Do you have a 50 year old gas range? O’Keefe & Merrit? Wedgewood? Something similar? If you do, did you know you can adjust your flame height? That’s right with a greasy 9/16 wrench and a little guidance you can turn your weezy old flames in to towers of mighty blue jet streams. It’ll only take maybe 15 minutes to tune them all and it’s next to nearly almost safe. Are you interested?
Editor’s Note – Please read – 01/09/2010: Our local Gas Guy just left, I called because was concerned about my gas furnace and carbon monoxide. He got right to work with this sensor rig and found nothing. Then he set about my 1952 Wedgewood, checking all pilots, oven operation, venting … you name it, he checked it out from head to toe. For nothing. He was very impressed about how low my emissions were from my oven. He said that these older gas ranges do not have to have the oven vented to the outside. When these older gas ranges did have to be vented to the outside was when they had a heater or a wood burning side to the range.
He says he has more trouble with the newer gas ranges because when you turn on the oven, the flame will be high enough to hit the bottom of the oven. This causes the flame to smolder and create more carbon monoxide. The older range’s burner assemblies are mounted lower and the flame is never allowed to touch any metal and smolder. In other words, we rule.
The moral of the story is to call your local gas company. Mine even has a button to press when you call them so they can come light your pilot lights. They care, they don’t want you to die or get blown up and then die.
Sure you are, that’s probably why you still own your old range. They’re amazing pieces of equipment. A few years ago my oven’s thermostat was going south and ruining our food, poor roast chickens were incinerated. I thought maybe it was time to visit our local Sears and spend 1800 on a new range. That’s what credit is for, right? You bet. Yeah well, to get a gas range that’s as well made and with burners as accurate and adjustable as my old Wedgewood would cost me 2500+ and that doesn’t count the fancy hoods you have to buy. Scratch that idea. I called a local repair shop and they came by and replaced my thermostat for 170.00 total. That, a rechromed griddle and the purchase price of the range came to a whopping total of, $670.00. Envision a new range for that price, no love there pal. No Elvis in that range, nope. And this brings us to today, poor Kalyn’s old gas range has a weezy burner. Just one she says, but I’ll bet you once she sees what she can do she’ll jack them all up. Everyone should have the ability to turn a stainless steel fry pan in to a slag heap, if they want to.
Meathenge is here to help!
You ready? Okay, listen up. You will not have to turn off the gas or open up any dangerous parts of the unit. This is a simple, easy & quick adjustment that nearly anyone can do. All you need to do is watch your knuckles and pay attention. That’s right Billy, you gotta put down your can of beer.
The above image is for reference. While this may not be your exact range, many are quite similar and the guts are usually the same if not damned close.
We’ll be working on the burner set farthest away from us (the Right set of burners). See? Please remove the two cast iron burner grates.
You should be left with something like this, some have this part chromed. Neat eh?
I outlined this one piece with green, see? Please lift it out. Careful, it might be hot due to the pilot light undearneath.
This is where our stoves are probably more similar, the burner section. The green arrows point to where the nuts we’ll be turning are, just to give you a reference point.
And here we are. Click on the image to make it larger and you can actually SEE the nuts in there. There should be 4. Why? Because your two outter burners and your two inner burners (simmer rings) make a total of 4 burners. One nut is for the outter burner and one is for the inner burner.
Turn on the REAR burner and start with either the inner or outter. The two nuts that adjust the rear burners should be on your left there. Use the open end of your 9/16 wrench on one and turn it to the right and see if there is any change. If not? You have the wrong nut, try the next one. The change should be somewhat noticeable. Turn the nuts until the flame gets to your liking, either high or low. It’s up to you. I would suggest not making your simmer rings too darned large, it’s nice to have those on a smaller scale.
And that is all there is to that. When you’re doing the burners closer to you, please watch your fangers. It can get kinda tight in there. When you’re done, put everything back together and relax.
Check out the size of the rear flame there. (In the voice of Elvis, mutter the following). “That’s huge man. That’s really huge.”
Ya know, there are a lot of things you can do yourself on these old rigs. Some require more skill than others, but at least you have the option. If you are interested in repairing or getting parts repaired please contact AntiqueStoves.com. They’re Meathenge approved (I used ‘em) and have some cool resources. One of which being their Antique Appliance Club, go see.
I hope this was useful and hope you don’t set your hair on fire. Take care and good luck!