, this five burner cook top was igniting and heating properly on four of the burners, but the left front burner would emit small bursts of flame when in use. The unit had been serviced some time ago for an ignitor issue, but everything seemed to work just fine until recently. With concern over the possibility of a gas leak, this customer decided she wanted the unit out of the house until it was repaired. Which is how it found it's way into my shop.
Explosions or bursts of flame from gas appliances are rather rare to encounter because of the inherent safety built into each of these units. Leaks are usually easily detectable due to the odorant added to natural and LP gases, and most people know if you can smell gas to shut it off. Gas cannot burn or explode on it's own, but requires the right amount of air to mix with and then a source of ignition to get everything burning. There are various range parts specifically designed to handle this air and gas mixture. Cook tops use small orifices and a venturi tube to mix the gas and air into the proper ratio before it makes it's way to the burner for ignition and combustion. Burners are designed to spread the flame out evenly around the burner ring to provide consistent heating to the cooking surface.
As long as the burners are kept clean and the caps are installed properly, you should have very few problems with the way your burners function. Burners are often affected by spill overs or misaligned caps resulting in an uneven flow of gas around the burner. This can result in larger flames that lift off the burner on one side or the other, or even pockets of gas that erupt in small explosions. The cook top in this post although dirty, did have all the burners mounted correctly, and with four of the five working properly, I knew I was dealing with an isolated problem. So I decided to remove the burner and see what I could find.
Each burner on this particular cook top is attached to the venturi tube with screws that secure it tightly to the metal surface. It also uses a rubber 'O' ring to seal each burner to prevent any gas from escaping from below, or possibly pulling in more air after the air/gas mixture has already been set. The seals on this burner were all but gone resulting in the burner resting on the metal surface, but there were numerous openings for gas to escape. And when the gas leaked in large enough quantities, it would contact the existing flame and ignite. Most of the time the burst was not noticeable, but other times, it made some noise.
The seal kit for this cook top consists of a new set of seals for all five of the burners. A quick search of stove parts should turn up the correct seal kit for your cook top. After cleaning up each of the burner heads, I replaced each of the seals and then re-mounted them to the cook top. Now, each of the burners, including the left front, ignite and heat properly and this unit is heading back to it's home.