All O’Keefe & Merritt stoves I’ve encountered are configured to be fueled by natural gas (NG); sometimes called methane.
People online write about converting their gas stoves from NG to liquid propane (LP), primarily because the stove has been setup in a location where it’s no longer possible to connect the stove to the NG supply system.
NG is not as potent as propane (and propane is not as potent as butane). When converting a gas stove from NG to LP, the amount of gas per minute should be reduced to maintain the maximum BTUs the stove burners are designed to sustain.
If you are hardcore and want painful and confusing details about NG and LP pressure specs, try this: http://inspectapedia.com/plumbing/Gas_Pressures.php
Obviously, since this process deals with combustible gases, precautions should be taken to avoid gas leaks and to assure proper combustion. Sloppy work, sufficient improper combustion or leaks can be fatal. Recommendations? Get a professional or become one.
Well, to confess, I just had a personal experience trying to figure this stuff out.
The buyers of a stove I sold wanted to know if the burners worked. Initially, the plan was to unhooked my stove, move it out of the way, move the other stove from the outside into the kitchen and temporarily hook it up. Hmm… Naw. Too many big heavy stoves to be moved about.
Second plan; leave the sold stove outside, link together enough gas connector hoses to reach from the kitchen gas line to that stove, a distance of 24′. I had enough connectors I salvaged from other stoves in my inventory to almost reach. Just one more would be needed. I also needed enough plumbing hardware to link the connectors. The hardware store sales associate had a blast trying to figure out all the MIP, FIP, flare parts needed to link six hoses together!
However, two things didn’t go well with the second plan. First, all those lovely little MIP, FIP and flared parts and the additional hose totaled nearly $100. And the entire 24′ long linked connectors hose leaked gas like a sieve.
Third plan. Leave the stove outside and hook it up to a propane tank. I returned the expensive collection of plumbing parts, bought a hose and regulator assembly and one part to connect the regulator hose to the manifold. I like this plan the best. My stove could stay put. All the gas testing could be done outside so if there were any serious leaks, no big deal.
Sweet! It all worked well enough to past the basic test. The four cooktop burners and the griddle burner worked.
NG/LP Gas Converting Options
Converting to a different gas fuel for the long haul is a different matter. There are a couple of options.
One Big Adjustment: One option is to install an NG/LP converter regulator inline to the manifold, that big pipe that supplies all the gas to the stove. This regulator allows you to convert your stove between NG and LP with just a flip of its cap and eliminates the need to change all of the stove’s orifices and valves.
Lots of Little Adjustments: Another option is to adjust all the stoves’ valves and orifices. There are a couple/few different types of independent gas flow regulators on the OKM to consider adjusting:
- Alltrol double valve orifices (8)
- Pilot light valves (4)
- Each Alltrol double gas valve has two orifices can be adjusted to control the amount of gas that flows to a cooktop burner. One orifice controls gas flow is to the main burner, the other to the simmer burner. Four cooktop burners means a total of eight valve orifices to adjust.
- The cooktop burner, oven/broiler pilot light valves. On my stove there is a pilot light for the left side cooktop burners, one or the right side burners, one for the oven and one for the broiler. That’s an additional four items to adjust.
Ok, so that seems like a lot, right? Depending on the number of cooktop, oven and broiler burners , there could be quite a number of things to adjust. That makes a NG/LP convertible gas line regulator seem like a great time saver. At present they seem to range in price between $20 and $50. This webpage has decent details on how to convert from one gas type to another: Converting Your Gas Range
But if you are trying to save pennies by not getting the inline regulator, remember you will most likely only have to do all those little tweaks once in a lifetime. It may take an hour or two, but that’s it.