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Sep 12, 2008 07:45 AM

going from electric stove to gas

I want so badly to go from my electric stove to gas. We don't have gas in our area so I would have to get propane tank. Don't know where to start or expense(of which hubby is throwing a fit). Any advice, suggestions greatly appreciated.

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  1. I've done this in my last two houses. It's no big deal, and doesn't have to be particularly expensive. You usually have two choices - either the older two-tank system where the entire tank is swapped out by the gas company, or bulk service, where the tank stays in place and is refilled by the gas company. I've only dealt with the latter, and never had a problem. With luck, your building codes will allow you to run seamless copper tubing and you'll have a good place to put the tank - if that's the case the installation cost will really be minimal. The first home I changed over was in a location where building codes required threaded iron pipe, which was obviously more expensive to install, but still well worth it, IMHO. In this area (suburban Boston) the gas companies you need are listed in the Yellow Pages under "Gas-Propane," and obviously they can tell you exactly what you need to do and how much it will cost. After installation, the operation cost is probably higher than electric - the gas itself may be cheaper on a per BTU basis, but for bulk service (at least) you also need to rent the tank - as I recall, I pay about $60 per year for that. Again, well worth it, IMHO.

    Virtually all gas appliances will run on natural gas or propane - most come set up for natural gas, and need to have the pressure regulator adjusted and the orifices replaced with a smaller/larger size - I never can remember which way it goes - for conversion to propane. The conversion is trivial on most ranges and whoever sells you the range should be able to take care of it at no cost.

    There is about a 10% heat output loss from a burner running on propane vs. the same burner running on natural gas. (At least one manufacturer claims their output is the same either way - I don't know whether to believe that). Regardless, I doubt you'll notice the difference, though I guess in general I'd encourage you to get the highest output burners you can afford, and if you don't already have a good hood this would be a good time to get one.

    4 Replies
    1. re: FlyFish

      Thanks so much for the info. By hood to you mean exhaust? I have a microwave over the stove. Will that not work? I've also been told gas will cause sticky in the kitchen, is this true?

      1. re: wandak

        Yes, I meant an exhaust hood. If you can possibly swing it, cost and location considered, I'd recommend moving the microwave to a better location and using that space for an exhaust hood. There are those who claim that gas produces unhealthy byproducts when it burns and those should be exhausted. I'm not so sure I believe that - I'm sure that the combustion produces some things that could potentially be harmful, but I question whether they are actually harmful in the typical home environment. Regardless of that, it's really nice to be able to remove water vapor, smoke, and cooking odors when you want or need to. I'm not aware of any reason that gas combustion should result in a sticky film on surfaces (I'm assuming that's what you mean), and I certainly haven't experienced anything like that - and I'm currently running a 48" range with 8 15,000 BTU burners.

        1. re: FlyFish

          In fact, I believe in most areas it is required by law (fire codes) that you have an exhaust hood of appropriate size and power if you cook (inside) with gas.

          1. re: OCEllen

            I don't know about "most areas," but that's the first I've heard of that and I know lots of gas range installations in this area that don't use a hood (not that I'd recommend it). The propane gas installation people will certainly know what the local codes require, and you need to get them involved in any case, so you can find out well ahead of time.

    2. The microwave has an exhaust. Is that good enough. Sorry for being so nit picky but I just don't know. Also 48" (wow)!!! What I would do for that. Only if I hit the lottery. Thanks again in advance.

      1 Reply
      1. re: wandak

        Most of the exhaust fans that are part of over-the-stove microwaves are too anemic to do much good - I think something in the range of 100 cfm is about standard. They also tend to be loud. Better than nothing, I suppose, but not much. I'd still recommend getting a "real" hood if you can, and if not, well you just need to go with what ya got.

        For comparison, my hood is variable from 300 to 1000 cfm. It runs through a 10" duct to an external blower on the roof. At 300, you can hardly hear that it's running. At 1000 it can reverse the flow in my fireplace if I'm not careful to crack a window first. I should have had a makeup air vent installed near the stove, and may yet do that.

      2. We're in the same boat. Do you have a "range" or a "cooktop"? If you have a "cooktop" I would think about going with an induction cooktop. You would be money ahead going that way and still have the control of gas, probably more control than gas. If you have a "range" induction units are available but they are still very expensive.

        Be sure to analyze cost's costs between propane and electric. It's running neck and neck, right now, with the edge going to electric. Until fuel prices drop, if they ever do, the edge is going to be electric.

        The changeover from NG to LPG is, as stated, quite easy. Just a regulator and changing the size of the orifice. Inlet pressure on NG is about a third less than LPG. Power output is so close that you can call it the same, with any edge going to LPG but you are talking hundredths of percentage points. It depends quite a bit on the efficiency of the burners in question.

        1. With regard to the question of a hood or a microwave/hood combination: definitely get the actual hood. We recently moved houses and went from a natural gas range without a hood of any kind to a smooth-top electric range and a mid-level hood (mid-level by price, not quality, that is) and the difference is astounding. The hood does such an effective job of keeping cooking smells, oils, water vapor and such out of the rest of the kitchen and house that we're constantly surprised. Further, a gas or propane range has the added issue that the by products of the combustion can temporarily bind to cooking oils and vapor and carry them further in your kitchen owing to heat and convection. That is, everything in your kitchen will be coated with an eventually sticky layer of stuff and then dust (well, everything horizontal, anyhow). A good hood can prevent almost all of that.

          If you've got the space, money and such, go for it. I love gas.