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stoves, BTUs, and LP gas

Megunticook's picture


To make a long story short, bought a $1200 gas cooking range at Sears and have been thoroughly disappointed in the performance--takes a good fifteen minutes to boil a small tea kettle. "Hot" burner is rated at 12,000 BTUs, others at 9,000. Had Sears guy come out and look at it, also local propane supplier guy--the Sears guy says the propane guys probably got the pressure wrong, the propane guy says pressure is fine, the stove has sealed burners so it can't be adjusted, and LP gas gives significantly less performance than natural gas.

I'd like to determine if the stove or installation is defective, and figured I'd do an experiment to find out the actual BTUs. So I timed how long it took to boil 32 oz. of water. Anybody know how to calculate BTUs? Is there any easier way to do this?

And secondly, is there a way to boost performance of a gas range running on LP gas? The stove handbook says to expect that with LP gas the actual BTUs will run 2000-3000 lower than the rated number.



p.s. I hate electric stoves because they guzzle electricity and they're a pain to cook on!

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(post #110297, reply #1 of 9)


Even though the burners are sealed you should still be able to adjust the flame. Look under the knob. Very small screw. What kind of regulator setup do you have? One at the tank and another by the house? There is another on the range where the feed comes in that is not adjustable but switches from LPG to NG. Do you know what the pressure is? Should be between 11" - 14" WC. If you go to in the parts section with the model number you can get an exploded view to see adjustments. I had to crank mine down cuz the low setting was too high and it stills boils water quick.


(post #110297, reply #2 of 9)

One BTU is defined as the heat necessary to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Farenheit.   

Your experiment has a little hink in that not all BTUs coming out of the burner go to raise the water temperature.  Some BTUs escape into the room or up the hood -- perhaps 25%?  I think that's typical for gas water heaters and furnaces.

One more thing... While almost all burner specs are given in BTUs, what they really mean is BTU/hour.   Marketeers sometimes have no idea what they're talking about. 

(post #110297, reply #3 of 9)

Sounds like you are getting a line of BULL.  I have a new Whirlpool LP Stove ($650) and it works geart.  It came set up for NG and had to be converted to LP.  First the main gas regulartor has to have the spring adjustment changed -- you turn the spring cap over changing the spring setting.  Then the burners for the oven and broiler had to be change and most important -- the orfices in the stove top burners had to be changed.

As I understand it -- almost all stoves today are shipped set up for NG and have to be converted for propane.  In all cases the BTU output with LP will be less -- but at least in my case it works geart. 

Who made the Sears stove?  Sears should be able to tell you and should be able to get it working right -- or take it back.  Just another reason for me not to shop at Sears.


(post #110297, reply #4 of 9)

Thanks for the comments. There is no adjustment screw under or anywhere near the knob that I can see. The propane guy who installed the stove swears they can't be adjusted, but I'm not totally confident he knows what he's talking about.

I just looked for the installation manual, which I already looked at once, to review it again but unfortunately I can't put my hand to it.

Sears has already been out here once--although they sent over this grouchy old fellow who had a scowl on his face the moment he drove in. But maybe I should ask them to send somebody else out.

Sounds like my BTU experiment isn't worth all that much. I just want to know whether the stove is doing the best it can with LP gas, or whether something's wrong that's preventing it from delivering more heat.

Those of you with LP stoves who say they work great, how long does it take you to boil a kettle of water? What's the stove's BTU rating?

By the way, this is a Jenn-Air T2 (model #JGR 8855 BDS).

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(post #110297, reply #5 of 9)


I think on a Jennair the sealed burner is a twistlock that comes off. Under this is an adjustable jet ie (cap with hole over a needle). Should be able to make a jet engine if you want. Talk to a Jennair service tech not Sears.


(post #110297, reply #6 of 9)


Yes, they twist off and they're a bear to undo (I helped the propane guy twist them off during the installation). I downloaded a new set of installation instructions, so I'll have another look at those and see if anything's out of adjustment.

So you think forget Sears and just deal with Jenn-Air? I did talk with somebody at Jenn Air today and described the problem. She was a nice enough girl (and I do mean girl, not woman), but didn't seem extraordinarily knowledgeable. However, she said she asked a tech. guy about 15 minute tea kettle boil, and the tech. guy told her that sounded perfectly normal for LP. Is that your experience?


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(post #110297, reply #7 of 9)

I have a propane stove. There are two problems--can't get it hot enough and can't get it cool enough. Very hard to bring the flame down low, so I resort to stacking up the grills that surround the burners. And you betcha', takes forever to boil water. I've been told this is characteristic of propane . . . wish there was a solution.

(post #110297, reply #8 of 9)


Don't know how long it takes because it doesn't matter to me, it's a Zen thing.

Maybe your installer cranked those jets too tight.


(post #110297, reply #9 of 9)

I know, it's kind of stupid to worry about how long it takes a kettle of water to boil. Actually, I don't really mind waiting 15 minutes for tea--it's just a measuring stick for how the stove performs, and what I do mind is trying to heat a large kettle of water for pasta and winding up eating at midnight.

Actually, the truth is my wife is threatening to exchange it for an electric stove and unless I come up with something better quick I'll be forced to concede. I didn't mind compromising on the dishwasher (she didn't want one), but I'll be damned if I'm going to cook on and pay the power company for one of those ee-lectric gizmos!

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