Is your food truck equipment not operating properly? Do you have low gas pressure, yellow flames, a large amount of black soot deposits, and no blue flame? Your propane tank setup is probably to blame.
We recently had a customer who had a food truck built by someone else and they installed two 30 lb horizontal propane tanks in a lower storage compartment. These small tanks may work great for an RV, but a food truck and commercial cooking equipment is a different beast.
After working on our customers truck, we wanted to share some very important information about your propane system and specifically your propane tank size.
The size of your propane tank(s) DOES MATTER! It is VERY important. It is important for the following reason: The larger the tank the higher the VAPORIZATION rate of the liquid propane.
The liquid propane uses the temperature difference between it’s boiling point (-44 degree F) and the outside temperature to create vaporization. When the tank is initially filled with liquid propane (80%-85% maximum) some of the liquid vaporizes into propane gas until an equilibrium is reached. The gas is withdrawn from the tank, the pressure is lowered below that of equilibrium, lowering the boiling point of the liquid. This causes more vaporization of the liquid into gas.
Here are some things to find out when making sure you are setup properly.
#1 What is the MAXIMUM BTU’s my cooking equipment uses per hour?
Every piece of commercial gas cooking equipment is rated at so many BTU’s per hour. When you have all your burners turned up high, and are running full bore, what is the maximum demand of your equipment?
For example, a common food truck may include:
40lb Fryer – 102,000 BTU’s
24″ Broiler or griddle – 80,000 BTU’s
4 Burner Hotplate – 100,000 BTU’s
2 Well Steam Table – 7,000 BTU’s
In this example your total MAXIMUM BTU load is: 289,000 BTU’s per hour. You will need add other items that run on propane, like a propane generator.
#2 What size propane tank do I need to operate my equipment?
We understand you may never operate all of your equipment at MAX BTU’s all at the same time, but the MAX BTU will help size your propane tanks. There are a few factors that will determine the size of your tanks:
- Where will the tanks be installed on the trailer or truck? This may determine the maximum size tank you can install.
- How often do you want to have the tanks filled? If can install larger tanks or even multiple tanks this will extend the time between fill ups.
- What is the vaporization rate of the tank? Vaporization rate is the rate at which the propane liquid is boiled off to propane gas. The small the tank and the colder the temperature the lower the vaporization rate. Vaporization rate is the MOST IMPORTANT of these factors.
So in our example food truck we have 289,000 MAX BTU’s per hour.
Other things are factors too, such as ambient air temperature, and how full the tank is. The higher the temperature, the higher the pressure in the tank is, which translates to higher BTU output. Same goes for how full the tank is. Below is a good chart showing you BTU/hour based on size and outside temperatures.
As you can see, with a smaller propane tank, the max draw of BTU per hour goes down considerably. If you run two tanks in series, your BTU numbers will double to your equipment. For two 100lb propane tanks at 40 Degrees, you’ll achieve 428,000 BTU/hr. Next, lets look at total BTU capacity, which will show you how long you can run on your tanks before needing a fill up.
If you are running all your equipment for 8 hours a day at 289,000 BTU/hr, each day you’ll consume 2,312,000 in one day. That is a worst case scenario, most trucks don’t have everything running all the time, so lets say you are running at 50% max all day, your lunch rush, and dinner (if you are open for dinner). That is 1,156,000 in a day.
Two 100lb Tanks: 4,321,018 BTU Max / 1,156,000= 3.73 days before running out.
So on two 100lb tanks, you should be filling up every 3 days based on 50% of max BTU/hr consumption in order to maintain proper pressure and BTU’s needed to use your equipment correctly.
#3 What an Incorrect Setup will Do to Your Cook Line
If you are running say, one 40lb propane tank, on your best day (fill up day) you are getting 131,000 BTU/hr when it’s 60 degrees outside. If it’s winter/spring in the morning you are only getting 105,000 BTU/hr.
Equipment Needs: 289,000 BTU/Hour
Equipment Receives: 105,000 BTU/Hour
Propane Deficiency: -184,000 BTU/Hour
Your equipment may light, and may function, but you’ll experience a problem we like to call yellow flame. Yellow flame is caused by an improper air/fuel mixture resulting in yellow flame that is not as hot as the proper blue flame, and causes excessive soot and blackening of your pots and pans, and exhaust hood system.
Other side-affects of poor gas flow is increased cook times, due to your equipment trying to cook with one hand tied behind it’s back. Less BTU’s = less heat, so your equipment is operating in-efficiently.
Here is a excerpt from another blogger who addresses the issue of yellow flame. This is written assuming that your gas pressure isn’t the issue, and that it’s just your air/fuel mixture that needs adjusting:
Problem #3: Commercial Gas Broiler has a Yellow Flame or Weak Blue Flame
Commercial gas broilers should always have a strong and straight blue flame. If you notice that your broiler’s flame is flickering or has changed to a yellow color, then you need to adjust the air shutters to increase or decrease the amount of oxygen flowing to the flame.
A yellow flame on your broiler is a sign that the flame is not as hot as it needs to be. The lower-temperature flame is a problem with cooking temperatures, but it is also a problem because it causes soot to form from unburned gas. This soot will build up on your broiler’s internal parts and cause a multitude of problems.
Bottom line, it’s very important that you have proper gas flow, to make sure your equipment runs correctly. Whether you are buying a used truck, having one built, or already own one and aren’t getting the performance from your food truck equipment that you would like, this will fix your issue caused by a lack of BTU’s to your cooking equipment.
Thinking of having a food truck built in the Tri-Cities area of Washington State? We are a general contractor and would love to meet with you and give you a price on a food truck or trailer!
