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How to make my stove burner smaller

My stove has 4 units that are all the same size. When I put it on low it still is way too hot! Any suggestions? (I rent... so a new stove isn't really an option... I can't wait til I can buy my own perfect stove!) Any DIY ideas?!
Thanks!

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  1. K80k,

    So do you want to make your burner smaller as your title suggested or weaker as your description suggested. I assume you have a gas stove. A gas stove typically is more powerful than an electrical stove, but many gas burners have no real "low" setting.

    One remedy is to use a wok ring. This will raise the distance between your pot and the stove and therefore lessen the thermal power:

    http://www.amazon.com/Wok-Ring/dp/B00...

    If you really want to lower it by a lot, you can use a more opened one, but make sure you don't put a heavy pot on this, because it has less support:

    http://www.amazon.com/Joyce-Chen-J31-...

    Needless to say, you really do not have to use a wok ring. Anything which can raise your cookware above the heating element will have the lessen the effective heat.

    1. depending on what type of pot you are using, the only thing i can think of is using a different material, one that is less efficient as far as heat transfer

      1. Haven't used them but maybe a "flamer tamer" or "heat diffuser" would help? There's several different types on Amazon and I've seen them at some stores.

        1 Reply
        1. re: islandkim

          k80k,

          Islandkim's heat diffuser is a great idea. I assume you want to reduce the heat to do some slow cooking or simmering. A heat diffuser not only slightly lower the temperature, its main function is to even the heat out on its surface and eliminating heat spot. Excellent for low and slow cooking.

          However, if you are only interested in lower the heat for a fast task, like melting butter, then a heat diffuser is not suitable. Because typical heat diffuser are made of thick metal, it will take a long before heating up the heat diffuser and then heating up your cookware.

        2. I think a 'Flame tamer' that one places on top of the burner is the best way to go as mentioned earlier in this thread.

          1. k80k: "When I put it on low it still is way too hot! Any suggestions?"

            One word: bain marie (.a.k.a. double boiler). A bain marie enables you to do other tasks, too, like melt chocolate.

            1. Set the grate from one eye on top of another....pan on top....Nothing to buy.

              Fun!

              1. We have the same problem with our gas stove. Flame tamer is definitely the way to go - it's not a heavy piece of metal, just a stamped sheet-metal gadget that elevates the pot a bit and also has baffles that funnel the heat away from it. Cheap and effective. We have a couple of them and stack one on the other for very, very low heat.

                1. A cheap cheerful way is to put a smaller pot inside a big frying pan.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Paulustrious

                    Would it ruin the frying pan? Because it will be heated dry.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      Not in my experience. I dry roast spices all the time.

                      Also, he won't have it on high - that would be defeating the OP's original purpose of reducing the heat. I've used this technique when making yoghurt trying to maintain milk at 170-180 F for 20 minutes. And remember, the inside pan is a heat sink for the outside one.

                  2. k80k,

                    You didn't mention if you're working with a gas or electric range. If it's electric, you can try one of the simmer rings (a/k/a "flame tamer"; kinda like tissue and Kleenex ;-). It might provide some relief.

                    However if you have a gas range, instead of messing around with some of the aforementioned hacks, why don't you just adjust the burner? There's plenty of information out there on how to do it -- remove the knob, and use a thin screwdriver to turn the screw until your desired flame height is achieved. Done.

                    If you don't feel comfortable doing that, you can call your gas/utility company. Almost every gas company in the U.S. will make the adjustment for free, and will check everything else to ensure that it's running optimally...

                    1. Sorry I wasn't clear, this is a gas stove and I want to make the heat weaker. The gas stove at my last apartment had two burners with smaller heat elements so that it where I am coming from. Thanks for all the suggestions! I do use a double boiler for melting chocolate but I never thought about using it for anything else... I don't know how well it would work for a grilled cheese ;)

                      I will look into the 'flame tamer', I'd never heard of that before!

                      Thanks again everyone! I knew I could count on the Chowhounds!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: k80k

                        I have a heat diffuser by Ilsa similar to this one:

                        http://www.amazon.com/Ilsa-7-Inch-Cas...

                        I have had it for several years and am happy with its performance.

                        1. re: k80k

                          k80k,

                          Can you later update us about your experience on your flame tamer? I think it will work for you and should be better than heat diffuser because there will not be a lag time. However, please update us.

                        2. The simmer mat is made exactly for this...I have one & it works very well...it's sturdier & seems much better made than cheaper ones I've had in the past...

                          http://www.amazon.com/IMCG-SimmerMat/...