No, it never has been on the level...
January 11, 2007 8:57 PM   Subscribe

How to level a burner on a gas stove?

I have an old gas stove, and the 4 burners are all uneven in different ways. I'd like to even them out, but am having difficulties finding anything on how to do this.

Can I just use anything flat and heat tolerant to shim the grates? Are there kits for this, or should I just go looking for scrap tile or something? Any gotchas? Should I try to come up with a way to fasten the shims in place? Or, should I just mark each grate, then shave metal off the bottom until I get evenness (or the world's thinnest grates).
posted by QIbHom to Home & Garden (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Step #1 would be to see if, for sure, the grates themselves are uneven, or if the problem lies elsewhere. In a metal shop, you might lay the burners individual on a granite inspection flat, and see if they rocked, or had other uneven base point characteristics you could change with a file. In a home setting, you could use any reasonably flat, clean counter surface to check this, if not quite as accurately.

It might be that the grates have orienting lugs, to encourage setting them in a certian position order, as specified by the manufacturer; so I would look at them, and the range top, very carefully, to see if rearranging the grates on the stove would ameliorate the problem. If not, it's possible that the existing grates have been warped by heat, or dropped and bent. The easiest and cheapest thing to do might be to simply replace them with comparable grates available from most appliance parts stores. You could try marking the high or low spots with chalk, and warming the grates in the oven to high temperature, and then bending them appropriately, but you can easily break grates doing this.

It's also possible that your drip pans are bent, and preventing your grates from seating properly. The drip pans are thin sheet metal, and it is quite likely they are bent or covering an accumulation of crud that is screwing up the seating of the grates. As a start, I'd take the whole stove top apart carefully on a Saturday morning, and armed with a fresh box of SOS pads, some rubber gloves, and maybe some oven cleaner, I'd give the whole stove a thorough cleaning, and inspection for bent or misplaced parts. Make sure you have plenty of light while doing this, as being able to see small imperfections in surfaces or materials is key to identifying and correcting parts fit problems.
posted by paulsc at 9:27 PM on January 11, 2007

Best answer: Your grates will be some kind of casting, yes? So if you try to bend them, you'll probably crack them.

Seems to me that brass washers would make pretty good corrosion-resistant shims. Stick them together and hold them in place with neutral-cure silicone sealant. This stuff is remarkably heat-resistant, and safe near flame - it won't melt, and if overheated it just goes white and crumbly rather than charring or bursting into flame.
posted by flabdablet at 9:32 PM on January 11, 2007

Dimes (if you're in the US) worked well on my electric burners. I hope my stove can't get hot enough to soften dimes.
posted by tayknight at 9:36 PM on January 11, 2007

Response by poster: Ended up getting some stainless steel flat head screws, some stainless nuts and washers, then drilling holes at the 4 corners (or 2, if that is all that is needed), and using some combination of nuts and washers to level the grates. If I were to do this again, I'd get more nuts and fewer washers, buy a metal drill bit or use a punch instead, and maybe use a little thicker screws. The nuts can be bigger than the screws, but it is nice to have a nut that fits on the bottom of the pile of metal shims for stability.

Works, though. Thanks, gang.
posted by QIbHom at 5:30 AM on February 13, 2007

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