Professional-style gas ranges actually heat up kitchen less

CUT UTILITY BILLS

June 19, 1993|By James Dulley | James Dulley,Contributing Writer

Q My friend has a "professional type" gas range with six burners and boiler, grill, griddle, warming tray. . . . Do these use more gas and heat up a kitchen more than an ordinary gas range?

Even though these professional gas ranges have many features and super high-output burners, they can consume less energy overall than an ordinary gas range. They are commercial-quality and should last a lifetime.

Professional home-use "restaurant" ranges have burners with heat outputs as high as 15,000 Btu. The largest burners on ordinary ranges are only 9,000 Btu. When you are boiling water or cooking, the pot heats up faster with the higher-output burners.

This reduces the cooking time and the heat that is lost into your kitchen. Your kitchen will stay more comfortable, especially in the summer.

Professional ranges also have burner designs and controls to provide more precise and efficient cooking. One model has a multistage burner that varies the heat output from 14,000 Btu down to only 400 Btu. This is ideal for delicate simmering.

Other professional ranges use star burners. Instead of the round burner flame of the ordinary burner, a star burner has eight

fingers pro- jecting from the center. There are many holes in the top of each finger, so the flame is in contact with the entire bottom of the pot for even cooking with no burning.

Many professional ranges have six burners, griddles and built-in grills with lava rocks. The ovens are very large-capacity, big enough to handle a commercial bun tray. Some models have the option of gas or electric ovens, or one of each. If you prefer an electric oven, you can get an optional convection oven that allows you to switch the fan on or off.

Infrared broilers produce evenly cooked, juicy meats and seafood. Instead of just an open flame above the meat, the gas flows out into a large rectangular honeycomb box. As the gas burns in the hundreds of tiny holes, the entire honeycomb piece glows red and sears the meat perfectly. You can also get a super-hot 30,000 Btu accessory burner for wok cooking.

Don't just go out and buy a commercial-grade restaurant range. They are not certified for home use. Certified professional home-use ranges have child-proof knobs, cool air-wash oven doors, electronic ignition and insulated/multiwall construction for zero clearance against cabinets.

You can write to me for Utility Bills Update No. 637 showing a buyer's guide for professional home-use gas ranges listing manufacturers, number of burners, burner heat output, design of burner and broiler, griddles, grills, convenience features and prices. Include $1.50 and a self-addressed business-size envelope.

I hear that furnace or air-conditioner filters should be changed often. How often is often, and how can I tell when it is dirty?

It is important to have a free flow of air through the blower filter for maximum efficiency, especially for air conditioning. Hold the filter up to the light to see if it is badly clogged with dust, pet hair, etc.

Standard furnace filter elements cost only a couple of dollars at most. To be safe, just schedule a change every two months, whether or not it looks dirty.

Correspondence should be addressed to James Dulley, c/o Baltimore Sun, 6906 Royalgreen Drive, Cincinnati, Ohio 45244.

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