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A Recessed Stovetop Replacement turned out to be quite the challenge, but the end result is awesome. Our RV is now 20 years old. We had noticed that the framework pieces that held the recessed stovetop in place were cracking from heat and starting to separate from the Corian counter top itself. We never took pictures to show, but it was getting us nervous - could just vision the entire stovetop falling down into the drawers and a dangerous gas leak!!
After lots of discussion, we decided to replace the recessed stovetop with an above counter type one that would fit onto the "hole" of the old one. Our old one was the typical 3 burner propane type one, with a counter top opening of 24". We didn't want to deal with trying to rebuild or create a new recessed framework - too much to deal with!!
As we looked for a replacement, the size wasn't the issue, but the new ones all had Thermocouple's on them. if you have a propane stove in your RV, you do not have a Thermocouple - maybe brand new ones do? This is a little device that is mounted within the lower burner assembly and sticks out right next to the flame. When lighting your stove burner, this little device must get hot enough to tell the control knob that the gas is lite and flame is hot so therefore you can release the lighting of the flame knob and adjust the flame to your desired height. If the flame goes out, the sensor loses that flame heat and therefore tells the burner control knob to "shut off the gas - no flame". Great safety feature.
Typical Gas Stove Thermocouple
Thermocouple installed to be heated by flame
Almost - and that's the key word here - impossible to find a stove without the thermocouple. We really, really wanted a stovetop that would be above the counter so we would never have to worry about it falling thru again! So, after lots of research we couldn't find stoves without them. Sooo, we caved and purchased a new stovetop in the $300 range. They ALL have very large burners now so you can cook and burn your food within minutes!!! LOL
And "worser", none of these had a 12 volt "light the flame" system. Another sacrifice!! When going to a "house" type stovetop, they all "assume" you have regular electricity - we do, but we also aren't always hooked up to electric - we like to boondock in our "RV"
The new one arrived and we first checked that it would fit over the counter top hole OK and then started taking the old one out. The first thing we noticed - there was no gas shut off valve installed at the stovetop within the RV!!! Really??? Where was our government protecting me when this was factory installed!?!?! OMG!!!
We shut our main propane tank off and got to work. Getting the old 3 burner recessed assembly out was pretty easy. Once that was out, we then worked on getting the recessed pieces disengaged from the counter top. Now that we are actually doing this - all those framework pieces fought us when trying to remove. Probably Never would have fallen through!! LOL!!!!
We used a heat gun on the seams and a thin, but sturdy, putty knife to wedge and coerce the pieces to separate from the counter top. After about 45 min we had a nice 24" wide hole in our counter top - Yeah!!!
Next was looking at the gas hookup details and off to the hardware store for a shutoff valve, new propane flex hose and some fittings. Once we had the shutoff valve installed, we could then open our tank valve again for the other appliances. After several more trips to the hardware store (naturally!), we had it installed and ready to test.
Luckily, we had those long propane lighters so we could at least light the burner. So, guess what!?!?!? The "Thermocouples" are incredibly safe - why, you ask - because they would not get hot and therefore allow you to release the knob..... %$^(^(^*)!^)^!&^)&@!!!!!! We never had to worry about propane escaping - they wouldn't allow you to let go of the knob - as soon as you did - flame/gas is off!!!! Not only that, but it was the same on 2 more of the 4 burners!!! Wow.... quality at it's best!! Manufacturer was nice and sent replacements. However, when we could get it to stay lite, the flame was very large on the lowest setting and it was not adjustable - guess where this modern device was going!?!!? The trash!!!!
Research is your friend - eventually! Finally, we stumbled across a company that sells:
Meantime - we have no stovetop of any kind!! We had one hot plate and one electric pancake griddle thingy.... are you laughing at us yet?!!? We are - otherwise, we'd be going nuts!!!
Bookmark this page, because if you ever need to find the above featured recessed stovetop replacement, it's really hard to find the manufacturer or a retailer in a search - they need me to do their SEO work for them - that's what I do - Merchant Bottom Line!!!
The manufacturer of this awesome stovetop is Unique Appliances in Canada. They specialize in all types of "Off-Grid" Appliances and even have some solar powered appliances - where have they been all my RV life!?!??
The company that retails these awesome devices is called "Riverbend Home" in New Hampshire. Feels warm and fuzzy already, doesn't it??
Just imagine the size of pots you can now use!! No recessed restrictions - YEAH!!!!
It comes directly with Natural Gas Jets for the burners and a brand new regulator!! Both have to be switched from Natural Gas to Propane. Very easy to do - excellent instructions with pictures - LOL!!
Word of caution - when exchanging out the jets for the propane ones - DO NOT OVERTIGHTEN them..... Yep, you guessed it - I did....
The largest burner has the jet in the side area of the burner casting - not in the bottom like the other 3 burners. I heard a "crack" when I tightened it, but thought all was OK... silly, huh!?!? Especially after all I had been through!!
When I tried to lite that burner in my testing, it was a rather large type of flame up - to say the least.... :(
I contacted Unique directly by email and received a response within 2 hours!!! In this day and age, that's like instantly!! Understood what I did and I purchased a new burner and they sent it out within 24 hours!! All done via email and phone very quickly. Frankly, incredible service.
Bottom Line - if you are ever in the market for a quality and reasonably priced appliance replacement for your RV, take a look at Unique Appliances. They understand what RV'ers want and have the products we need - No Thermocouples, on-site adjustable flame height on lowest setting and a "D" cell battery "light the flame" is part of their awesome Stovetops!
All at a very fair replacement price!!
Thanks Unique Appliances for being such an awesome company!