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toddmc


Mar 16, 2007, 2:21 PM

Post #1 of 18 (4276 views)

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Appliances - Natural Gas Vs Propane

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Our house construction is coming along as you can see here.
http://lifeinthecorazon.blogspot.com/

We are now at the stage were we are looking at appliances
Measuring and checking what will go were, before we put the counters and such in.

While at Costco in Morelia today pricing them, I noticed a sticker on the dryer we are considering.
This sticker labeled the dryer was a natural gas dryer.
I haven't checked back to see if the other appliances we were looking at had that designation.
We have Propane, as I assume most of us do in Mexico.

Can natural gas appliances be used with propane?
Is there a conversion process?
Do I need to specifically purchase a propane only appliance?
Am I missing something?

What has your experience been?


Thanks

Todd



Papirex


Mar 16, 2007, 6:32 PM

Post #2 of 18 (4240 views)

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Re: [toddmc] Appliances - Natural Gas Vs Propane

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Yes there is a big difference. Natural gas is reduced to a very low pressure at the meter. Propane tanks also have a pressure reducer at the tank; it is set to a much higher pressure before it enters your house than natural gas is.

The orifice where the gas enters the burner is much larger in a natural gas appliance than it is for a propane appliance for several reasons, including the differences in pressure. Most of the gas appliances can be converted from natural gas to propane and nice versa. I would not recommend that an amateur attempt to do it.

This involves changing the orifice size. Kits are provided with some new appliances to do this, it is simple to do. If no conversion kit is provided with the appliance, a replacement orifice might be ordered from some manufacturers in The US, it might be impossible to find one in México.

Many years ago, I have converted them by filling the larger natural gas orifice with solder and drilling a smaller hole for conversion to use propane. The parts were made of brass in those days; they are often made of aluminum now, so simply soldering them closed and drilling a new hole to resize the orifice would not be a viable option on a modern appliance. Due to the risk of litigation in case of fire, explosion, etc., I don’t know of any contractors in The US that will make that conversion in recent years. Even with an appliance that comes with a kit provided by the manufacturer.

There are a few places in México that do have piped natural gas, but it is not common. One of the biggest urban myths here is that natural gas is much more dangerous than propane. The opposite is true. I think that myth is probably spread by the propane distributors to protect their near monopoly.

Besides coming into your home at a lower pressure, natural gas is lighter than air, propane is heavier than air. If there is a leak in a gas pipe, and it is natural gas, the gas will most likely rise and dissipate. If the leak is in a pipe carrying propane the gas will sink, and likely puddle if there is no way for it to pour out of the building. If the puddle of propane rises high enough to reach a source of ignition, it’s all over.

Natural gas is safer than propane.

I once had a person approach me to install a propane stove on his boat. After checking with The Coast Guard, he forgot about doing that. Because propane is heavier than air, on a boat you must provide scuppers to allow any leaking propane to drain overboard. It would have required major structural changes to the hull to use a propane stove on his boat.

The short answer to your question is if your house uses propane; buy all appliances that are factory designed for propane use.

Rex


"The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved" - Victor Hugo

(This post was edited by RexC on Mar 16, 2007, 7:51 PM)


jerezano

Mar 16, 2007, 6:41 PM

Post #3 of 18 (4232 views)

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Re: [toddmc] Appliances - Natural Gas Vs Propane

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Hello toddmc,

OOPS! my following reply crossed in the ether with the more detailed reply by Rex above.

You asked:>>Can natural gas appliances be used with propane?

No but yes. The gas control jets on a natural gas appliance are larger than on the propane. Those jets need to be replaced. On my stove and my gas dryer my local plumber made the conversion lo-these-many years ago. It was not expensive.

Yes, if you are going to use propane in tanks and you do not want to go through that conversion process, you must buy appliances specifically assembled for propane.

Better check with your local plumber or plumber supply house since some American Brands are not available here in Mexico and they might not be able to get the necessary jets.

Looking at the picture of your house it appears that you will be quite comfortable in it. Interesting chimeney detailing. It appears as if you and your neighbor had the same architect or builder.

