The following is a comprehensive Dollar Bill Test. Use less test points for a quicker test.
Dome alignment is an important task one should perform on their egg(s). This check is very important before the first use or after the egg has been moved away from its location.
First of all visually check your alignment for any visual gaps between base and dome. If there are gaps stop and correct the alignment before using your egg. Also, visually check your gasket area for under or overbite.
Use a dollar bill or some 20# printer paper cut the width of a dollar bill. This can also be done with one piece of paper or bill.
Place those pieces between the dome and base of the egg at 12, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 o’clock around your egg at least check each of those locations instead of using 6 pieces of paper.
Use a rating system of 0 to 5:
‘0’ - being no resistance and or being able to push the test sheet back between the dome and base of the egg freely.
‘1’ - very easy pull - very little resistance at all
‘2’ - easy pull – some slight resistance
‘3’ - medium resistance
‘4’ – tuff pull – a strong resistance
‘5’ - very hard pull and or paper tearing if you continue to pull
Perform the test and record the resistance at those check points. I suggest you keep the reference for future reference if needed.
The following is only a guide from my experience.
A lowest rating of 0, 1 or 2 – your dome is not aligned properly and your gasket is at high risk when using the egg at mid to high tempetures. If you cook make sure you keep your lump below the fire ring. Keep your dome temp below 400° - 500°. These safety steps may not insure you do not have adhesive/gasket failure.
A lowest rating of 3 - in my opinion, is a minimal acceptance for dome alignment. It would be advisable to cook under 550°.
A lowest rating of 4 – I would consider this good a good alignment and would not hesitate to venture into higher temperature ranges.
A lowest rating of 5 – I have not been able to achieve this level on any of my eggs on all 6 points. Of course this is the ideal situation. However, it does not insure you will not experience gasket stress or failure.
A discussion of adhesive/gasket failure.
At the time of this writing the seal of an egg consists of an adhesive membrane and a piece of felt on the bottom of the dome as well in reverse on top of the base of all eggs. The purpose of the felt is to cushion the dome to base and to seal when the egg is in operation. The felt seal also helps conserve lump when shutting down the egg after being used.
Many eggs are used when they have poor alignment, worn gaskets and in some cases no gaskets at all. There are all types of non egg gaskets also being used. There is a new material that is being tested by BGE which is called Nomex and at this time available from BGE directly. If you are not sure if you should install Nomex contact BGE directly. They can advise you of the best choice.
The following is controversial and there have been many discussions. There are several reasons adhesive and or a gasket will fail. It is my experience that most failures are due to the way the egg is being used.
The Naked Whiz Site has a great study of temperatures in and around the gasket area of the egg and is a very interesting study.
The closed dome on the base will somewhat protect the gasket components and help keep the gasket from failing. It would seem the ceramics act somewhat as a heat sink. Keep in mind the ceramics can also act as a conductor in some cases. Bad alignment prevents ceramic protection.
In my experience if the temperature of the adhesive gets much above 475° the adhesive will liquefy and give way fail. If for some reason the heat of the gasket continues to climb and I am not sure of this temp but I am thinking apx. 900° the gasket material will melt.
If you hear a metal click when closing your lid, most likely your bands were not put on correctly and or have slipped. This needs to be corrected.