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In the documentary, 'I Like Killing Flies,' Kenny Shopsin describes how he drilled bigger holes in his gas range to increase the power output. Ignoring the possible safety issues, would this work on a standard home gas range? It would seem that the gas output is somehow limited by the knobs. Also, increasing the gas output could potentially change the gas/air ratio, which, I think, might change the flame temperature. Has anybody tried this?

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This seems nonsensical to try with your home stove. You are correct, the rate of gas output is directly controlled by the knobs. In a typical home stove, drilling holes will not increase the gas output. It would affect the gas to air ratio, but I doubt it would result in an increase of temperature, and more likely a decrease.

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See below; it isn't necessarily non-sensical if the output is ultimately limited by the burner holes when the knob is fully on. – Michael at Herbivoracious Aug 30 '10 at 4:11
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@Michael: The burner holes on the typical home stove do not limit anything. The gas is merely released into the burner. If they were limiting the gas output, that would result in a buildup of pressure, which would cause the gas spill out of the bottom of the burner assembly. – hobodave Aug 30 '10 at 13:44
    
Shopsin's stove isn't a typical home stove - go read the excerpt I link to in my answer below. And assuming Shopsin isn't an idiot and his change actually did have the effect he claims it has, doesn't this have to be the explanation? – Michael at Herbivoracious Aug 30 '10 at 21:40
    
@Michael: Huh? I know Shopsin's isn't a typical home stove, as does the questioner who indicates that he read the book. The question is "would this work on a standard home gas range". That's what I'm answering. I'm not simply quoting back to the OP what he's already read. :P – hobodave Aug 30 '10 at 21:53
    
The OP indicates he saw a related movie, not read the book. But you are right, I misread your initial answer - it may well be nonsensical on a home stove if you are correct that the holes can't be the limiting factor because it would spill out of the burner assembly otherwise. – Michael at Herbivoracious Aug 31 '10 at 7:00

Shopsin talks about this in his book, Eat Me, The Food and Philosophy of Kenny Shopsin. You can see it in this excerpt on Amazon. On his custom stove, described in that excerpt, it is certainly possible that when the knob is turned on all the way, the volume of gas coming out was still limited by the size of the flame holes, so that drilling it out allowed more gas to flow and thus a higher flame. And this is probably an extremely dangerous thing to do on your home stove.

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To sustain very uniform heat you probably want a certain amount of back-pressure from the apertures, so this is probably true on most devices. And any modification may (or may not) cut into some designed-in safety factor. Think a bit before embarking on a project like that... – dmckee Aug 30 '10 at 6:10
    
Couldn't agree more. I think this would be a really bad idea to undertake. – Michael at Herbivoracious Aug 30 '10 at 21:41

It would most likely be unsafe, but, most stoves do have a small brass nozzle which limits the flow of gas at the point before it mixes with air, under the the aluminum disk which has the multiple holes where the gas/air mixture comes out.

If you are not adverse to the risk, and you are careful enough to make a very slight change when you increase the hole size (presumably by drilling it out with a drill bit very slightly larger than the hole) - well then the answer is that you could probably increase the flame size/BTU output on a home gas range.

This is the sort of thing that I would try myself, but not recommend to others.

Before I do try it, I think I want to order a "replacement" of the little brass nozzle so that I know I have a spare before I potentially ruin a burner on my nice new stove.

I've read about people doing this and succeeding, but, one guy said "if I try to run the stove with the burner turned up all the way now the flames are about two feet high". Most people's range hoods are not going to be safe with 2 foot high flames shooting out of their stove!

I really hope nobody burns their house down trying something like this. There are laws limiting the output of the burners on "home" stoves and there are safety codes regulating the installation of higher capacity "professional" stoves that home buyers do sometimes purchase for home use. For one thing, the higher output commercial stoves are supposed to be installed further away from the back wall, require certain types of ventilation hoods, etc. The law may even require some type of automatic/emergency fire extinguisher equipment also be installed wherever such stoves are installed.

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My Samsung gas range came with a second set of gas flow limiting tiny nozzles that screw in to adjust the range for propane (it comes setup for natural gas). I'm not sure which set has larger holes? But, at least I know I have a second set and now we know that some stoves come with two sets of the nozzles. I may have to lookup the formula to calculate how much to change the diameter of the hole to increase the flow rate by 10%? However, the "power burner" on my stove seems too wide to be good for use on small pans. I'd like to find a "power burner" that's not wide. – Christopher Mar 22 at 3:17

DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME, unless you are prepared to put out a big fire. I have tried this at home and it does work. I love to cook in a wok, but traditional stoves don't make this easy. Traditional western stoves are made to cook with traditional flat bottomed pans, not round bottomed woks. So to make wok cooking more enjoyable I have modified my outdoor, dirty kitchen stove.

The stove I have outside is hooked up to the same gas source as the one inside my indoor kitchen. What makes this stove a bit different from the one inside, is one can take off the cast iron covers to the burners. Thus allowing the gas to come out as one big flame instead of being spread out for a flat bottomed pan. The problem is that the fire is not really controllable and is very easily blown out if too high, too low or just a sudden gust of wind blows the flame out.

The pro is that one can cook in a round bottomed wok, on a western gas stove with just a modified wok ring and a ton of fire coming out. It really puts out a lot of heat, but since it is outside, I don't worry about too much smoke or being too enclosed that makes the oil vapours dangerous. I also have my trusty fire extinguisher, wok cover and water at the ready to put out any unwanted fire. I'm not encouraging this particular modification on your stove at home.

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Stoves are different, our frigidaire has removable jets below the burner plates((propane or natural)). You could increase them slightly however you may lose the ability to simmer if drilled out to large.

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