Adiós. jerezano.


(This post was edited by jerezano on Mar 16, 2007, 6:44 PM)


Judy in Ags


Mar 17, 2007, 8:33 PM

Post #4 of 18 (4172 views)

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Re: [toddmc] Appliances - Natural Gas Vs Propane

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We brought our natural gas stove from the US after checking with the manufacturer who assured us that it was manufactured with the capability of easily converting it to propane with an adjustment. Well, the top burned converter quite well, but the oven still doesn't burn right. I rarely use it. I'm eager to buy a propane stove one of these days so I can do some baking.

Best wishes!


Gringal

Mar 18, 2007, 9:31 AM

Post #5 of 18 (4138 views)

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Re: [Judy in Ags] Appliances - Natural Gas Vs Propane

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Look out when you buy a stove. First: Bend over, peer up in the oven cavity and see if there is, in fact, a broiler unit up in there. Very likely not, in the lower price ranges.

My stove story, at least good for a chuckle, if not a nicely baked pie:
Bought a brand new house. New stove. Wasn't paying much attention to details: was operating on certain NOB assumptions. Lol. There was no broiler. On the oven dial, there are no numbers; just pictures. First picture: roast chicken. Middle picture: pie. Third picture: flame.
Lighting it is an adventure. Altar boy taper is best. I am mostly cooking on the stove top and in a toaster oven.

There is a fine, expensive, stove I have my eye on, but I'm suspicious of an appliance with a name like "Mabe". "Yes" would inspire more confidence.


sfmacaws


Mar 18, 2007, 10:57 AM

Post #6 of 18 (4126 views)

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Re: [Gringal] Appliances - Natural Gas Vs Propane

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Hey, at least yours has pictures. Mine has numbers, and it is a Mabe. I always put it on the 3 as that is about halfway between the 1 and the 5 and I don't know which way is hotter. Nor do I have an oven thermometer up here or really, care that much except when I am about to cook something. So, anyone know if 5 is hotter than 1? That's what I've been assuming. Is there some significance to the numbers, something metric perhaps?


Jonna - Mérida, Yucatán




bournemouth

Mar 18, 2007, 11:58 AM

Post #7 of 18 (4118 views)

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Re: [Gringal] Appliances - Natural Gas Vs Propane

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We had a gas stove in our previous Mexican house that had nothing on the dial - you just had to guess.

Mabe is an arm of Whirlpool Mexico - an o.k. brand in spite of the name.


jennifer rose

Mar 18, 2007, 12:32 PM

Post #8 of 18 (4111 views)

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Re: [bournemouth] Appliances - Natural Gas Vs Propane

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Mabe used be sort of lower-end, but in recent years it's expanded to the higher-end market. All right, even if it's not a Viking or an Aga, some of the Made models are very nice and full-featured. There are Mabes, and there are Mabes.

What I like about my Whirlpool gas range, bought at Sears in Morelia, is that the oven dial shows temperatures in both Centigrade and Fahrenheit.


bournemouth

Mar 18, 2007, 1:38 PM

Post #9 of 18 (4092 views)

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Re: [jennifer rose] Appliances - Natural Gas Vs Propane

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Whirlpool seems to have a bunch of brands in Mexico including Acros and Supermatic - our stove with no thermostat was a Supermatic.


esperanza

Mar 18, 2007, 3:04 PM

Post #10 of 18 (4076 views)

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Re: [Gringal] Appliances - Natural Gas Vs Propane

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I bought a Mabe stove just about a year ago and I love it. It's far and away the best stove I've ever owned. You can look at it here:

http://www.mabe.com.mx/...nea=1&sublinea=1

I paid about $6000 pesos for it. It's superb.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









Gringal

Mar 18, 2007, 3:17 PM

Post #11 of 18 (4070 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Appliances - Natural Gas Vs Propane

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What, no chicken on the dial?

Looks good, though.


