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I need a new range. (DCS, Viking, or Wolf)

c
cocheese Sep 29, 2009 04:49 PM

I have been following this thread http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/489878. Frankly, a lot of it soars over my head. I was hoping some of you might be able to dumb it down for me. Though it seems very hot, I don't know why or why not I would *need* 22,000 btu burners.

Here's the story:

My wife and I have been wanting to get a new, high-end gas range for years but told ourselves we would have to wait for ours to break. Our lucky day finally arrived! Our crapola electric Kenmore bit the dust.

Not knowing much about these sorts of things, we agreed that we wanted a "good" one. The local dealer sells DCS, Viking, and Wolf as their higher end offerings. We cook nearly every night and want to get something that will last a long time. We do lots of roasted veggies, pasta, sauteed veggies (Swiss chard is a fav), broiled/baked fish and chicken, bread, cookies, etc... All normal stuff I guess.

We are stuck to a 30" free-standing since that is how the kitchen is set up and we don't want to remodel it right now.

My question: what features should we look for? Which of these brands would be best for a family of 4 that likes to cook a lot? Do I want a dual fuel? Do I need a self cleaning function?

Thanks for the help!

  1. j
    joe_the_cook Sep 30, 2009 05:02 AM

    Cocheese,
    I clicked the link you provided, but it seems dead. But here's what I know.
    I also had to wait for my GE all in one oven-range-microwave to break. Actually I waited long past that. I was able to sometimes get it going by kicking it or forcefully yanking the control knobs back and forth. But that's another story.
    I remodeled my kitchen about four years ago. Having read obsessively about ranges and ovens and visiting every display within 50 miles I finally decided on a 36 in" all gas six burner Viking Range in cobalt blue and a seperate built in stainless steel Viking electric wall oven. So I have two ovens now. Here's some advise.
    Get the dual fuel range with self cleaning. The all gas models are less costly (mine was a difference of about $1400). I thought all gas would be better just because I really like gas stove tops. It's not. I use my electric wall oven 99.99% of the time. I should note that the wall oven IS self cleaning. This makes a huge difference in pre heating time. The reason being that the non- self cleaning gas oven does not have much insulation. I guess the geniuses at Viking figured "why bother insulating it. It's not self cleaning". Also the door is nowhere near as tight fitting as the self cleaning wall oven. Again, they thought it wasn't necessary. .......Now remember that my gas range is 36 inches. The oven is huge. But still, the 30 incher that you are thinking about would have similar problems. Get the dual fuel self cleaning model.
    Although my Viking range is beautiful, and I use the gas stove top several times per day, the oven has become a very expensive storage cabinet for my cookware. It takes forever to pre-heat and when it does the room temperature goes up considerably due to the lack of insulation. And I live in a very hot climate.

    Another thing to think about:
    Any one of the ranges you mentioned are going to require a professional style range hood for ventilation. The little toy fan that you probably have above your Kenmore is not going to cut it. Make sure that you get good information and installation for that. All those btu's have to go somewhere. I made a mistake with mine. Although I did a lot of research and paid $1300 on sale for my 600 cfm all stainless 42" Vent-A-Hood (and I installed it myself) it really doesn't exhaust all the heat and smoke especially when I'm frying. I should have put in at least a 900 cfm vent. To put this all in perspective most vent hoods that are installed above old Kenmore type electric ranges are typically about 100 cfm.
    Do your homework on this.
    Good luck with your project. If you need more help let me know. I am well versed on kitchen remodeling and appliances. Mine should be paid off in another 100 years. LOL.
    Joe

    6 Replies
    1. re: joe_the_cook
      Paulustrious Sep 30, 2009 08:53 AM

      The OP included a period at the end of the URL. Here is what it should be...

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/489878

      1. re: joe_the_cook
        c
        cocheese Sep 30, 2009 11:02 AM

        joe_the_cook,

        Thanks a ton for the info! Yes, we like to use the oven quite a bit for cookies, breads, and baking meats and veggies. I KNOW that it would drive my wife bananas if it didn't work properly. I would not have thought about the connection between self cleaning and the issues you mentioned. The hood is another thing that I did not consider. Since the current hood also houses the microwave, we'll likely have to do some juggling to fit a proper hood in there.

        Anyway, thanks a TON for the insight. This is just what I was looking for. We are headed to the appliance store today to see what they have and talk to them about installation, etc...

        1. re: cocheese
          j
          joe_the_cook Sep 30, 2009 03:10 PM

          OK. I can open the link now. Thanks Paulustrious.

          cocheese: I was afraid that you might have the microwave/ vent fan.
          Unless the existing microwave electrical circuit is currently dedicated only to the microwave/ fan, you are going to have to install a new electrical circuit to the new vent hood. You also have to install the properly sized vent out through the roof. Don't even consider using the existing vent unless it's relatively new and at least the minimum size required by the range . Ventilation is often overlooked by people. Big mistake.
          Don't forget that you also need a gas line to the prospective range.

