Are you tired of constantly refilling your propane tank for your heater? Converting to natural gas can be a cost-effective and convenient solution.
However, it’s important to note that converting a heater from propane to natural gas is a complex process that should only be attempted by a qualified professional.
In this blog post, we’ll provide a step-by-step guide on converting a heater from propane to natural gas, as well as the necessary safety precautions to take.
Whether you’re a homeowner looking to save money on fuel or a property owner looking to upgrade your heating system, this guide will provide the information you need to make the switch.
Can I Convert A Propane Heater To Natural Gas?
Definitely! Natural gas furnaces can be converted from propane furnaces since they both use gas and require the same equipment. At some point, natural gas might be available in your neighborhood if you are looking at that particular situation.
Suppose you’re considering the possibility that natural gas will someday be available in your neighborhood. Propane may be a better choice if you want to be connected to natural gas lines sooner rather than later.
With natural gas, there is no concern about when it will be delivered or when it will run out. The consumption of deliverable fuels like oil and propane must be monitored, and delays may occur due to weather or other circumstances.
While you can convert the furnace between gas and propane, you cannot do the same for your water heater if you consider converting your fuel from propane to natural gas. Therefore, switching should be done with that in mind.
How to Convert From Propane Gas to Natural Gas?
In terms of equivalent unit cost, natural gas is roughly one-third less expensive than propane, also known as LP gas.
In some neighborhoods, natural gas may become available soon enough that homeowners may consider switching from propane to natural gas to save money.
There can be a lot of complexity in the conversion process, and the cost can vary from under $1,000 to over $5,000.
Bringing In Gas
You will need to extend a gas line from the gas main to your home and have a gas meter installed after you convert from propane to natural gas. It is the responsibility of your choice to arrange for local inspections of the installation of the inside gas pipes and the meter.
A gas company returns after the installation is approved to turn on the gas and start the gas meter. Upon completion of the conversion to natural gas, your contractor will start your appliances and ensure that they function properly.
Compared to propane, natural gas has a lower density. It is not uncommon for homes plumbed for propane to need to be re-piped for natural gas. It is common for propane distribution lines to have only a half-inch inside diameter.
Still, natural gas lines need to have at least a 3/4 inch inside diameter to deliver equivalent amounts of natural gas. When converting a propane home to natural gas, a licensed natural gas installer is required.
As propane gas has a lower density than natural gas, appliances such as furnaces and ranges that use propane must be converted to handle natural gas.
When converting an appliance to natural gas, the propane regulators and orifices are replaced with those designed for natural gas.
A licensed installer can convert many gas appliances, but a conversion kit should do the actual work. It will be necessary to replace some propane appliances, such as water heaters when converting to natural gas.
Dealing With the Tank
Upon switching to natural gas, you will need to dispose of the propane tank you are no longer using. You can sell your above-ground tank if you own one.
In contrast, if you leased the above-ground tank, you would need to call the propane supplier to remove it.
Using up propane in a tank in the ground, then switching to natural gas and leaving the tank in place, will work if you have an in-ground propane tank.
If you do not want to waste propane, you can call the propane company to have it emptied. Sometimes, you may have to pay someone to dig up and remove an empty propane tank following local codes.
Things You Need to Know About Converting to Natural Gas
In general, conversions cost between $8,000 and $12,000. It is more complicated and costly to convert oil into natural gas than most people realize.
Your role is to serve as the General Contractor for the project. Most homeowners are responsible for obtaining permits and running the project themselves.
It takes time to respond. Sometimes, reaching a gas company representative can take months and even longer to schedule a conversion. You shouldn’t expect timely responses whenever you have a problem after converting.
There is a payback period of over 15 years for conversion to natural gas, or perhaps never.
In combination with today’s incredibly low heating oil costs, and modern heating oil equipment, which is highly efficient, the payback period for converting can be absolutely zero.
How Much Does It Cost to Convert to Natural Gas?
You will save money on your energy bills by switching to natural gas. Adding these factors to your budget will help you get the best results:
Installation Of A Gas Line:
The utility company will require the gas line installation during the conversion process. It is also necessary for a heating and air conditioning technician to install your meter in your home.
A gas line’s cost depends on several factors, such as the size and distance of your property, labor, and supplies. In some cases, utility companies run gas lines within a certain distance, then charge an extra fee for each foot.
Oil Or Propane Tank Removal:
You may want to remove the tank from your home if switching from oil or propane to natural gas.
A New Heating System:
If you want to switch to natural gas heat, you will need to change your appliances. To use natural gas, you’ll have to buy a new furnace, boiler, and water heater.
To reduce your heating bills even further, purchase energy-efficient appliances. There is a possibility of converting current appliances to natural gas heat in some cases.
Your contractor must acquire permits for converting your home to natural gas. A permit enables you to do the work and ensure your project is up to code.
In the case of natural gas, local, state, and federal governments use permits to enforce safety and health regulations. There is a difference between where you live and what permits are required.
Can I Get Natural Gas at My House?
Piquing natural gas from a central location to your home is necessary. The gas companies will typically connect natural gas lines to entire neighborhoods, and homeowners can connect as well.
You might be able to have a natural gas line installed in your neighborhood if you talk to your HOA or the natural gas provider.
Many people convert not only their heating system to natural gas but also their other appliances. In some cases, appliances can be converted, but in others, they may have to be purchased new.
The conversion of water heaters to natural gas can often be accomplished in the same way as that of furnaces. Compared to water heaters, instant hot water systems are much more likely to be convertible due to the specifications of their water tanks.