping noise. The drum turns but it doesn't get hot at all. I keep my washer and dryer on a covered patio that usually stays dry, but we've had a lot of heavy rain this season. Also, before the noise, the dryer used to screech as it turned, now it doesn't.

A. If the popping noise was from an electrical short, moisture may have gotten to the electrical component or the electrical outlet blew a fuse or tripped the circuit.

Remove the dryer's plug from the wall receptacle and plug in a lamp. If the bulb in the lamp works, the wall electrical system is fine. The problem is then in the machine. Or, simply open the dryer door, and if the machine has a light and it turns on, there is power into the machine. If not, test the wall outlet using the lamp method.

Retail appliance parts dealers can also help determine what the most likely possible problem may be. They will need the make, model and serial numbers. Appliance parts dealers are an excellent source for original replacement parts and problem resolving matters.

Be sure the electrical power to the appliance is turned off before attempting any repairs. Always check for gas leaks whenever moving the appliance or if a repair includes any connection of a gas part.