Author Topic: Propane vs. natural gas  (Read 7908 times)

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Offline enchant

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Propane vs. natural gas
« on: August 20, 2008, 08:05:22 AM »
From time to time, I'll see an old professional oven for sale in craigslist.  One of these times I'd like to pick one up, but I need it to run off a propane tank.  I assume that they were originally run from a natural gas feed.  If this is the case, is it a lot of work to convert it to run on propane?
--pat--


buceriasdon

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Re: Propane vs. natural gas
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2008, 09:10:54 AM »
It will be a matter of changing the jets. It won`t hurt to try the orginal jets but you may not get the heat you would like. Don

From time to time, I'll see an old professional oven for sale in craigslist.  One of these times I'd like to pick one up, but I need it to run off a propane tank.  I assume that they were originally run from a natural gas feed.  If this is the case, is it a lot of work to convert it to run on propane?

Offline enchant

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Re: Propane vs. natural gas
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2008, 09:36:36 AM »
Thanks for the reply, Don.

When you say "changing" the jets, do you mean replacing them or altering them?

A friend recently bought an ancient Blodgett oven for next to nothing.  He's hooked up propane tanks to it and gets a high temperature of about 520 degrees.  Might we be able to up that by altering the jets somehow?
--pat--

buceriasdon

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Re: Propane vs. natural gas
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2008, 02:46:43 PM »
Most likely altering the oriface size of the jet that allows a certain amount of gas to enter. My best advice, seek out a pro in your area. Sorry, I can`t recall which is larger in size and I wouldn`t trust my memory or really some of the info online. The small fee to get correct information is money well spent. Stay safe. Don


Thanks for the reply, Don.

When you say "changing" the jets, do you mean replacing them or altering them?

A friend recently bought an ancient Blodgett oven for next to nothing.  He's hooked up propane tanks to it and gets a high temperature of about 520 degrees.  Might we be able to up that by altering the jets somehow?

Offline Pizza_Not_War

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Re: Propane vs. natural gas
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2008, 03:15:18 PM »
As I recall, when going from Propane to Nat Gas you need orifices with larger openings. Therefore you would need to get smaller openings or you might go boom!

WARNING: To avoid the risk of serious personal injury or property damage, the range must be converted correctly. Improper conversion or flame adjustment will produce carbon monoxide, which is a poisonous gas.

Hire a plumber who works with gas!


PNW

Offline enchant

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Re: Propane vs. natural gas
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2008, 03:22:20 PM »
Thanks, PNW - sounds like good advice.
--pat--

Offline Engineered Ceramics

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Re: Propane vs. natural gas
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2008, 09:07:11 PM »
Typically, propane runs at a higher pressure than natural gas.

Typically, this means that a burner designed for natural gas runs much hotter on propane.

The exception would be if you are running very rich (more gas than you need) to the point that your not getting a good flame.  This could cause you to lose temperature, it will also cause very yellow / orange flames.  this could also mean you are sending raw gas up your flue, which would also be bad.

Many manufacturers offer orifices for both, I'd recommend calling the manufacturer the next time you see one for sale and see if they have the other orifices available.



Offline enchant

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Re: Propane vs. natural gas
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2008, 05:22:46 AM »
I don't know if this should be in a new topic, but...

We recently had a pizza party using this old Blodgett oven running on propane.  The dial goes up to 500, and sure enough, after about an hour, the temperature settled to within five degrees of 500.

As a responsible adult, I DO realize that fire is dangerous and all, and I promise not to do anything incredibly stupid.
That said...

What is it that physically stops the oven from reaching a higher temperature?  We'd like to get more like 650 or so.  Is it possible to bypass the thermostat, or to somehow alter the electronic regulator that stops it at 500?  We only run it outside.
--pat--

Offline Engineered Ceramics

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Re: Propane vs. natural gas
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2008, 07:22:31 PM »
I don't know if this should be in a new topic, but...

We recently had a pizza party using this old Blodgett oven running on propane.  The dial goes up to 500, and sure enough, after about an hour, the temperature settled to within five degrees of 500.

As a responsible adult, I DO realize that fire is dangerous and all, and I promise not to do anything incredibly stupid.
That said...

What is it that physically stops the oven from reaching a higher temperature?  We'd like to get more like 650 or so.  Is it possible to bypass the thermostat, or to somehow alter the electronic regulator that stops it at 500?  We only run it outside.

