GE XL44 Range Has Yellow Flames


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Old 04-17-10, 08:25 AM
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GE XL44 Range Has Yellow Flames

Our GE XL44 Profile range has developed yellow flames in all burners. We had an appliance tech look at it yesterday, and he said it needed a new regulator. Installed cost about $250. He said it didn't make much sense to spend that much money on a 10 year-old range. Seems a shame as the range works perfectly other than the air problem. To replace with a similar GE Profile would be about $1,500. We are worried that, even if we spend the $250, something else may be about to go. Should we follow his advice, or is there a less expensive solution?
 
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Old 04-17-10, 09:39 AM
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Well, there are orange flames, usually caused by dust or other air contamination.

Yellow or white flames are unburned atoms of carbon that are superheated but aren't exposed to oxygen and can't burn. You can see that effect in a candle flame.

Like a candle flame, the carbon atoms will burn completely if they are exposed to fresh combustion air. However, if you put a pot or pan over the flame and interrupt that combustion process, you get carbon monoxide, soot and stinky aldehides.

If you see soot stains on your pots, this has been a problem.

I'd also look for signs of soot in your oven and above the broiler burner, if yous use that much.

Assuming the diagnosis is correct and the regulator is bad, they are relatively inexpensive parts ---$35 or so. It may be difficult to install especially on a sealed burner range that has to be torn apart.

Yellow/white flames are caused by the burner air shutter being plugged by dust, debris or being closed too much. Cleaning or adjusting the air shutter solves the problem. I've never encountered a bad regulator that caused such a problem, but it could happen.

If so, the burner input should be low and not producing much heat.

My favorite yellow flame story involved a chinese restaurant. I went in to work on something and norticed all the burners flames were yellow and the pots sooty. I used my flashlight to inspect the primary air shutters, and saw that the reason they were plugged was all the live cockroaches fighting their way in to get a sniff of the natural gas, which they like!

On another occasion, I packed several cooks off to the hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning. The range flames were all yellow and making lots of carbon monoxide, and some moron had tunred the range hood off because it was exhausting heated room air and causing lots of cold air to infiltrate the building. So the employees were working with the range hood concentrating the CO in their faces instead of getting rid of it.


It is an issue to be taken seriously.
 
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Old 04-17-10, 10:14 AM
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Thanks. The XL44 doesn't have any air shutters. It uses fixed, non adjustable orifices. That leaves the regulator or the natural gas supply pressure. There needs to be 4" of gas pressure, but I don't have any way to measure it.


Originally Posted by SeattlePioneer View Post
Well, there are orange flames, usually caused by dust or other air contamination.

Assuming the diagnosis is correct and the regulator is bad, they are relatively inexpensive parts ---$35 or so. It may be difficult to install especially on a sealed burner range that has to be torn apart.

Yellow/white flames are caused by the burner air shutter being plugged by dust, debris or being closed too much. Cleaning or adjusting the air shutter solves the problem. I've never encountered a bad regulator that caused such a problem, but it could happen.

It is an issue to be taken seriously.
 
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Old 04-17-10, 07:07 PM
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Look behind the range where the line valve is, check to see if it is partially closed.
 
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Old 04-17-10, 10:28 PM
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When the technician checked the stove, he took off the flexible pipe from the shutoff valve, looked for obstructions, then replaced the pipe and turned the valve on fully. I was watching him. He was convinced the problem was the regulator.


Originally Posted by mbk3 View Post
Look behind the range where the line valve is, check to see if it is partially closed.
 
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Old 04-18-10, 08:07 AM
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Hello: deweyman

If the appliance regulator is determined to be the cause, why not remove it and replace it with another one? Simply enough to do this and easily obtainable at any local appliance parts store in your area.......

Nor will it be expensive to buy a new regulator either. Replacing the regulator just might resolve the condition, save you a lot of $$$$ and would not have to buy another new appliance....

We had an appliance tech look at it yesterday, and he said it needed a new regulator.
Simple common sense, seems to be the best possible solution here, IMO....

Beer 4U2
 
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Old 04-18-10, 08:30 AM
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That is what started my original question. The tech said it would cost $250 to replace the regulator, which didn't make much sense in a 10 year-old stove.

Yesterday, I ordered a new regulator off the Internet. I will have to find someone reasonable to put it in. I am 76, so crawling around on the floor to install it is not something I can do myself anymore.



Originally Posted by Sharp Advice View Post
Hello: deweyman

If the appliance regulator is determined to be the cause, why not remove it and replace it with another one? Simply enough to do this and easily obtainable at any local appliance parts store in your area.......

Nor will it be expensive to buy a new regulator either. Replacing the regulator just might resolve the condition, save you a lot of $$$$ and would not have to buy another new appliance....



Simple common sense, seems to be the best possible solution here, IMO....

Beer 4U2
 
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Old 04-23-10, 10:37 AM
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A follow-up. Like taking your car into the dealer for service and what was wrong doesn't show up, our stove seems to be like that. After ordering a new regulator, then finding that the water heater also had the orange flames, I called the gas company to check their meter/regulator. When the utility tech checked the stove, the burners were burning a nice, blue flame. This is after a few weeks of orange flames. He also checked the water heater and the outside meter. Everything was fine. He said that they get a lot of calls about orange flames when they introduce a lot of mercaptan in the system. He said it takes a while to normalize, and if there is a high natural gas demand, it can bring more into your system.

Bottom line, we spent over $100 to find out there was nothing wrong with our appliances, but we needed to find out. Turns out if we had waited another week, the problem would have fixed itself. Thanks everyone for the inputs.
 
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Old 04-25-10, 08:26 PM
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Originally Posted by deweyman View Post
A follow-up. Like taking your car into the dealer for service and what was wrong doesn't show up, our stove seems to be like that. After ordering a new regulator, then finding that the water heater also had the orange flames, I called the gas company to check their meter/regulator. When the utility tech checked the stove, the burners were burning a nice, blue flame. This is after a few weeks of orange flames. He also checked the water heater and the outside meter. Everything was fine. He said that they get a lot of calls about orange flames when they introduce a lot of mercaptan in the system. He said it takes a while to normalize, and if there is a high natural gas demand, it can bring more into your system.

Bottom line, we spent over $100 to find out there was nothing wrong with our appliances, but we needed to find out. Turns out if we had waited another week, the problem would have fixed itself. Thanks everyone for the inputs.
I guess next time call the gas co first, sorry you had to spend the dough. Wish you had said orange instead of yellow flames. If you recall S/P mentioned orange in one his posts, we would have been able to be more accurate with our diagnosis.
 
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Old 04-27-10, 06:28 PM
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I sed to be a repairman for a natural gas utility. From time to time we had too much mercaptan (the odorent for natural gas) added to some part of the system.

I never heard of that causing a change in flame color. The usual symptom was a flood of gas leak complaints when people started noticing gas odors due to the excessive mercaptan levels!

When I was learning the trade, it took me some time to recognize the difference between orange flames (usually caused by dust entrained in the combustion air) and white flames caused by improper burner operation.
 
 

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