A surprise gas type conversion
Today I went to a job in Mawson Lakes, Adelaide to install a free standing Euro gas oven. The customer bought it from an online auction site complete with 2 years manufacturer warranty. No mention of the gas type the oven was configured for could be found on the invoice and there was no description of missing items either.
It’s generally accepted that when a consumer buys floor stock or items from online auction sites, that the product may have been opened already and items not well known to the customer are often missing. The classic missing item on cooktops and ovens is the appliance regulator. I wasn’t surprised when I discovered that the regulator was missing this morning but further review of the appliance revealed that it had been converted from natural gas to propane! Of course, this then meant that the natural gas injectors were now missing as well. Appliances generally come configured for natural gas and the packaging includes the items needed for converting to LPG but since this appliance had already been converted, and since the gasfitter who converted it didn’t bother to bundle the NG injectors back into the packaging, I now had to do convert it back to natural gas the long way…
For years I’ve been keeping gas injectors each time I install a new appliance that comes with injectors the customer doesn’t need. I’ve been doing it for long enough and not needing to use them that I stopped keeping the injectors many months ago because my collection (shown above) of these little pieces of machined brass began to seem like a waste of valuable shelf space in the van. Today that all changed when it suddenly seemed as though I couldn’t possibly have too many.
Alexandra was as happy as I was when I found three of five injectors the appliance needed for the conversion. The remaining two I had to drill out from slightly undersized injectors – enter the thumb drills (pictured below). Note the conversion chart with the drills that shows the heating value of each orifice size with its related gas type and pressure. The oven manufacturer’s information provides gas injector values in megajoules – standard metric units. My drills however were made in America so the conversion chart they came with needs converting before it has any value in the civilised world.
Once the pipework was done and the oven was installed, I adjusted the low flames to complete the conversion. No sooner had I finished installing the oven when Alexandra threw a pot on the stove!
There’s two things I would advise consumers to be sure about when buying a gas appliance online; firstly be sure of the gas type of the appliance (ie is it configured for natural gas or propane?), and secondly, is it new in manufacturer’s original packaging or has it been opened and if so, is there anything missing? Even if the answers to both of these questions go in the wrong direction, it doesn’t have to be a deal breaker so long as you know what you’re in for. Little surprises can be a big headache.
The online auction shopping experience ended well for Alexandra and Petros but it could have easily been a frustrating time if their gas plumber didn’t have the right tools and knowledge!