Waterlily

Mar 18, 2007, 4:03 PM

Post #12 of 18 (4055 views)

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Re: [sfmacaws] Appliances - Natural Gas Vs Propane

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The numbers on your oven refer to gas marks. On an equivalency chart in one of my cookbooks, 3=325F, 4=350F, 5=375F, 6=400F.
We bought GE gas appliances from Sears with a converter for propane included with the purchase. I like the oven better than the stove top. Oven temps are accurate, but stove top will not go down low enough for a slow simmer.


sfmacaws


Mar 18, 2007, 4:28 PM

Post #13 of 18 (4046 views)

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Re: [Waterlily] Appliances - Natural Gas Vs Propane

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That kind of helps, I think I'm pretty close to 350 at 3 since mine only goes from 1 - 5. Good to know you like the oven, I'm probably going to buy only an oven without the cooktop. I want the burners separate.


Jonna - Mérida, Yucatán




Cynthia7

Mar 18, 2007, 8:40 PM

Post #14 of 18 (4017 views)

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Re: [sfmacaws] Appliances - Natural Gas Vs Propane

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When we came to Mexico the saying was Mabe it works; Mabe it doesn't. Recently they have made some improvements. It is still made for Mexicans ..many who do not bake so don't need an oven or broiler. I finally figured out that that Zwieback toast was for grown ups. They have come a long way and have products for many different lifestyles and price ranges. I think it is important to have an oven thermometer and refrigerator thermometer. We couldn't get by with some of this NOB but this is not the same.. Our gas is dirty and that can present a problem...Our electricity is out of sight so electric ranges or electric dryers are not an option. Thank goodness we don't need airconditioning..


Waterlily

Mar 19, 2007, 1:39 PM

Post #15 of 18 (3971 views)

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Re: [sfmacaws] Appliances - Natural Gas Vs Propane

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For the oven, I had it set in the counter so that I didn't have to bend over to lift food out. I really like having the oven window at eye level.
I wanted the separate burners, too, but that wasn't working out for our contractor. I already specified granite counter tops and eleven different tile patterns/solids, so I gave in on the separate burners.


sfmacaws


Mar 19, 2007, 5:19 PM

Post #16 of 18 (3941 views)

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Re: [Waterlily] Appliances - Natural Gas Vs Propane

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Oven at eye level... that's a great idea. I think I'm going to stick with polished concrete for the counter tops with perhaps tile on the backsplash, hopefully I can get the separate burners.


Jonna - Mérida, Yucatán




jerezano

Mar 19, 2007, 6:09 PM

Post #17 of 18 (3934 views)

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Re: [sfmacaws] Appliances - Natural Gas Vs Propane

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Hello,

Those separate and very convenient ovens set at eye level with a separate burner unit at counter level used to be very popular back in the 1950's in the USA.

But try to find them now. Difficult and very expensive, as I learned this year when I wanted to replace the counter top burners in a condominium I have in McAllen, Texas.

I had to settle on replacing the counter top unit with a complete stove and oven combination which suddenly stole a lot of cabinet space from the kitchen. Now that new oven is stuffed with pots and pans which it doesn't accomodate at all well.

Good luck with that counter top unit you want. I hope you can find it here in Mexico.

Adiós. jerezano


Papirex


Mar 19, 2007, 6:48 PM

Post #18 of 18 (3928 views)

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Re: [jerezano] Appliances - Natural Gas Vs Propane

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Jerezano, you are right about those separate ovens and cook tops being very popular in the 1950s in The USA. We had a stove like that in a couple of houses I owned in California, one in the 50s, and another in the 60s. They were electric stoves. They do still make them in gas models for use in México. I have no idea of what the cost is, but they probably cost more than a regular stove in one unit does, I know that they did in the 1950s and 60s in California.

The house we live in here is less than four years old. We were the first occupants. It has a Mabe brand gas stove, with the separate oven mounted at eye level, and a five-burner cook top mounted in a countertop. The center burner is a large oval shaped burner. As usual here, the oven has no upper broiler burner. The stove was new and unused when we moved into the house in 2003.

Rex
"The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved" - Victor Hugo
 
 
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