Range, BTUs, and Propane Tanks

eg_nhJuly 3, 2013

I've read as many threads as I can on pro-style ranges. I'm about to make my selection, and want opinions about a couple of questions I haven't really seen addressed in depth elseshwere.

I'm going to end up with a 36" dual fuel freestanding range- I like Blue Star or the Aga Legacy, but not quite sure what we'll go with pending availability, pricing, etc.

To be honest, I actually don't think I really need 22000 BTUs. Given that, I'm wondering if going with something with that much firepower (i.e. the Blue Star) is a bad idea because we live in the middle of nowhere and don't have a gas line. This thing will have to run off of our existing 100 gallon propane tank, which exists to support our emergency generator.

So, my questions:
1. Is there any reason to be concerned about running a gas range off a propane tank (a few other threads here suggest no)?
2. Does that answer change if the range is maxing out at around 15,000 BTUs (AGA) vs. 22,000 (Blue Star)?
3. Since I'm not doing a lot of intense stir frying, etc., I really think I can live without the BTUs. As much as I like the look of the Blue Star and its American manufacturing, what other options would you recommend as a less powerful machine? I can admit that I like the look/styling of the pro ranges- if only the "downmarket" options didn't have such a cheap look and feel--I really think the power of less expensive brands is more suitable to me, I just can't get over how cheap they look (and appear to be based on ratings). I know that's vain, but I want this thing to last and I don't want to hate seeing it for the next 15 years. I cook a lot, so quality and functionality are really important.

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AGA Legacy is dual fuel only. Electric oven and gas(or propane) stovetop.

Blue Star only makes all gas(or propane) ranges not dual fuel.

Relative to 100 gallon propane tank the difference between 22k btu and 15btu or 7k btu is miniscule and irrelevant.

You can always turn down the Super Nova burner down to 15k btu but you can't turn up the Legacy burner up to 22k btu.

Nobody "NEEDS" a Bluestar nor an AGA Legacy.

Our grandmonthers managed to feed our families on 8-10k btu burners.

22k BTU burners can be very useful for techniques other than stir-frying. Sautéing, searing, grilling, boiling large amounts of water, and quicker recover times. Dropping cold food into hot pans lowers the temperature of the oil and/or pan.

Deep frying for example. If you have oil at ideal 350 degrees and you drop cold chicken the temp of the oil drops and you are no longer "deep frying " but paraboiling. Instead of crisping the exterior the oil is seeping deep into the chicken meat. Gross. Powerful 22k btu burners help you to quickly get back up to 350.

In addition there is the differences in the evenness of heat between a traditional open burner and a sealed burner like the AGA Legacy. With sealed burners it will be hotter around the edges of the pan while open burners are a lot more even across the pan.

Cheaper options? American Range Performer Series(an open burner range made in Southern California) 36" starts at $5k and Bluestar makes the RCS with max 15k btu burners.

Cheaper you start looking at Mexican and Chinese made ranges like the Chinese NXR at $3200 for 36" propane model.

The cheaper American made ranges begin at a much lower price point, in other words cheap stuff.

This post was edited by deeageaux on Wed, Jul 3, 13 at 19:15

    Bookmark   July 3, 2013 at 5:07PM
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The propane tank size is driven by two factors: (a) how long one needs it to supply fuel before it can be resupplied, and (b) how much surface area it presents internally to allow liquid propane to become gaseous at the temperature of the liquid in the tank. For generators, (b) may be the driving factor, and here in southern NH I require a 500 gal horizontal tank to supply my generator under the lowest likely temperature slightly underground.

If you want to be able to use the stove and the generator in an emergency (and I would), then the combined BTU requirements should drive the propane vapor generating capability and hence tank capacity.

The other related issue is that the higher BTU stoves require larger gas lines than wimpy stoves.


    Bookmark   July 4, 2013 at 11:05AM
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"Living in the middle of nowhere" suggests working backwards from service providers in the area to the products they commonly service. If the diners and small restaurants in the area get along with Garland or similar stoves they must have access to people who could keep a Blue Star doing its thing.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2013 at 3:48PM
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