YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Home Improvement | THE SENSIBLE HOME

Gas Ranges Can Be a Wise Choice


QUESTION: I am considering a new gourmet professional-type gas range. I want one with special simmer burners, griddle, grill, wok, warming tray and vent hood. Will one use much more gas than an ordinary gas range?

ANSWER: There are many attractive gourmet professional-type gas (or propane) ranges now available. The new models range from a standard 30-inch-wide model to full-featured, 60-inch-wide true professional designs.

You can configure these ranges to have any feature you want--up to six burners; two ovens (either gas or electric); optional convection, steam and self-cleaning ovens; built-in griddles, grills, wok rings, warming trays, vent hoods; electronic and child-safe controls.

Several new models, like the Elmira #1800, are beautiful antique-looking professional-quality ranges. These follow vintage 19th century designs with decorative cast iron construction, bright nickel plating and rich enamel colors. One model even offers hand-painted and signed country motifs.

A high-output professional range often uses less gas than a standard range. The extra high-output burners, up to 15,000 Btu, boil water and cook foods much quicker than a typical range burner.

By reducing total cooking time, less heat is lost into the kitchen. This improves comfort and helps control air-conditioning costs in the summer.

Several models also use special burners to produce more efficient and precise cooking. The heat on these burners can be turned down to as low as 400 Btu. This is ideal for extremely delicate simmering of sauces.

Some models use a star burner instead of a typical round one. Each burner has eight radial fingers with seven gas jets in each finger. This provides even heat under the entire pot for fast cooking or delicate simmering.

Another design uses a special multistage circular burner. The heat output ranges from 1,050 Btu down to 400 Btu. A steam-oven option cooks fast and efficiently and is ideal for certain types of gourmet baking and meats.

Special infrared broilers produce evenly cooked juicy meats and seafood. Instead of a typical open flame above the meat, the gas flows out into a large rectangular honeycomb box. This produces a large area of even intense searing heat above the meat.

Do not just buy a commercial-grade restaurant range. They cost less than certified "home-use" models, but they lack safety features like cool air-wash oven doors, electronic ignition and insulated, multi-wall construction.

Write for Update Bulletin No. 612 showing a buyer's guide of 12 professional home-use gas ranges listing burner and broiler types, sizes, heat outputs, griddles, grills, woks, convenience features and prices. Please include $2 and a business-size stamped and self-addressed envelope to James Dulley, Los Angeles Times, 6906 Royalgreen Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45244.

Dark Aluminum Siding Can Be Painted Over Q: I just moved into a house with dark aluminum siding. I want to change it to a lighter color so it looks better and doesn't get as hot in the summer. Is it possible to paint old aluminum siding?

A: A lighter siding color will stay cooler in the summer without creating much of a negative effect in the winter. If the siding is in good condition, use a good quality exterior latex paint. It may need two coats.

Before painting it, remove any peeling paint, dirt or mildew. It is a good idea to power-wash it first with a cleaner solution or just scrub it down. Power washers can be rented at home centers or tool rental shops.


Letters and questions to Dulley, a Cincinnati-based engineering consultant, may be sent to James Dulley, Los Angeles Times, 6906 Royalgreen Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45244.

Los Angeles Times Articles