Running a high end stove on a small propane tank

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Old 09-30-15, 01:03 PM
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Running a high end stove on a small propane tank

I live out in the middle of nowhere in Costa Rica, and I mean MIDDLE OF NOWHERE. I currently have a 30" stove running off of a 20lb propane tank. It works great. I'm looking into upgrading to a high end stove, something like a Viking or Wolf. Appliances here are super expensive if purchased from import companies, so I would have to import privately, which is possible and not difficult. But I cannot seem to find any info on whether I can run a stove like that off a small propane tank. I know the stove would have to be configured for LP, but as I understand it these are usually connected to large underground tanks. Has anyone had experience with this? I've seen larger tanks around, like 50 or 100lbs, so that is also an option. Before having a stove shipped all this way I need to be certain it is possible and that I order the correct equipment. Thank you!
 
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Old 09-30-15, 03:38 PM
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Welcome to the forums! We would need to know more specifically what model stove you are contemplating. a 20 lb tank won't run a stove for very long. The problem you get into with larger tanks is they are cumbersome and difficult to carry to get filled. Even larger tanks, including in ground tanks would require filling on a less frequent basis, but would give you some security in knowing you can cook when you want to. A 20 lb tank running out on my grill is a royal pain, so I can imagine how you would feel running out cooking a 4 course dinner.
 
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Old 09-30-15, 04:22 PM
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I know in the Philippines they keep the tank in the kitchen next to the stove. Is that what you have been doing? Not the safest way certainly but the main reason I ask is if outside you could have a manifold of at least two fifty or one hundred pound tanks and switch between when one runs low.
 
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Old 09-30-15, 04:36 PM
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Propane contains roughly 90,000 btu's per gallon. A 20lb Cylinder holds roughly 4-½ gallons.
90,000 x 4.5 = 405,000 btu's per tank of propane.

A big stove top burner uses from 8,000-20,000 btu's per hour.
A big oven uses roughly 30,000 btu's per hour

You know roughly what the burners and the oven uses but you don't know the time.

You fire up the oven to 350°..... it takes approx 10 minutes to come up to heat. It may run for 3 minutes for every 10 minutes of cooking time. So that would be 10+15=25 minutes of active burner for every hour of baking. That would equate to roughly 13,000 btu's for every cooking hour. 405,000/13,000= 31 hours of oven cooking time.

All theoretical..... exact gas usage is hard to figure.
 
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Old 10-01-15, 06:54 AM
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Hi all! Thanks for your comments so far. @ray2047 you are correct, like the Philippines here it is standard to place a 20lb tank in the kitchen next to the stove Safety is a good point, and I think with the upgrade I'm going to run a line outside behind the house.

Cook time is not really an issue as I'm used to dealing with the short lifespan of tanks. I keep a backup in case the primary runs out while in the middle of cooking a meal. What I'm most concerned about is a) whether it will work, and b) what I need to order. I don't want to ship an expensive stove all the way out here and then find out that it either doesn't work or I didn't order the right equipment.

I'm looking at something like (LP versions):

30"W. Sealed Burner Gas Range (VGCC530) - Viking Range, LLC

or

Wolf Gas Range | GR304 | Sub-Zero & Wolf

I contacted a Wolf showroom and their reply was that they don't have any documentation on running off a propane tank and don't recommend it
 
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Old 10-01-15, 07:08 AM
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Below is the gas requirements for the Wolf model you chose. It says it can be used with propane, but is unclear if the orifices need changed out. Usually an appliance will be shipped with natural gas orifices, but will include optional propane orifices with directions on how to swap them out.

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Old 10-01-15, 07:36 AM
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Your best solution is to ask the manufacturer here in the US. As I'm sure your situation is not a usual one for a propane stove manufactured for US use. They expect a large permanently installed tank.
 
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Old 10-06-15, 05:03 AM
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Cameron,

We have the same type of setup here in Panama. We run a higher end Kitchenaid oven now instead of the local one. It required orifice changes for the stovetop burners and hood/pin adjustments for the oven. It has a gas regulator that needs reversing for the NG to LP change. Orifices came with the stove. We have a couple of 100 pounders outside the house; the wife and I use the stove alot and a 100 lb. bottle lasts a long time.

I know of a guy here that is running a Wolf or Viking or something similar here. He had a few hiccups getting it burning right on the LP, but once he found a guy to make adjustments he says it works great.

Here in Panama, the 20 lb. bottles are subsidized, the larger ones are not. So many people keep multiple 20 pounders around for the cost benefit. Some of us use the larger ones just so we have less hassle. All our hot water comes from that gas supply as well. But I think you will be fine as far as actually running the stove/oven goes.
 

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Old 10-06-15, 08:35 AM
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Thank you Inflatableman1, that was very helpful. It looks like I need to track down someone here that can do adjustments.
 
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Old 10-27-15, 04:49 PM
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One issue that could be a problem is that it takes heat to boil liquid propane in the tank into a gas that can be used by the appliance.

Just like it takes a lot of heat to boil water into a vapor, it takes a lot of heat to boil propane into a gas.

If you use a small tank and have a large BTU load, you may wind up cooling off the liquid propane to the point that you don't get sufficient gas being produced to operate the range. That would cause a reduction in the BTU supply to the range, which might cause erratic operation of the appliance.

Usually I'd expect hot temperatrures in a tropical climate to provide enough heat to the tank to keep the gas coming, it might be a problem.

That's a good reason to upgrade to a larger tank size, or to use multiple tanks on a manifold that would provide more surface area to heat the liquid propane, and make it easier to swap out tanks and avoid service interruption from running out of fuel as well.

Something to consider.
 
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