          Joe

          1. re: joe_the_cook
            c
            cocheese Sep 30, 2009 03:43 PM

            Yes, it is the dreaded microwave/vent combo. That said, the vent does not even work well with the current range, which is far less powerful than its replacement. The circuit for the micro wave is just a GFI plug, so hopefully that will work for the larger vent. You are correct, a new vent will need to go up through the roof, thus necessitating a mini-remodel of the cooking part of the kitchen. We've got the gas line going in next week along with an outlet for the grill which sits on the outside the kitchen on the deck. No more bottles. My wife and I are considering our options as the microwave will have to be replaced with a countertop model. Options, options. We are also thinking of putting in either a 36" or 48" while we are at it.

            These things always trigger a domino effect of changes, don't they?

            Thanks again for the help. I REALLY appreciate it!

            1. re: cocheese
              j
              joe_the_cook Oct 6, 2009 11:11 AM

              "The circuit for the micro wave is just a GFI plug, so hopefully that will work for the larger vent."

              NO. It will not. As mentioned before, you need a dedicated circuit preferably at 20 amps. These hood have big motors. The gfi circuit is probably part of the existing kitchen circuit. It already has a large load on it. Do yourself a favor and call an electrician to check it out. I know what I'm talking about. I was in the biz for 35 years.

              1. re: joe_the_cook
                Paulustrious Oct 14, 2009 10:26 AM

                If the circuit is to current code then the microwave will be on a dedicated circuit. However, we both know that is not necessarily true.

                Assuming that it is currently wired as a dedicated circuit, and the microwave will be departing from that circuit then the 15amp circuit meets code in the US and Canada. (AFAIK, there is no code requirement for a hood to be on a 20 amp circuit.)

                Domestic range hoods rarely draw more than 8 amps, and that is at start-up. For example the Vent-A-Hood 1100 CFM models draw about 6 amps and that is more than adequate for most domestic applicances.

      2. r
        rich51 Sep 30, 2009 05:18 PM

        a 30" pro is fairly limited, most pro will not offer self cleaning oven for example, we just replaced our 30" with a top frigidaire,made by same co. as electroluxe, only a few weeks but seems very good, the pro lines really need more care and installation, the home units really seem better suited for most ppl. also if you ask around the life expectancy on any including high end is only 8-10 yr. ,too much extra for what is considered short life expectancy. i for one would not give up self cleaning. there aren't too many comps. out there, ge, whirlpool-which owns a bunch inc maytag,jennair kitchenaid etc.,electroluxe and frigidaire are the same parent co

        1. Fritter Oct 1, 2009 03:52 AM

          IMO dual fuel for most is a serious waste of money. Not only will you pay considerably more for the unit but you then must consider the cost of dual hook ups (gas/220) if you do not have both in place now. The primary benefit of DF is that with an electric oven the temperature fluctuates less. This was a feature that was developed for professional bakers but in a home range is pretty much just marketing to get you to spend more. You simply can not compare a wall oven to a free-standing range. So you don't get confused you should also know that ALL 36" range ovens take noticeably longer to heat than 30" range ovens. All SC ovens irrespective of brand will have more insulation than standard ovens. If you opt for an electric oven you lose the gas broiler which IMO is a very nice feature when you want it.
          I don't think DCS compares well to Wolf or Viking but that's just me.
          As far as self cleaning goes it's a very nice feature unless you enjoy stuffing your head in an oven wiping up black gunk all day and buying several cans of aerosol oven cleaner several times a year at about $5 a can.
          At home a SC oven is a must for me.
          The other thing you will want to consider is if you want open burners or sealed. Open burners arguably lose some BTU. They get billed as being "easy" to clean which is pure non-sense. They are simply cheaper to manufacture. Spill something on a sealed burner and have it burn. Then try to clean right next to the burner.
          Open burners have removable burner bowls and spills either get caught in the burner bowl or fall through to the drip pan like a true commercial range. This is far easier to clean.
          Viking no longer offers an open burner self cleaning oven in 30" but they do have a sealed burner self cleaning range in 30" as well as an open burner with a standard oven.
          In regards to hood systems and CFM's no one else can give you solid advice about what you need on the internet. Every home is different and whether or not you can vent to the exterior at all or if you must make a 30' run through the roof or a 1' run through an exterior wall will have a huge impact on how much CFM you need. Every 90 degree turn your exhaust venting makes you lose a considerable amount of CFM. Consult a professional installer BEFORE you buy a hood.
          Of course you will need a 30" hood and generally 600 CFM is minimum.
          What I can tell you about cost is that before I bought my Viking 9 years ago I was killing a $2500 range every five years. With the kitchen Aid the only reason I got five years was thanks to an extended warranty. At this point I believe I am slightly ahead of the curve by buying a professional style range Vs a standard home owner unit. Did I need one? No
          But it sure is nice cooking on a product you like and enjoy. ;

          1 Reply
          1. re: Fritter
            Fritter Oct 4, 2009 07:49 AM

            "Open burners arguably lose some BTU. They get billed as being "easy" to clean which is pure non-sense. They are simply cheaper to manufacture. Spill something on a sealed burner and have it burn. Then try to clean right next to the burner."

