Best Range all gas...grill top or not

restore497July 2, 2012

I hate buying appliances but we are remodeling our kitchen and are going to either a 36 or 48 inch range. I want an all gas range and am debating whether to get a grill top. They are a pain to clean and I heard smoke up your home no matter what kind of vent you have. I really need reccomendations.

I am currently leaning towards bluestar. Any thoughts?

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I say yes to the grill, especially if you live in a climate where you might prefer to be inside, seasonally. If you have a properly configured ventilation system, you will have zero issues with smoking up the house.

I have a 48" range (CC), a 54" hood with a 1500cfm external blower. Even with passive make-up air, I have never had a smoke issue whether grilling, broiling, deep frying or wokking.

I just cleaned my grill for the first time this weekend. I've been using it at least biweekly for the last 10 months. So that's that's almost a year. I lined it with foil before first use, so clean up wasn't too bad. If I recall correctly, the BS is about the same.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 4:24PM
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I second the grill!! I have been figuring out how to move cabinets around so I can retrofit my kitchen to accommodate a grill!! That being said - it depends on your cooking style and what you want to cook. My previous downdraft range had a grill and I used it at least twice a week, A grill is great for quick meals and for cooking tasty low calorie dinners. If you are remodeling and have the space, I would definitely get one.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 10:09PM
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A grill requires approx twice the venting capacity (cfm) as all-burners does. That may not make much of a difference to you, but in some jurisdictions (like mine), the make-up air system required to meet code can cost as much as the range. So check it out before you decide, if you can't afford expensive surprises.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 12:28AM
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Sophie Wheeler

Yeah, choosing the venting and makeup air (and ERV) goes hand in hand with choosing a range. It's no good having perfecly charred zuchinni if you freeze to death cooking it or backdraft the fireplace and end up dead.

And to be perfectly clear, if you choose any of your range choices, with or without a grill, you will be in the realm of a high powered vent and makeup air. However, if you choose a grill, you will need a lot more air flow and that definitely equals a ERV if you are in a cold climate or you'll very quickly exhaust all of the home's heated air outside. Double to triple the budget you have in mind to be able to take care of all components of the equation.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 9:47AM
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Some points

1) Grills are not that difficult to clean if you line the box with tin foil. Grills expand the options for taste and styles of cooking.

2) Make up air may well be needed, but lets be realistic with pricing, a Makeup air unit would cost between $100 - $400 ish, the forced air system would act as the ERV if its wired to and run via the return air duct and the air circulation fan.

3) To Install Passive or Forced via Return air is no way double the price of the range or even close.

4) If you go for a 36" Range with a grill I would normally recommend a 1200 cfm blower, with 6 burner and an easy duct run 600 is normally enough. If you go for a 48" range I always recommend 1200 cfm

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 11:52AM
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Just to be realistic, I spend over $7K three years ago to install a heated MUA system for 600 cfm. It feeds into my furnace, and definitely needs the pre-heating in winter. The vent hood was another $2K. That was close to double what my range cost.

I don't mind at all waiting for summer to grill outside. I can eat a lot of restaurant-grilled steaks for the cost of bumping up to 1200cfm.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 2:08PM
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Trevor - can you please clarify your statements. I am most likely purchasing a 36 inch CC with grill. I was planning on purchasing a 36 inch, 1100 CFM hood because I don't use burners when I am grilling. I cannot accommodate a wider hood. What do I need to consider regarding ventilation?
What is ERV? What $100-$400 unit do I need to purchase?
Could you please describe exactly what is required?
Thank you.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 10:10PM
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Dumping cold air into the return duct of your HVAC system is a hack that barely works in the most moderate climates. A true ERV will NOT feed into the return duct on a HVAC system because that system cannot actually handle 1200 CFM per minute, either with the air flow restrictions that the ductwork or filters impose or the actual heating of 0 degree air to 68 degrees. An ERV will be on the exhaust duct and will have a heat exchanger to recuperate the heat being ejected to the exterior. It then heats the incoming air with the heat from the exhaust. It's a mini heat pump. And finding one that works with 1200 CFM is VERY expensive and challenging to install.

Anyone who suggests just ducting to your HVAC's intake doesn't really understand modern home construction or how HVAC's or ERV's work. To be fair, there is a LOT of misinformation about makeup air out in the wind as it only recently became part of the building codes, and there are still a lot of people who don't understand the science behind the requirement.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 9:56AM
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Here we go again with the MUA police. I have been using indoor grills for 10 years with a 1400, 600 and now 1200 cfm blower- never had dedicated MUA, I have a window. Works dang good too. If the blower is on low there is no need to open the window, anything more andi crack it. I've never experienced sub zero article death ice or thermonuclear summer heat. Frankly I never really notice the windows cracked.

