Infrared Broiler Delayed Ignition

vetranoNovember 14, 2013

I recently purchased a pro style all gas range which includes an infrared broiler. I suspect the broiler is not igniting properly and wanted to get some feedback from others who have infrared broilers to see what is normal.

When I turn on the broiler the ignitor glows and then the gas valve opens (the sound of hissing natural gas can be heard). There is then a delay of approximately 15 seconds before the gas ignites. When it does ignite it results in a fireball. The whole kitchen then has the smell of natural gas (rotten eggs) until we air it out.

We called the manufacturer and had a warranty call where the technician told us that this is normal for an infrared broiler.

I thought I would solicit the experience and opinions of others who own ovens with infrared broilers before I call the manufacturer again. I do not buy that this is normal behaviour for a gas appliance.

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the delay is common with the glow plug type ignitor.

the whole kitchen smelling of gas doesn't seem right, are you leaving the oven door open ???

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 10:18PM
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Is it normal for the gas to ignite with a fireball? If the door is open this fire ball expands out of the oven to the knobs. I think this is unsafe.

As for the delays, if the door is closed there is a 15 second delay from when gas starts flowing until it ignities. If the door is open there is a 20 second delay from when the gas starts flowing until it ignites. My guess is the extra delay with the door open is because it takes longer for gas to reach the ignitor.

Either way the kitchen fills with a smell of gas after.

Yesterday I tried something new. Turned the broiler on, and before the gas valve opened I held a bbq lighter with the flame just touching the broiler. The gas ignited within 1 or 2 seconds of when the valve opened. I think this means that for some reason the gas does not reach the ignitor for the 15 or 20 seconds explaining the delay. The technician tested the voltage and gas pressure and said both were just fine.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 6:01AM
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The fireball is definitely not normal and sounds dangerous - call for service.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 10:15AM
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As Weissman says, a fireball is indeed unsafe and not normal. I've got a suggestion for a work-around and a description of what seems normal in my experience with infrared broilers.

First, though, leaving the door open for broiling seems to be generally frowned on by most gas stove makers these days including the makers of pro-style ranges with infrared broilers. For example, in the instructions for my NXR , underneath the heading for "Broiler Operation," there is a note in bolded, oversized print that says: "Note: Door must be closed during broiling operation." So, you should be leaving the door closed for broiler ignition.

Now, when you say "approximately 15 seconds" do you mean that takes maybe 13 seconds to 16 seconds or do you mean it might be more like 17 seconds? If the time is longer, that suggests several possible problems including a a weak glow-bar, misalignment of components, blockages in the infrared block, or possibly a loose fitting on the gas line so that gas is not flowing where it should.

My frame of reference for this is what happens with my NXR range. I just ran these tests for you using the second hand on my wristwatch for the timings. I turn the oven dial to broil. I step over where I would normally be standing for food prep, but can still see down into the oven through the window in the oven door. At 15 to 20 seconds (it varies a bit), I start to see a reflected glow from the broiler's glowbar. At 50 seconds, I hear the gas flowing. The first time I did this test, there was a very muted whoosh-thonk sound about 8 seconds after the gas started flowing. The second and third times I ran this test, the ignition was immediate. (Apparently, the infrared block was still hot.)

The oven door did not move or even vibrate. I did not see a flash or fireball in my oven. That is what I would describe as normal infrared broiler ignition

Here's a suggestion which may help narrow things down and, if it works, also may be a work-around while you look to get repairs. Before you start your broiler, preheat your oven with the bake element at 500F. Let it go for about 10 minutes or so. Then switch to the broiler. If you get a normal seeming ignition, then you can run your broiler in the meantime and tell the warranty people that something is wrong with the broiler set-up which is most likely to require replacement of the glow-bar ignitor.

BTW, you didn't identify the brand of your stove. Care to share?

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 12:17PM
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I purposely left out the brand at this point as the manufacturer took action by sending a service company (independent to the manufacturer who said everything is normal). I’m not sure the brand matters right now (I can and will provide the brand later if I feel the information is required). I will say this is a well respected brand and I have not been able to find any similar complaints online.

JWVideo: I didn’t take times from turning the broiler knob on, only from when the gas valve opens until it ignites, but I’ll try it again tonight. With the oven door closed it always takes ~14-15 seconds from gas flow to ignition. If I try to start the broiler again while it is still hot it starts immediately (within a few seconds) which is what I would think is normal. If I wait several hours for it to completely cool down I get the long delay.

The technician tested the ignitor voltage and said it was good and also tested the gas pressure (good) and looked for leakage or blockages. I believe each individual component probably operates as it should but for some reason they are not working together as one would expect. The tech said my broiler operates normally for an infrared broilers as the large broiler burner needs to fill with gas before it ignites. I think my test using the bbq lighter indicates that the gas is there and can light almost immediately after the gas valve opens, but for some reason it take the 15 seconds or so for the ignitor to do its job.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 12:42PM
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" If the door is open this fire ball expands out of the oven to the knobs. "

That's your entire problem in a nutshell, operator error.

Please read and follow your user manual, it will tell you to leave the door CLOSED during broiling - doesn't matter the brand.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 4:14PM
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no xedos, the OP stated that there is a fireball when the door is closed at well - that's not operator error - it's worse when the door is open

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 6:56PM
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xedos, the manual for my range says you can do closed door or open door broiling. As weissman said, the issue is there when the door is closed as well. Actually, the only reason I tried with the door open was because the problem happened every time with the door closed. I thought that maybe I should try with an open door to see if it helps.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 7:01PM
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So, what model do you have ? I have never seen one that mentions open door broiling, especially a gas one.

