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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Burner Burdens

I have a three-burner propane stove in my RV that seems to take longer and longer to perk a pot of coffee. I recently took a trip in a friend's RV and noticed his propane stove perked coffee much faster. On inspection I noticed the flames on his burner were about 1-inch tall and were a nice two-tone blue. On my stove while the flames are blue they are only about 1/2-inch long. Is there something wrong with my burners? My incoming line? The tanks show a constant 150 pounds pressure with no leaks. Are there newer burners that burn hotter?
Dan, (Lacey, WA)

Dan, indeed the design of the burner head itself has a lot to do with the structure of the flame emitting from each port, but the BTU rating of each burner is determined by the orifice size at the burner valve itself. The larger the orifice, the more LP is allowed to pass through and into the mixing tube. In today’s RV stove top, the mixing of air with the incoming LP is usually non-adjustable, so the only variance in the equation would be the delivery pressure of the LP. It is important to have the delivery line pressure checked annually at the very least. It should measure 11.0-inches of water column which is a very small amount of pressure. 11.0-inches equal four-tenths of one pound per square inch, (.4 PSI)! I’m guessing your LP pressure is lower than normal. That, coupled perhaps with an obstruction at the burner head itself, will result in a much smaller visible flame at the burner head. It’s time to have the pressure adjusted or at least checked. Because the LP pressure is relatively slight, it can only be adjusted while monitoring and measuring with a manometer. Never attempt to adjust the pressure without using a manometer. Unless you’ve had specific training in the use of a manometer, I would suggest you make an appointment at your local RV service facility. It’s a quick and easy job to measure and adjust the LP pressure and at the same time, check the entire coach for LP leaks.


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