Western Equipment Sales
1620 E 7th Ave
Kennewick, WA 99337
Open Monday – Friday 8am – 5pm PST.
We are currently running our fall mailer promotion right now! Through the end of December, we are offering a 10% discount on all smallwares in stock at our Kennewick location! See our mailer below for our advertised specials!
We have been working long and hard at improving our customer experience here at Western Equipment Sales. While we may still be in that hard to find location in Kennewick, WA our restaurant equipment selection has increased and we are stocking more product now that never before. We have upgraded our point-of-sale, and made pricing and finding products easier than ever! Here are a couple of photos to show you the progress we have made, and this is only the beginning. We have big plans as we continue to grow into 2016!
Hello my fellow restauranteurs and restaurant equipment part lovers, we have lots of new things to tell you about! We have been working on an overhaul of our whole website to make things more easy to find and pleasant on the eye. Both our logo, and our website has undergone a significant facelift.
We also wanted to do something special for our customers, so for the next week, we are offering all orders 5% off! (Ends 1/17/14). Just enter in FIVEOFFWES2014 at checkout to get your discount. Remember, this is a LIMITED TIME discount code that will not be valid after 1/17/14.
The savings are off of your ENTIRE order!
In other news:
We are looking at expanding our selection and offering more equipment (after all, it is in our name) and our selection of high end cookware and home items. Be sure to subscribe to our blog/newsletter to stay in the know about what cool stuff we are adding!
Happy New Year, and thank you for your business. If you haven’t bought from us yet, give us a shot, you won’t be disappointed!
– Your friendly WES Team
Visit www.westernequipmentsales.com for over 26,000 parts, smallwares, and supplies for your food service business.
It’s been a long productive year for us here at Western Equipment Sales. From new employee’s, new websites, to new restaurants built and hoods installed, we wanted to offer you a happy new year and here’s to a very successful 2014! Here’s a little summary of everything we did this year:
We have completely revamped our current blog site, so it’s more user friendly and easy on the eyes! If you haven’t subscribed you should, as we will be posting regularly starting in 2014.
We built and finished Italiano’s Serious Pies and Pasta in West Richland, WA. You can watch a video walkthrough and see pictures of the install here.
We installed custom stainless countertops, sinks, and a dishwasher at Redeemer Lutheran in Richland, WA.
We installed a New Hood System at Yokes in Pasco, WA
Read about it here:
We also helped renovate and update the Kennewick Rotary Club’s Fair booth:
Yes we have had quite the productive year, there are many other jobs we completed that we don’t have room for, but lets just say we are looking to expand our reach in 2014. We have a new website cooking in the oven and we are excited to roll it out in 2014.
From all of us here at Western Equipment Sales, to all of you, have a safe and very happy new year in 2014!
Your Western Equipment Sales Team.
Our general contracting division of Western Equipment Sales just completed a wonderful custom stainless steel installation for a new Kitchen at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Richland, WA. We had custom stainless steel made and ordered for their specific application, and helped with the layout and design of the sinks, position of the their dishwasher, and prep area. Below are just a few pictures of our work. Special thanks to Redeemer Lutheran for the opportunity to do their work, the General Contractor on the project Jeff at Siefken & Sons Construction for working closely with us, Blake at Dependable Appliance for referring us, CMA dish-machines for the Dishwasher, Elkay Foodservice for the custom stainless sinks and worktables, and Corey at Kennewick Industrial & Supply for providing the high quality T&S faucets.
Need general contracting done for a food service remodel? Need custom work, or a hood install? Give Western Equipment Sales a call at 866-585-6978 Monday through Friday from 7am to 4pm. Or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We haven’t posted in few days so I thought I would let you know what we have been up to over here at Western Equipment Sales.
1. We have added beautiful photos of our staff on our website! Check them out here. (Hint: I’m the one named Joel) Stay turned for short blogs on each employee so you can get to know us better.
2. We are in the process of categorizing over 12,000 additional products that range from cookware and glassware, to cocktail mixers and bar supplies and tools. We are excited to have all these additional proucts available at incredible prices!
3. We are removing our free shipping from our website. We have decided that as a company we want transparency across the board, including pricing and shipping. We are LOWERING our pricing across the board, so when you check out you will still be getting the best prices, and it will show how much you are paying for shipping. We do not add anything to the shipping costs, what you pay is what UPS charges us. We hope you enjoy our competitive pricing, great selection, and fast shipping!
4. We have a new video created on a hood install we did last week, which I will be posting today! We hope you enjoy seeing how we do things here at Western Equipment Sales.
If you have any suggestions on how we can make our site better and more usable for you, we would love your feedback! Fill out the form below and we will take every suggestion seriously. Thanks for following us, and we hope to serve you in the future.
Business Development Manager/Blog Writer
Western Equipment Sales
After a long 6 months of remodeling and building the restaurant from the ground up, Western Equipment Sales of Kennewick, WA has finally finished Italiano’s Serious Pies and Pasta located in West Richland, WA by the Yokes Fresh Market off of Bombing Range Road.
As far as restaurant equipment goes, we provided almost every piece of equipment in the restaurant, including two Blodgett Pizza Ovens, 6 Burner Natural Gas Range, Over 15 ft of exhaust hood and make up air installations, and much more!
In addition to the back end operations, we installed everything from the tiling on the back end floors, to the carpet, custom granite counter tops, pass through, tables, dropped ceiling, and lighting. If you are looking for a general contractor who knows restaurants inside and out in the Kennewick, Richland, and Pasco Washington area, you need to contact Western Equipment Sales.
With over 10 years of experience in the Tri-Cities restaurant industry, Western Equipment Sales offers you the best combination of experience, quality work, and competitive pricing. Enjoy the pictures below of our finished job!