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I have a gas stove (+ electric oven) which has one large burner, two medium burners and a small burner.

The main burner is acceptable, but the medium burners are insufficient to boil a saucepan of water in a reasonable time, even when on full. (I don't even bother with the small burner.) As a result, I can't cook a sauce on the main burner, and boil rice/potatoes/spaghetti on the back burners at the same time.

The stove is about 13 years old, but has had limited use in its life. It is pretty clean, and I don't believe the gas lines are clogged. The valve leading to the stove seems to be fully open (i.e. the knob is in a position parallel to the pipe).

Is it possible to turn up the pressure of the gas entering the stove? Is this a consumer-adjustable item (e.g. adjusting a regulator), a job for a plumber, or will I need to replace the whole stove (which isn't warranted)?

  • has it always been this way, or is this a new issue? have any gas appliances been added/changed? dryer, water heater, heat. – rpmerf Jul 10 '15 at 11:29
  • Has been this way since I moved in 18 months ago. No other gas appliances are currently connected upside of my meter (but it is in an apartment complex). – Oddthinking Jul 10 '15 at 12:08
  • Are the flames nice and blue and even? Or orange and "lazy"? higher end stoves will have burners with higher BTU ratings. It takes a lot of energy to boil an entire pot full of water and it is relatively normal for it to take a while. – Steven Jul 10 '15 at 16:48
  • The flames are blue and even. – Oddthinking Jul 11 '15 at 2:23
  • I realize this has an accepted answer but I have found stoves that had the wrong orifice (LP vs Nat gas) if. LP gas was used, and the orifice could be plugged, usually the supply pressure is only about 3/4 psi. So any reduction can cause problems. – Ed Beal May 8 '18 at 20:55
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The stove will have a gas regulator on it, so assuming that it is performing as-expected, you cannot increase the pressure in order to generate more heat. The stove is designed to accept a range of pressures from the supply line to begin with and increasing the pressure beyond what the regulator is designed for would be dangerous.

If the flame is mostly blue then this is a good sign that the pressure and oxygen mix is correct and it is probably performing to spec. If the flame is mostly orange/yellow or appears "lazy", then this is a good sign that it is not burning properly either because the pressure is too low (due to supply, regulator or a blockage) or there is not enough oxygen being mixed in (clogged).

If the regulator is bad then this can be replaced. If the supply to the regulator is too low then you likely need a bigger supply line. Both of these are outside the realm of most DIY repairs, so best bet is to call a service technician.

  • This could be a flow issue, which is not necessarily a pressure issue. If there are multiple devices using gas, or if the supply line is of insufficient diameter to support the usage of the stove, this could be an issue. It may be worth putting in a call to your utility provider to diagnose first. – BrownRedHawk Jul 10 '15 at 17:31
  • In my experience your utility will only test the meter outside, beyond this, it's your problem. – Steven Jul 10 '15 at 17:42
  • This is true, but if your pressure to your house is below the suggested manufacturer's pressure for the stove, you're SOL regardless of all the effort inside the home. I've seen this be the case in more rural areas and those with high population density. – BrownRedHawk Jul 10 '15 at 17:46
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You can increase the gas volume by removing the handles that control the burner. You will find a screw inside the opening in the stove and adjust the flame with a very small slotted screw driver. The burner will need to be on when doing this to adjust the size of the flame.

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    Don't know that you are right, but this is an interesting bit of info that needs looking into. – Wayfaring Stranger May 8 '18 at 20:38
  • No little screw in there on my stove. Perhaps it depends on brand. I'll look around elsewhere. – Wayfaring Stranger May 9 '18 at 23:30
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This may be a matter that can be adjusted within the stove. Dubious for DIY; get a gas appliance tech in to check both that the feed pressure is within the specs of the stove and that all 4 burners are properly adjusted.

On the DIY side of it you should be able to check the burners themselves for any build-up or blockage with crud that might affect their proper operation. Beyond that my gut reaction is to call in a specialist as screw-ups with gas can be BAD.

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I suggest the following course of action:

  1. Turn off the gas supply valve.
  2. Dismantle each gas burner and dunk all the burner assemblies in a strong solution of hot water and dishwashing soap (like Joy) to remove all oil, tar and other debris. Use a steel brush to clean the metal surfaces of the burners inside and out. Rinse with water and dry with compressed air to ensure quick and efficient drying.
  3. Remove the supply line hose from the back of the stove.
  4. Blow compressed air (ideally 200 psi) from the lines of each burner (TOP side of the stove) to remove whatever debris could be lodged inside. As you blow compressed air from each burner on top, check the back of the stove is dust, rust or other debris come out. (note: you may need to turn each burner's control to their fully-opened position so that air can pass through)
  5. Still with all burners' knobs on fully-opened position, pump compressed air from the back inlet pipe for 5 to 10 seconds. Check if any dust, rust, oil and debris come out from the top lines.
  6. Wipe away any oil or tar that comes out.
  7. Reset all knobs to fully-closed position.
  8. Reassemble all the burners.
  9. Check the pressure of the gas supply line (AFTER the regulator). You should be getting about .25 psi or 1/4 psi. If it is less than that then it is too low -- have it adjusted by your gas company if you don't know how to do it.
    1. Reinstall the supply inlet hose to the inlet tube of the stove.
  10. Turn on the Gas supply valve.
  11. Try the stove.

If all else fails, then perhaps a new stove should be considered. But I hope cleaning it will solve the problem.

Best.

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    NB for others: while the OP's stove is dual-fuel and thus can't be busted this way, doing this on an all-gas stove could very well damage the gas control valve for the oven with excessive inlet pressures; it will likely be necessary to remove the oven gas valve and blow out the oven burners separately in that case. – ThreePhaseEel Mar 11 at 11:39

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