Why won't my oven burner light completely until it's very hot?
July 8, 2010 6:38 PM   Subscribe

Our 3-yo Maytag oven is misbehaving, and I can't figure out what's going on. Symptoms: when the burner is lit only the 2/3's closest to where it connects to the gas-line actually light. The other 1/3 puts out nasty aldehydes until the thermostat registers about 250 *F.

Details: when the oven is turned on (it has electronic controls) it goes through a preheat process (the ignitor heats itself up) and then lights the burner.
The burner is just a pipe with a row of holes down each side, nothing fancy so I can't figure out why the flames won't propagate all the way to the end.

We had the utility company come out and check it and they said it wasn't their issue; no leaks or anything like that.

We had a stove company come out and the kid they sent said we needed to replace the ignitor. Since it was $160 to replace it I held off and took the floor off the oven to watch the process and as far as I can tell it's not the ignitor (oven turned on, ignitor heats up, gas turns on and is lit by ignitor, flames run 2/3 of the way down the burner and stop, then get to the rest of the burner when it heats up).

I don't mind replacing the ignitor if that's really the issue, but I'm having a hard time believing that's what it is.

Any ideas?
posted by dolface to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
The regulator?
posted by gjc at 6:46 PM on July 8, 2010

What's the regulator and how do I test to see if it's working properly?
posted by dolface at 7:21 PM on July 8, 2010

Whoops! My bad; PG&E tested the regulator and deemed it sound.
posted by dolface at 7:29 PM on July 8, 2010

When we had the problem, the small holes (where the flames were supposed to be) were clogged with rust and other particles. The repair man removed the whole tube, poked through the clogged holes with a paper clip, and then dumped the grit out the open end. Took ten minutes -- and a hundred bucks.
posted by wryly at 7:36 PM on July 8, 2010

Like wryly, I think it is the holes in the jet. My beloved webber needs a good poking every now and again for this very reason.
posted by Kerasia at 12:17 AM on July 9, 2010

In outdoor gas grills, which operator similarly, this is usually due to something being in the tube, usually spiders. You probably just need to clean out the tube.
posted by plinth at 3:12 AM on July 9, 2010

Did PG&E test the regulator inside the stove, or the one outside the house?

Do the flames look "lazy"?
posted by gjc at 5:14 AM on July 9, 2010

I could see it as a feature if half the burner shut itself off when the oven got close to the set point of the thermostat, because that would reduce overshoot. I could also see shutting off half the burner after reaching the set point for the first time, because that would reduce the amplitude of swings back and forth across the desired temperature, and half the burner should be sufficient to maintain the temperature of a closed oven.

But I couldn't find any reference to such features in Maytag gas stoves, and you'd think they'd be talking it up if they had it.
posted by jamjam at 9:56 AM on July 9, 2010

OK, I was finally able to get this fixed and here's what it was: the gas pressure was too high.

The second repair firm that we had came by took all of 15 minutes to diagnose and fix the problem (by tweaking the regulator inside the stove -- props to gjc).
posted by dolface at 5:38 PM on January 7, 2011

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