If you are fully aware of the risks, and wish to proceed, the easiest way would be to locate the heat sensing element, which would look like a thermometer probe.  You need to pull this out of the cooking chamber far enough to so that it's reading lower than the actual, but not too low.

Some Blodgett ovens with digital readouts will shutdown if they don't get within 20 F of setpoint in 5 or 10 minutes.  You also don't want to disconnect the temp probe, as it will also cause a shut down.

If you have a model number, I could give better "bad advise".

« Last Edit: September 02, 2008, 07:45:54 PM by Engineered Ceramics »

Offline enchant

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Re: Propane vs. natural gas
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2008, 07:00:58 AM »
If you have a model number, I could give better "bad advise".
Thanks for the good info!  Relocating the temp probe sounds like a good idea.  A lot safer than some of the ideas we came up with.

Not sure of the model number (I won't be near it again till the weekend).  It's plenty old, so I'll guess it's model #1.  ;)
Here's a photo if it helps any.  They probably all look alike, right?
--pat--


Offline scott r

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Re: Propane vs. natural gas
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2008, 11:52:25 AM »
or you could call your local pizza oven tech and safely have him install a new 650 degree thermostat.  We did this at a pizzeria I was consulting for and the oven was able to put out some amazing high temperature pizzas (they looked almost neapolitan with some leopard spots), so I think it was actually cooking even higher than 650 near the back of the oven.  The problem is that there were hot and cold spots, but if you don't mind spending some time experimenting with where to put and move the pies you should be rewarded with excellent pizza!

Good luck!

Offline pcampbell

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Re: Propane vs. natural gas
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2008, 01:15:09 PM »
how many BTU is it? i think you could put a higher t-stat on it like scott said.
Patrick

Offline enchant

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Re: Propane vs. natural gas
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2008, 01:41:56 PM »
or you could call your local pizza oven tech
I'm afraid I've never heard of a pizza oven tech and wouldn't know where to find one.  But this isn't for a professional pizza joint and we don't have a lot of spare cash to put toward this.  If we can adjust it ourselves, we'll do it.  Otherwise, we'll probably live with the 500 degree pizzas.
--pat--

Offline ctimmer

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Re: Propane vs. natural gas
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2008, 03:21:30 PM »
This Blodgett oven looks like an old one I had work with at Pizza Hut in the late 60's. It had a pilot light but no thermocouple to detect when the pilot light went out. If you came in to open and the pilot was out, you had to shut it off and wait an hour before attempting to relight it. More than one person was sent flying across the kitchen trying to cut that hour short.

Curt

Offline scott r

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Re: Propane vs. natural gas
« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2008, 02:27:17 AM »
I'm afraid I've never heard of a pizza oven tech and wouldn't know where to find one. 

Just look for anybody in your yellow pages selling used restaurant equipment.   They should have a service tech that works for them. If not they hire out when they install or refurb ovens, and will hopefully be willing to give you the number.  It might be cheaper than you think.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2008, 02:28:55 AM by scott r »

Offline Engineered Ceramics

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Re: Propane vs. natural gas
« Reply #15 on: September 04, 2008, 06:24:21 AM »
I didn't realize it was that old.

But that's a good thing for what your doing.

The ones with electronic control are much harder to modify / bypass.

Does this oven even use electricity?


As far as finding a combustion tech, visit blodget's website and find their local service rep, they should be able to help, or know someone who can.

At the very least, you may find out how the oven controls temp.


Offline enchant

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Re: Propane vs. natural gas
« Reply #16 on: September 05, 2008, 06:16:09 AM »
Does this oven even use electricity?
Certainly not for anything important.  I haven't seen a cord.  It's a pretty basic machine.  I'm not all that convinced that electricity had been discovered when this was manufactured.

I'll contact Blodgett.  Maybe they've got some sort of service manual for this.
--pat--

Offline George Mills

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Re: Propane vs. natural gas
« Reply #17 on: September 06, 2008, 05:09:16 AM »
Hi Enchant:

I am a bit late to this subject:

Commercial coking equipment is not UL certified for use in domestic residences.

When that old timer explodes or causes a fire your insurance company will have an excuse to give you a very hard time.

George Mills

Offline enchant

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Re: Propane vs. natural gas
« Reply #18 on: September 06, 2008, 05:30:13 AM »
George, thanks for the info, but this oven is stored and is used approx 6 miles from the nearest house and I don't see insurance being an issue.
--pat--

Offline zenoptic

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Re: Propane vs. natural gas
« Reply #19 on: September 10, 2009, 01:27:46 AM »
I like what you have here!  Makes me want to search one out.