strange gas appliance problem

Old 06-06-01, 12:33 PM
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I'm hoping maybe someone could give me ideas before I spend fortunes on repairs and service calls.

Here's my problem. I have a gas stove and dryer which both start electrically. If I try to start either of them, burners, oven, or dryer, I have no luck. Burners will not ignite I just get the 'click click click' sound of the starter, and the oven's starter just glows orange, but for example, the broiler's flames dont start. The dryer will spin but not get hot.

Now.. (here's the very strange part). If I adjust my thermostat so that my furnace comes on and is running, the other appliances will work like a charm. The stove lights very easily, and will stay lit. The dryer will also get hot but it seems to stop the heat once the furnace stops.

I just bought this house with the appliances included. They were inspected and said to all be in perfect working order.

Why would the appliances only work right if the furnace is on? It doesn't make sense to me. I would think that each appliance should have an equal amount of gas pressure at all times.
Any ideas?


Old 06-06-01, 01:54 PM
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Symptoms don't seem to make much sense to me. If you just recently bought the house, there should be a clause for appliance insurance. Check it out with the loan/reality companies. They may be able to have a pro come out and look at it without any cost to you, it may cost the seller.
Where is the furance in relationship to the stove, dryer and gas meter?

Good luck....
Old 06-06-01, 02:00 PM
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Hello and Welcome Pete to the Do It Yourself Web Site and thanks for posting a question in my Gas Appliance forum.

I think your on the right track as to the problem. However, if so, it is NOT a problem the do it yourself person should deal with. the problem correction is a phone call away.

What I suspect is happening here is the gas pressure regulator outside the house at the gas meter is slightly over pressurizing the lines. Not enough to cause total lockup of the appliances regulators, which wouldn't allow them to function at all but just enough to cause exactly the problem your discribing.

I have seen and corrected many problems as this. Both exactly like the problem your discribing and many others much more worse. Left unchecked, the overpressure can and will lockup appliances to a point of distroying the appliance regulator and or burning down entire buildings!

The first thing you are to do after reading this posting, should this condition exist, is to immediately contact your gas supplier company. Tell them you suspect a pressure problem exists in your gas appliances and request they send out a service representative asap to check for "Building Pressure" at their gas meter and regulator.

Do this NOW! better safe then sorry. If all checks out fine after the service person does as requested, use the reply button and post the updated info here. Thanks...Dial'em NOW!

Regards & Good Luck
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Old 06-06-01, 02:59 PM
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followup 1

OK, I've called my gas company and they said they should have someone out within 4 hours.

I've also taken another look at my gas appliances. I've found another symptom (I think). It's a warm day today, at least 80 degrees, and I dont have air conditioning so I'm pretty sure my furnace did not turn on all day long. It is set to 65 degrees. Now, when I tried to get some hot water from the sink, I let it run for a few minutes and I did not have ANY hot water.. not warm at all. I went down to check my hot water heater and saw just a small flame (pilot light?). The temperature gauge on the water heater is set to nearly the hottest setting, well above the recommended temp.
Then I tried the dryer and stove again and verified they were not working.

So then i did my "trick." Flipped the furnace on.. saw the flames in the furnace. Then I turned my stove on - no problem. When I looked at the water heater again, I could see just above that small flame a much larger ring of flames which I suspect is my water heater finally kicking in.

Anyway, I'll follow up after the gas company comes by. I appreciate the advice.

T2H : my gas appliances are all very close in proximity with eachother.

Old 06-06-01, 03:40 PM
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Talking all fixed :)

Thanks again Tom - you are a real saint giving everyone the advice you do.

The Gas man opened up the meter and found a ball of yellow plastic shavings on the "seat." Apparently they were causing all the problems. The shavings looked like they could have been from the gas pipes out in the street.

He said that sometimes when plumbers turn the gas back on they open the valves too quickly and it sucks up lots of dirt and debris inside the gas pipes clogging up the valve/seat at the meter.

He checked the pressure and re-lit the pilot on my water heater. No charge.

Again, I can't thank you enough for saving me from calling up appliance repairmen or plumbers!

Old 06-06-01, 06:09 PM
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Thanks Pete

I may not have been able to exactly pin point the problem, had it not been for you excellent writing skills and ability to put in words the exacting problem discription.
Therefore, thanks to you and glad you took my advice and also that you got the problem corrected.

The service person was absolutely correct about those tiny bits of shavings. Can happen when installing new "Plastic" gas lines. The shavings can remain inside the lines for years, travel thru the lines with the flow of gas. Usually, if there any in the line, they remain at rest until the circumstance discribed by the service rep happens.

Once that type of debris finds it's way onto the gas regulators seat, the regulator then losses some or all of it's ability to accurately maintain pressure. The houseline pressure is small. 7 to 10 inches of water column only, as the maximum. Debris under the seat will cause the pressure to rise much higher and create the accurate problem discription you posted.

Enough technical insider trade talk...I got carried way once again...

Glad the problem is solved.

Regards & Good Luck with your home
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