Pilot flame for an old Kenmore Room Heater


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Old 03-19-14, 02:42 AM
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Pilot flame for an old Kenmore Room Heater

Hi, I recently had the pilot and burner, for my Kenmore Room Heater Model # 693359460, replaced by a local heating and cooling service. But I am having major concerns with how this new one is supposed to operate? As it behaves in a manner unlike that of which I have been used to for the past 12 years. With the new one when the pilot flame is at rest, it is easily 3-4 times larger than the previous one. The flow rate is much heavier, so much so that I can EASILY hear it hissing (like a blow torch) from across the room while sitting on the couch (approx 8-9 feet away) The new flame also engulfs the heat sensor next to it to where it is constantly glowing bright red. This was not the case previously with the old pilot. As it is now, it seems to be a gross waste of propane. Especially since it has to run 24/7... So my question to you is: How should the pilot light run under normal circumstances? What is visually & audibly "normal" for it? Would it help to partially close the propane valve feeding the unit itself? Or would that hamper the flow too much when the heater is in use? I greatly appreciate any help you might be able to offer. Thank you
 
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Old 03-19-14, 05:02 AM
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I strongly suspect that the service company replaced the pilot burner with a natural gas model. Natural gas has significantly less heating value than does propane so they use larger orifices on natural gas. Call them back to fix it correctly on their dime.
 
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Old 03-20-14, 01:10 PM
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Thank you very much for your reply. I will definitely be giving them a call. However would you mind elaborating a little on what brought you to that conclusion? Because I questioned the installer before he left on my concerns. He just looked at me as if I had 3 heads and assured me everything was as it should be. I have a feeling I'm going to need more info if I'm going to get them to admit fault. I can include a photo here of the pilot and burner if you can visually tell the differnce? Thank you again for your help!!
 
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Old 03-24-14, 01:09 AM
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The size and heat output (in BTUs) of the pilot burner are dependent upon both the gas flow and the BTU content of the fuel gas. Propane has a BTU content of around 2,500 BTUs per cubic foot of gas whereas natural gas in more in the order of 1,000 BTUs per cubic foot. To have a pilot flame of approximately the same size and BTU output there needs to be about 2-1/2 times as much natural gas flowing compared to propane. In order to get the greater gas flow the orifice that controls the amount of gas flow is significantly larger with natural gas.

There is also the problem of gas pressure. Natural gas equipment typically works with a pressure of about 3-1/2 inches of water column, a very low pressure. This pressurized gas flow enters a venturi arrangement that "inspirates" room air and mixes it with the gas for proper combustion. Propane works the same way but because it uses a far smaller amount of gas it is necessary to raise the pressure to about 11 inches of water column to get a greater amount of room air into the mixed gas stream. The combination of using a larger orifice of a natural gas burner with the higher pressure of propane gas leads to a vastly oversized pilot flame.
 
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Old 03-24-14, 04:43 AM
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I very much appreciate and thank you for your elaboration. It has given me just what I needed to feel the confidence to call them first thing in the morning. Now if they STILL look at me as if I have 3 heads.... I've the knowledge to stand my ground. Again .... I thank you!! ) Have a wonderful day)
 
 

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