War Story: Converting a Gas Dryer to Run on Propane

Gas dryers come from the factory ready to run on natural gas. If you want to run it on propane, you’ll have to convert it. What happens if you don’t convert the dryer or (more commonly) you convert it wrong?

House go boom. Pants go brown.

Well, it might not be quite that bad, but it would at a minimum be a sooty mess. From time to time, I get called in for a cleanup service call on a botched gas dryer conversion. Did one just yesterday.

They had a parts changing monkey from a large appliance dealer in Concord, NH, attempt the conversion. Monkey boy changed the burner orifice but didn’t install the blocking pin, didn’t tag the dryer, and left the rest of the conversion kit inside the dryer, by the burner. It took me a few minutes just to figure out what he did and did not do.

To top it off, the dryer wouldn’t fire up because, as he told the customer, “the igniter was bad.” This was another indication of monkey boy’s competence because, as it turned out, the igniter did, in fact, glow upon starting (thereby proving that the igniter was good) but the burner didn’t fire up. A couple of valve coils took care of that and the burner fired up with the proper flame.

Now, a new problem had appeared: there was a strong gas smell. A plumber had installed the flex gas supply line for the dryer. What’s the rule about getting Buttcrack Bubba to do an appliance tech’s job? I don’t know either, but there awwta be one! I got my bubble leak detector bottle to check it out and found the leak location. Turns out that ol’ Buttcrack musta been tossin’ back the Newcastles ‘cuz he had two mis-matched flare fittings which I discovered when I attempted to tightened the connections and the fittings fell apart in my hand!

Oh, it was a rich comedy of errors. ‘Course, it woulda been a black ‘n crispy comedy if the house had burned down with their two little kids!

Some of the shi’it that goes on out there is downright freaky!

For information on propane’s Lower Explosive Limit (LEL) and health effects, see this page.


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