A grill is an amazing tool to add to any kitchen. I use it all the time and the clean up is a dream. All I do is hit the grates with a grill brush and then put the cover on- done in 30 seconds. I would recommend 1000+cfm. When I had a 600 cfm blower I would not capture all the effluent when there was a lot of smoke. Now with the 1200 over my 48" CC I never have an issue.

BS is an excellent choice, so is CC. It all comes down to what looks you prefer...

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 2:34PM
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You have two option listed above. The object here is to pass code.

1) A very expensive ERV system.

2) The one I suggest via the return air duct and air circulation fan which has passed ALL building inspectors requirements so far in many different states.

You pick $7k installed or about $1k installed, both will pass equally as well as the other......

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 4:10PM
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The object is not just to pass code.
The object is to make sure that people do not depressurize their house and cause a dangerous backdrafting situation. Building inspectors are behind the curve in many parts of the country as these high btu stoves are relatively new on the market and only recently becoming widespread. This combined with modern sealed building technology has the potential for serious consequences if not designed properly.

I have spent a night in a recompression chamber as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning. Not fun but better than taking a dirt nap.

When you are talking about the possibility of carbon monoxide poising the object is not to find the cheapest way out possible.

If you decide to just hope for the best then make sure you buy a small pet like a canary or something. When it dies, you will know it's time to get out of the house.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 12:14AM
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I am well aware of the reasons for Makeup air.

What I mean is.... it will pass code because it works. If the HVAC hook up system does not work it wouldn't not pass code.

I am not saying that people should choose the cheapest way to fix a make up air issue, I am saying you don't have to spend anywhere near $7k for the vast majority of homes, some homes may require an ERV system... but most don't.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 10:23AM
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My entire county now requires heated make up air. Neighboring counties also have the same requirements and I have heard the rest of this state (Michigan) will follow suit. Discharging the makeup air into the return ducts without conditioning first is not allowed here. Many have reported than most counties in Minnesota follow the same code and it is likely that most colder weather climates will do the same. I called several contractors and installed price was close to 7k. Besides the initial expense this unit draws a whopping 10,000 watts when running. I wonder how much it costs to run a 10,000 watt appliance for a couple hours?

Here is an interesting read about makeup air.

If anyone thinks their furnace can keep up with dumping 1200 cfm into the return ducts, think about it this way. Lets assume you have a 2400 square foot house with 10 foot ceilings. Thats 24,000 cubic feet. Your 1200 cfm fan will replace all of the air in your house in 20 minutes. Can your furnace keep up with that? If you are in a cold weather climate you will either have to buy the 7,000 dollar unit, or buy a bigger furnace.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 8:41PM
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In your previous post you said the forced air could act as an ERV in your scenario. How is this ERV? An ERV system is an energy recovery ventilation system. Air is exchange but the heat is recovered. In no way is your system and energy recovery ventilator.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 10:11PM
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Ribs1 .... I was incorrect in saying it could act as an ERV system.

But I still maintain people have two options in the vast majority of homes.. Very often posts on here look on the blackside only, my point is a very expensive ERV system is not the only system On the table. As I am sure you know to this day many states do not require any form of MUA. Eventually all states will enforce the MUA rule.

On the garden web we have some very well informed posters who offer fantastic advice but sometimes make MUA sound very complicated, scary and cost prohibative. But everyone should be aware of MUA and they shouls ask contractors and building inspectors about MUA early in the planning stage.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 10:46PM
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I appreciate your latest response and corrections.
However, I believe that most high end range manufacturers, dealers etc. are trying to either ignore the makeup air issue, or over simplify it. To your credit, it seems that you are actively trying to adapt to these issues.
I disagree with you that using the existing hvac system to condition the makeup air will work in the vast majority of homes. This is actually no different than unconditioned makeup air. You are only changing the path of the makeup air so that the homeowner doesn't feel the cold (or warm) air in the kitchen right away.

I believe your system will only work well in areas with moderate climates. Cold weather states like Michigan and Minnesota, or very warm weather states not so much. It is already against code in many counties and cities in Michigan to use a system like yours. In a short time it will likely not pass code in most other cold weather states, and probably very warm weather states as well.

I also believe that we are all in a situation where building codes have not caught up with Kitchen design trends. Passing an inspection is not nearly as important as safety.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 11:05PM
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