I need to be delivered out of ignorance.

I think you have a long road ahead of you since a tech has been dispatched and has declared all normal and to spec. You might try and worm your way into the engineering department for a chat, but that'll be tough.

You should probably name names and see if anyone round here can leverage their industry contacts about the issue.

You will also get more traction and give your fellow posters something to go off of in the future should they have this problem or it turns out to be a epidemic like KitchenAid's we don't have a problem with our ovens everything's normal the self clean cycle is supposed to break your oven debacle a few years ago.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 8:54PM
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I swear I saw a video on youtube from someone with the same problem - explosive ignition of the broiler but I can't find it now. The person took the video to show what happened to the warranty support center.

Maybe you can video your firebal and send a link to tech support? I believe her solution was a simple igniter replacement.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 9:00PM
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Vetrano, I can understand your reluctance to "name names" at this point, but knowing who you are dealing with could be helpful. Have you tried calling the company and asking them to send another service technician? Not all technicians are equal. I had a problem with my stove that required several visits and different technicians to solve. After a couple of service calls, I did as pmorepanic suggests and sent a video of the issue to the manufacturer, and they made sure that the problem was resolved. Sometimes it is difficult or impossible to duplicate a problem while the technician is there, so a video can be very helpful.

BTW, my infrared broiler does not behave like yours does ... a fireball is not normal.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 9:29PM
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I took a video of it starting with the door open for everyone to see. The fireball occurs at approximately 1:14. Let me know what you think.

I haven't stated the manufacturer's name because they have been responsive so far. I haven't called back after the first tech came and claimed everything is ok. Based on the comments here so far I'm going to try to call tomorrow if I have time while they are open. The reason I started this thread was to understand if this condition is normal or not. I intend to post a followup after things are solved with the problem, how the manufacturer responded and the outcome.

Here is a link that might be useful: Video of infrared broiler fireball

    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 9:27PM
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Golden David

That does not look normal to me. I'd say you've got a warranty claim on your hands.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 10:27PM
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The video scared the crap out of me. The igniter isn't getting hot enough in the allowed time frame before the gas starts flowing.

The way I understand those little meters work, they would only show a complete failure of the igniter, not something like one that turns on but just doesn't work correctly.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 10:22AM
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That video is scary!
Just out of curiosity, I just checked my infrared broiler: Knob on to broil position; 6 seconds until glow igniter lights up; then 13 seconds until I hear gas on; then almost instant, less than 2 seconds to ignition. No flare up, just a subtle blue flame covers the broiler.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 12:57PM
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So what did Capital say about the video?

The glow bar does seem to get hot enough for ignition before the gas valve opens, so it's really a mystery why it doesn't.

Please keep us posted.

This post was edited by gigelus2k13 on Mon, Nov 18, 13 at 14:04

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 2:03PM
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I'll agree there is something wrong, but your delay is WAAAAAAY WORSE than 15-20 seconds !

You're ignition delay is over a minute in that video - that's crazy.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 7:40PM
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I called Capital yesterday and spoke to the same person I spoke to the first time. He looked up my file and saw the repair tech's notes from the first (and only visit) stating that the gas pressure and ignitor current were both acceptable (I think he had all of the values). However he didn't hesitate to suggest that they send a different service person in. I then suggested he take a look at the video. After seeing it he told me he wanted to ask someone else at Capital about it and get back to me. Within an hour or so he told me that they need a day or so for their engineers to review it. So far I have been very impressed with their willingness to immediately send someone out and now as soon as they realize it isn't a simple matter they go to their experts to try and troubleshoot what the cause of the problem is. I'll keep this post updated.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 6:40AM
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Oh my, that was rivetingly scary. At the end I found myself thinking, "it's going to blow".

Needs help, for sure.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 5:44PM
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I'll bet their risk management engineers are being consulted about the uhm, issue too.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 8:29PM
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I wanted to update this thread to give closure if anyone experiences a similar issue and to let everyone know how the manufacturer, Capital responded.

After my last post Capital engineers reviewed the video I posted above and asked me to send some photos of the ignitor so they could confirm if it was installed properly as they suspected it was too far from the broiler. The photos confirmed it was installed correctly. I suspect they received a similar complaint from another customer based on a conversation with their customer support, but can't confirm this. Anyway, they designed a new bracket for the ignitor that held it closer to the broiler and sent it to the service company for installation. The service company installed in in December and this new bracket has fixed the issue. The broiler now ignites within 1 or 2 seconds of the gas valve opening.

It took Capital a few weeks to come up with a solution, but they were responsive right from the first time I called and I think the time they took was reasonable to figure out what was wrong, why it was occurring, and how to fix it (including testing in their factory).

Overall the range has been working well and we are happy with the purchase.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 7:35PM
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Not to start up an old thread but I have an older wolf range and am gainful the exact same issue. I have yet to call a tech out because I'm trying to fix it myself. Wolf/subzero has been extremely helpful but have not been able to diagnose the problem. First I changed the broiler ignitor. Then I bought a safety valve. Then I bought a clamp-on multimeter. I know, I should Jane bought that first. The safety valve is registering the proper 3.03-3.3 amps so I didn't replace it. I have 2 brand new official wolf ignitors and neither seems to get up to 3.3-3.6 amps. I get 3.2 amps. I'm still having a delay. After the first one, wolf sent me another brand new one free of charge. The orifice is clean, the broiler box seems to be clean.

Is it possible that both of these ignitors are faulty? What else can I check??

    Bookmark   February 3, 2015 at 3:20PM
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