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Old 09-27-2015, 11:51 AM   #1
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Replacing Electric Stove With Propane Stove

Hi everyone,

I am looking at several trawlers at the moment. The one that I like the best has an electric stove. Would it be worth the trouble to swap this out for a propane powered stove, along with all that entails? Has anybody done this before? I know that I hate electric stoves on land, so I don't relish the thought of using one while on board.

Any and all comments are greatly appreciated.

Cheers, Bill
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Old 09-27-2015, 12:13 PM   #2
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My thoughts exactly. Unless you are always at a marina in a slip with shore power, why would you want an electric stove? I have the same plans. It seems like my favorite boats have electric stoves. The only problem I see, is how to run the propane lines. They should be protected from impact, leak free of course and you have to go from the inside to the outside at some point. The seal where you come thru must be absolutely water tight. Then a proper box for the tanks and a safety switch. Sounds easy enough? Also sounds expensive, if you want the yard to do it. I will be watching this thread closely.
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Old 09-27-2015, 01:16 PM   #3
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Friends we boat with swapped out a very troublesome diesel stove/oven for a propane range on their custom lobsterboat. They mounted the propane locker in the cockpit behind the cabin bulkhead so the hose run was very easy. It is trickier with a Grand Banks/CHB/etc. style cabin cruiser where the propane locker is typically up on the flying bridge. But it can certainly be done. The ABYC has guidelines for a safe propane installation.
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Old 09-27-2015, 01:16 PM   #4
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We did this on a Mainship we owned and never regretted it. Done correctly, following the applicable safety regs, it was not that hard. Planning on where to store the propane tank (s) and hose run was the most difficult part. If in doubt though, get some professional help.
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Old 09-27-2015, 02:09 PM   #5
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It isn't all that tough to do. You will have to build a propane locker that is gas tight and vented overboard from the bottom of the locker. In other words the entire locker must be above the waterline. Put a regulator and solenoid valve in the locker and run a continuous run of hose to the stove only. You should also install a propane detector in your bilge and connect it to a control board that will shut the solenoid valve if propane is detected.

You can buy pretty much everything you need from Trident (locker with solenoid valve and regulator, hose, propane detector safety circuit). Most stores carry Trident propane systems. Their lockers are pricey, but easy to install and include everything you need.

Figure on spending about $1,500 for propane system components if you buy a ready made locker.
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Old 09-27-2015, 02:20 PM   #6
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Having had alcohol, propane, and electric, we much prefer the electric. We are full time cruisers. We have a ceramic cooktop (Seaward Princess) which replaced the older coil top. I can't think of a single negative. If you are cruising you're using the generator anyway. If you're at a marina you're plugged in.

It heats instantly, heat lowers as fast as propane, and it's a cinch to wipe clean. Baked on food is removed with a razor blade in seconds. The oven does not need a pilot light, etc. Finding a propane refill station is not a issue. The wife absolutely loves it.

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Old 09-27-2015, 02:49 PM   #7
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There are no pilot lights on marine stoves.

I had an electric stove on my GB and I ended up putting a Coleman stove in the cockpit so I could make morning coffee without having to start the genset first thing in the morning and suffering the rudeness of my neighbours.

Electric boats were a fad brought about by poor sales and the image that boats could be more user-friendly than their perception. Get Susy Homemaker on board with a galley just like her kitchen at home and more boats would be sold. That dovetailed nicely with the marina culture where boats would always be tied up at night and never anchored out.

All that is perfectly fine if that suits your style but the pendulum has swung farther from the marina mentality (at least out here, I think) and more of us wish to be self-sufficient without having to run the genset day and night.

Did you all know that a rule in BC marine parks is no machinery to be run from dusk to dawn? I cannot fathom (you saw what I did there?) people running their gensets into the wee hours so they can sit there and watch television in an anchorage. I wish everyone knew that rule (while I'm on a roll, that should also apply to yahooing by rafted party-morons too!).
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Old 09-27-2015, 03:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
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I had an electric stove on my GB and I ended up putting a Coleman stove in the cockpit so I could make morning coffee without having to start the genset first thing in the morning and suffering the rudeness of my neighbours.

.
Having a small boat, my options are limited.....I have an Origo combination Alchohol and Electric...Meets all my needs, anchored out or at the dock.
If I had a big boat, propane would be my choice...
Had it on my last boat and it was a perfect set-up...(no generator)
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Old 09-27-2015, 03:14 PM   #9
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My morning coffee is made by a Nespresso running silently off the inverter. My toast is being made by a toaster oven also running off my inverter. The only propane I use is for my Weber Baby Que which needs a 1pound bottle. I have no interest in carrying around 20 to 40 pounds of propane along with hoses, connections, solenoid, sniffer, propane locker, etc . I use my generator to top off batteries, run AC or heat, refrigeration, hot water and probably some stuff I'm forgetting. No problem using the stove.

No soapy water on connections to test for a leak for me. Been there done that.
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Old 09-27-2015, 04:55 PM   #10
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We thought we might do it, as Ann liked cooking with gas but could never cost justify it and I had some qualms about the safety factor. We ran the generator anyway for battery charging, water heating, laundry so it was no big deal.
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Old 09-27-2015, 05:26 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hmason View Post
My morning coffee is made by a Nespresso running silently off the inverter. My toast is being made by a toaster oven also running off my inverter. The only propane I use is for my Weber Baby Que which needs a 1pound bottle. I have no interest in carrying around 20 to 40 pounds of propane along with hoses, connections, solenoid, sniffer, propane locker, etc . I use my generator to top off batteries, run AC or heat, refrigeration, hot water and probably some stuff I'm forgetting. No problem using the stove.