            Just to clarify my typo there in the first sentence. I should have said "sealed" burners arguably lose some BTU".
            There is however a lot of debate about that.

          2. d
            Dee S Oct 4, 2009 02:46 PM

            When I was planning my kitchen remodel, I did a ton of research online and found the Appliance forum at That Home Site! wonderful.

            http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/

            I decided on an all gas 30" DCS range and loved it....it's still going strong at the old house 5 years later with no problems. I purchased a 30" dual fuel DCS range for the current house and it's been cranking along for 2+ years with no problem. Both ranges were the older versions so the four outside burners are 16,000 BTU with the center burner at 17,500 BTU. The higher heat is great for all my daily cooking tasks.

            No matter how many opinions you get, the best advice I can give you is to ask your appliance dealer if you can test drive their models in the store. Bring your own pans in and cook something simple.

            Also, heat and electronics don't play nice in the sandbox. My advice is to stay away from electronics and go for simple. Knobs and buttons work just fine.

            1. l
              lggcooks Oct 5, 2009 05:30 PM

              Cocheese,

              I bought a 30" DCS Dual Fuel (MOdel RDS305) in July 2003. The oven has been a living nightmare. The cooktop is amazing, I can't give it enough praise. DCS replaced my unit in April 2005 due to a faulty rack system in the oven. The new one has been better in that regard HOWEVER, as of today I have replaced the thermostat twice because apparently the self clean cooks parts to death. My repair people (two different ones) have advised against using the self clean feature. Duhhhh. Baking for the holidays has been disastrous because the darned thing goes from 0 to 550+ degrees when set at 325! I would never buy one again. I would go with a Viking. I've used a 30" dual fuel for 4 months and loved it. Only bought the DCS instead bcz of the darned 5th burner.

              1. RetiredChef Oct 14, 2009 07:58 AM

                Before I purchased my second Wolf FSR I went to the two largest dealers on the west coast and the largest dealer in the state of Washington and spoke personally to the service manager about repairs.

                They all said the same thing Wolf has far fewer repairs than Viking or DCS – you can draw you own conclusion.

                There is a major consideration about duel fuel that no-one has brought up. What is the cost of gas vs electric in your neighborhood? If I had done my homework when we moved to Washington I should have gotten a duel fuel, it would have saved me money because our price of NG is very high and electricity is very low. Also you can broil in an electric oven, their heating elements are electric – not gas.

                Last comment – self-cleaning ovens – If you are a really messy cook they might be worth it, I just find it easier to cook clean, place pans or foil under items that might drip, etc. I use my oven all the time, but I only clean it once a year, now my exhaust hood – that’s another story.

                1. p
                  peppatty Oct 14, 2009 08:33 PM

                  I have had my 30" wolf all gas open burner free standing range for 10 years and have been very happy with it. It also has infrared broil and convection fan. No problems with the oven, I roast veggies and bake a lot, use high heat wok cooking.

                  1. l
                    logtrail Oct 30, 2009 05:39 PM

                    Bought a 36" DCS in 2005 and got a 5 year warrantee. My wife loves the range. However,
                    in late 2008 had a problem with the broiler and thermostats were replaced twice. Then in Feb 09 the broiler would not work. For the past 8 months 3 repair companies replaced almost all of the working parts and still no broiler. Finally, had a company replace (for a second time) a gas valve, and today a new ingnitor for the oven, which was also misbehaving. The repair man said that it was unusual for a DCS to have problems, but I will probably avoid a DCS in the future. Maybe I got a lemon. But it sure put a crimp in my wife;s culinary creativity.

                    1. b
                      beggsy Oct 30, 2009 07:45 PM

                      Just a side comment on the Wolf - we have a 6 burner dual-fuel and I love it BUT the cooktop is a complete pain in the %#* to clean!

                      1. al b. darned Oct 31, 2009 08:22 PM

                        Depending on the age of your house and what's under your kitchen, the extra weight of one of these ranges may require you to shore up the floor under it. My Mom and Dad had to do this when they put in their Thermador range.

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