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Adjusting the simmer flame on a gas stove

We recently installed a stove in our home. This stove required a conversion from natural gas to propane (LP). The installation instructions walked us through the process, which included changing the pressure of the regulator valve, installing smaller orifices in each of the burners, and adjusting the air flow for proper combustion.

When we were done, everything worked fine, except the range burners would not go lower than this:

Simmer flame before adjustment

This, the lowest flame, would still sustain a full boil in a large pot. That’s far too much heat for slow cooking for rice or stews.

I called Whirlpool to ask if there was any way to adjust the burners to give a lower flame. They asked a lot of questions about the conversion – had I changed the orifices, had I changed the regulator’s pressure, did I adjust the air flow – and suggested I call an appliance repair service to take a look at it.

While searching the web for answers, I came across this text on DavesRepair.com:

One detail that’s commonly overlooked on these is the simmer settings. Each top burner valve has a small screw inside its shaft that can be adjusted to provide a low simmer. This adjustment must be made on each burner once the range has been converted, or ‘simmer’ settings will be far too high to be useful.

A small-bladed screwdriver is needed for most of these. If you can’t find one small enough, it’s possible to grind one down to fit. I’ve noticed some of the most recent ranges are using a larger screw that’s a lot easier to access, and that’s a welcome change.

You’d think if this were true for our stove, this information would have been in the installation instructions, or at the very least, that someone at Whirlpool would have mentioned that when I called. I had to pull off a knob and see for myself.

Remove the stove knob

What’s in the center of the shaft? It looks like a small, flat-head screw.

Simmer setting adjustment screw

Sure enough, none of our screwdrivers were narrow enough to fit into the shaft. I took a bench grinder to one that I wasn’t particularly attached to, and ground down the flared sides to make it fit into the shaft.

Narrow screwdriver

I put the knob back on the oven, lit the burner, turned the knob to its lowest setting, then pulled the knob and adjusted the screw. It didn’t take very much movement to significantly change the flame – maybe 1/2 turn from smallest to largest.

Adjusting the simmer flame

After the adjustment, the high flame is the same as before, but the low (simmer) flame is much, much lower.

Simmer flame after adjustment

CAUTION: If you set the simmer flame to be too low, the flame may go out. If this happens, the stove will continue to send a steady trickle of gas to the burner, which will not be burned. This is VERY DANGEROUS and could even lead to an explosion if it is allowed to continue. Make absolutely sure that the simmer flame will not extinguish, and monitor it closely while you are using it. A rule of thumb is to set the simmer flame so that it stays burning even if you blow on the burner (from a safe distance, of course). If you are able to extinguish the flame by blowing on it, it is probably set too low. If you are unsure, get a professional to make this adjustment for you.