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Is cooking on propane dirty??

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  • valrn Feb 7, 2007 10:33 PM
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has anyone experienced cooking on propane being dirty? I have always used gas and now have to move where only propane is available and someone told me it's dirty and leaves residue everywhere? Are they just used to coooking with electric? I LOVE my gas stove and hate the idea of going back to electric but don't want to end up with suet or residue everywhere. Any thoughts?

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  1. I've cooked on propane for about the last 25 years. Compared to natural gas, it's common to have a little yellow at the flame tips, and as a result there can be some minor and easily removed carbon deposited on the bottom of pots and pans. Other than that, I don't see any problem - and certainly nothing that could be described as "soot and residue everywhere."

    1. Millions of people own propane grills. I'm sure they don't have any problems.

      DT

      1. That's just crazy talk! I had a house once that used propane for heat too, and although it wasn't hermetically sealed I sure didn't see dirt all over (except for the mud we tracked in since we were in the boondocks). Maybe it's someone's excuse for not doing their normal housecleaning? After I switched from electric, my pots got cleaner, since it was easier to control the heat and not burn the bottoms.

        1. Dictionary says "suet: the hard fat about the kidneys and loins in beef and mutton that yields tallow." Hard to figure out how a propane flame could spew that around the kitchen.

          That being said....I have cooked with propane for years and don't discern any difference between it and natural gas. However, make sure the settings on your stove/oven are set for use with propane, not natural gas, or your appliance will not work correctly.

          1. Everybody uses propane where I'm from in Maine; before I moved there, I had used natural gas for years and years. There was no difference in the cleanliness factor, but I thought the propane flame wasn't as hot as with natural gas. That very well may have had more to do with the stove than the fuel, though.

            1. After 45 years with natural gas in NJ, moved and all that was available was electric or install propane. I chose the latter. I use a Viking cooktop and ampleased as punch with the results. I see no difference in BTU's generated and the simmer setting works great as well. If you notice a yeelow tip on the flame, as someone noted above, you may need to adjust the gas/air mix. Likewise, as stated above make sure the stove is installed with the propane diaphram versus the natural gas diaphram.

              1. With regard to the points others have raised . . .

                If you're planning to move and reinstall the range you have now, you'll need to have the pressure regulator set for LP gas and the orifice for each burner will need to be relaced with the correct size for LP gas. Neither is a big deal and I've made the adjustments myself in the past, but if you're not fully comfortable doing such things you'll need to get a technician in. If you're buying a new range, most come pre-set for natural gas and will need to have the same adjustments made.

                LP gas has more heat energy per unit weight than natural gas, but its burning characteristics (flow rate and flame temperature, among other factors) result in about a 10% loss in heat output - e.g., a burner rated at 10,000 BTU/hr for natural gas will produce about 9,000 BTU/hr with LP. There's no way around that, but the apparent difference will be minor in actual cooking.

                Excessive yellow in the flame indicates incomplete combustion (which is why it will deposit carbon soot on your pans) and can/shouild be reduced by adjusting the gas/air mixture. As I indicated, it's not always possible to remove all yellow from an LP gas flame and a little yellow at the tip is not necessarily indicative of a problem.

                1. Regardless of the heat source (gas, propane, electric) I make it a practice to clean kitchen surfaces regularly to ensure there is no build up of anything. Cooking residues of all sorts can build up, so once a month I wipe down to keep things sparkling.

                  1. Do you suppose that the person who related the proane-is-dirty information could have been confusing LP gas with heating oil? I can remember renting a house with oil heat many years ago and nothing ever stayed clean. The silver tarnished and there was soot above the registers.

                    I have both a gas range and an electric range and have never noticed the area near the gas being any more or less clean (or dirty) than the area around the electric stove.

                    1. MIL has propane and it is clean. The only time I have experienced dirt with propane was using a propane burner for camping.

                      1. -----

                        I have witnessed a soot condition being caused by grease or oil vapors being drawn up by the air mix horn from under the cook-top assembly.

                        The true cause in the one case, wasn't caused by an unsanitary operator, but by an old timer technician that smeared some grease under the cook-top cavity.

                        -----

                        1. My propane gas stove burns dirty. I can boil a pot of water and then have to clean up black specks on the stove surface. I've used natural gas, propane and electric. I would never go back to electric. Gas cooks so much more efficiently. I just don't like the extra mess the propane leaves.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: PattySea

                            I think something may be wrong with your stove or propane supply. I've had a couple different propane ranges and neither did that.

                            1. re: PattySea

                              This is the result of incomplete combustion. Likely you just need to burn a little less rich or more lean, i.e. you just need more air in your air/fuel mix.

                              1. re: RhonelyInsanediego

                                Agree, the air fuel mix is off if you are getting soot. This could be dirty, or worn orifices, wrong orifices if it was converted, bad regulator, etc..

                              2. re: PattySea

                                I cook on LP every day and have never seen black soot on my cookwear bottoms and never in the air. You may need service to correct that problem

                              3. I never noticed a difference when we lived in a house with propane.

                                1. I have a propane stove at our cottage. It has a white top and I have never noticed any soot or "dirt" on the surface of the stove or any residue on my pots.

                                  1. I have propane to heat my house and for my gas stove and clothes dryer because I live on a lot of land, far from gas lines and have a propane tank. It is perfectly clean and I love it. The only kind of "dirty" propane I have seen is camp stoves. There was an electric range that came with the house - I HATED it. I love cooking with gas, and switched that out pronto, and have been thrilled ever since.

                                    1. One thing I was told to watch for when ordering a gas range or cooktop was to avoid gas burners that you have to convert from natural to LP. There are a few companies that manufacture LP burners without the need to convert. The BTU output of the burners converted from natural to LP gas tends to be reduced.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Windsor

                                        I'm a little unclear about that. AFAIK, from a technical standpoint, just about any burner can be converted from the one to the other -- there is really no such thing as a burner that's manufactured to be one or the other, unless the manufacturer purposely set out to prevent the buyer from being able to convert. It's mostly a question of the size of the orifice for each burner, and that's a small and easily changed part.

                                        The drop in BTU's is mostly due to differences in the characteristics of propane vs. natural gas. I have propane (unfortunately the gas lines don't extend to my mountaintop) but the range puts out plenty enough power for me at least.

                                      2. If you are 'out in the boondocks' where the closest natural gas line is at least a mile away, cherish your propane option, because when you lose electric power (and this WILL happen), you'll still have a way to cook on a stove top.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: shallots

                                          At my mountain house in Cuchara, Colorado, elevation 9000 feet, heat is essential. I had a propane furnace with a 500 gallon tank, and 7 backup electric heaters. All of them served a useful purpose. Stuff happens.

                                        2. I have cooked with propane for 10 years. I cooked with natural gas before that. I can't tell the difference.