No soapy water on connections to test for a leak for me. Been there done that.
You must be joking - my Nespresso makes as much racket as a generator!
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Old 09-27-2015, 05:32 PM   #12
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You must be joking - my Nespresso makes as much racket as a generator!
Really? You need to get that fixed.
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Old 09-27-2015, 06:25 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Montenido View Post
I am looking at several trawlers at the moment. The one that I like the best has an electric stove. Would it be worth the trouble to swap this out for a propane powered stove, along with all that entails? Has anybody done this before? I know that I hate electric stoves on land, so I don't relish the thought of using one while on board.
Hello Bill. If a propane stove makes your cooking a pleasure and electric does not, you already know the answer. In the scheme of things, swapping for what you desire won't kill the budget.

I prefer propane for cooking too though I admit I looked at those single induction flat-tops recommended in the Galley Tools thread. Those are nifty too.
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Old 09-28-2015, 03:12 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Montenido View Post
Hi everyone,

I am looking at several trawlers at the moment. The one that I like the best has an electric stove. Would it be worth the trouble to swap this out for a propane powered stove, along with all that entails? Has anybody done this before? I know that I hate electric stoves on land, so I don't relish the thought of using one while on board.

Any and all comments are greatly appreciated.

Cheers, Bill
We did exactly that and yes, it was worth it to us. Key points:

1. As previously mentioned you will need to add the propane tank storage and probably will have to run the piping and electrical for the controls.
2. If you do not already have the stove you will have to buy one. We actually had one already (free from sister-in-law). We subsequently bought a new one for the oven thermostat control.
3. If the current stove has cabinets over it you will need to remove them if they are closer than 18" (I think that was the distance, might be 24").
4. Do your homework and take your time to do it right. It is not that big a job but it does take some time and $$$ to do it.

Marty......................
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Old 09-28-2015, 03:40 PM   #15
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If you look at the Galley Tools thread you can see a few examples of how much we've suffered having an electric range and oven.
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Old 09-28-2015, 04:10 PM   #16
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I had an electric range for the first two years, and switched to propane this season. I can literally cook breakfast in the time it took the electric stove top to heat up!

Rather than to install a propane locker, I mounted the bottle on the roof of the cabin unenclosed. I was on board for almost 3 months straight this summer and never went through a 7 gallon horizontal aluminum bottle I had mounted.

My next improvement will be to mount a second regulator and solenoid for the BBQ and run a line to the stern with a quick disconnect fitting. The only time I ran the generator all summer was to vacuum the cabin on the way back into port.

Silence is golden!
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Old 09-28-2015, 09:40 PM   #17
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Thanks to all of you for your well presented responses. I'm pretty handy, so I am confident in the installation part of it. All my boats (I'm on my 3rd) have had propane stoves, and since I do most of the cooking, I think I would like to go that way. As with other things on a new-to-me boat, I should probably live with the electric stove for a while and see if really needs replacing.

I like the idea of running another line to the BBQ. That would make life much easier.

Thanks again, Bill
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Old 09-28-2015, 11:09 PM   #18
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I have electric and gave serious thought to converting to propane and decided against it. When I'am in the slip there is no problems and I don't run out of propane and have to switch bottles. When anchored out I do not mind running the gen to cook breakfast and dinner, those times plus a little TV time in the evening keeps the house battery charged. I think the gen needs to be used rather than just set in the bilge, plus electric's dependability and safety were the reasons I stayed with it.


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Old 09-29-2015, 07:30 AM   #19
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The locker for the bottles must be top opening and have nothing but propane & propane items inside.

Must drain overboard , with no opening window below.

A solenoid to switch on the gas is needed , usually with a bilge sniffer to turn it off , just in case.

I prefer to use the of/on with light setup from the solenoid folks and install, a high off the floor mechanical 2 hour timer.

This keeps kids from switching on the nice operating lamp.

The preferably 2 stage regulator should be hooked to a supply hose with in one single run.Proper hose has USCG markings.

AS a safety I frequently would run the propane hose thru a discarded Hyd hose , to protect it from damage.

Many propane ovens will have a pilot setup to obtain thermostat regulation for the oven.

IF a propane range is in the works , will the propane reefer be far behind?
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Old 09-29-2015, 08:30 AM   #20
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Quote:
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Thanks to all of you for your well presented responses. I'm pretty handy, so I am confident in the installation part of it. All my boats (I'm on my 3rd) have had propane stoves, and since I do most of the cooking, I think I would like to go that way. As with other things on a new-to-me boat, I should probably live with the electric stove for a while and see if really needs replacing.

I like the idea of running another line to the BBQ. That would make life much easier.

We prefer electric, on the boat. We have propane at home, works well, but it would too much bother on the boat... both doing a conversion, and then managing the additional system afterwards.

Just have to learn/practice the differences between electric and gas (instant on/off with gas being one). And we need to run the genset 2x/day to keep the batteries topped off, anyway, so it's easy enough to make that coincide with breakfast/dinner cooking times.

I think about installing an inverter to use for quiet early morning coffee, and maybe late night microwave, but haven't gotten a round tuit.

We can use a small one-burner propane thing in the cockpit for quiet coffee... but I usually don't go to the extra trouble. We also augment our cooking with a propane grill in the cockpit, pain in the neck but it offers at least some change in diet. (Could use that for quiet coffee too, but again, I usually don't.) These use small screw-on canisters, not as much fuss as a plumbed system. Still... we usually only drag those out if we'll be anchored at the same place for at least a couple days.

I intend to switch our inside cooktop to induction if/when it ever craps out.

-Chris
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