What if you need to change the fuel of your appliance from natural gas to propane, is it possible? Will the device still work properly? Read on because we've done the research for you so you'll know if this is a feasible plan.
Some natural gas appliances can run on propane once they have been converted. Changing certain components will better equip the appliance in handling propane's higher pressure and heat energy. However, this doesn't apply to all appliances. Check the product label to know if you can change its fuel to propane.
Keep on reading to understand why not all natural gas appliances can run on propane and how to convert appliances to run on this fuel. We'll also talk about the advantages and disadvantages of using propane on your appliances. Let's get right to it!
What happens if you use propane on a natural gas appliance?
Some homeowners like the idea of alternative fuel sources. Using gas can save them a lot of money when it comes to energy costs compared to electricity plus it's kinder for the environment. You get to enjoy the comforts of your home without hurting your pocket and while protecting the planet, isn't that a cool idea?
Many appliances nowadays can be powered by natural gas. Gas utility companies have made it convenient for homes to access this fuel supply through their service lines. This is especially true for those living in urban areas.
However, like electricity, some homes are off the grid for these natural gas companies. Instead of this fuel, homeowners can use propane gas which is available in portable tanks. They just need to ensure that the appliance can be used for propane. If not, there are conversion kits available that'll allow them to use propane on their natural gas appliances.
Since natural gas and propane are both gases, some people think that they can use either fuel interchangeably. This isn't the case. These fuels have different heat energy levels and amounts of pressure so the components of natural gas appliances must be able to accommodate these changes before they can function safely and efficiently using propane.
If you don't have it converted, the appliance won't work properly or can get damaged. Worse, you're putting yourself in danger. It can result in leaks, explosions, or carbon monoxide poisoning.
Also, not all appliances powered by natural gas can be fueled by propane. Some manufacturers have designed their products to work with just a particular fuel type. If this is the case, don't ever attempt to use propane on your natural gas device as this is asking for trouble.
How do you convert natural gas appliances to propane?
Appliance conversion allows you to change the fuel that you're using to power your appliance. You need to change some internal components for your appliance to work properly. This includes the regulators, burners, orifices, and primary air shutters. These parts have been specifically designed to work with a particular fuel type and its demands.
Different fuels like natural gas and propane have different pressures. Propane has a higher pressure than natural gas. You need to change those components that will deal with this so that they are better able to handle the difference in delivery pressures safely. This way, the appliance will work as expected.
For example, a natural gas appliance has a large orifice. This is needed because the fuel has a lower amount of heat energy and delivery pressure. Meanwhile, you won't need an orifice that size when using propane because this fuel already has high heat energy and pressure.
Having a big orifice will result in a huge flame that can compromise your safety and will require more fuel consumption than needed.
Some modern appliances come with conversion kits but you can also buy them in case you don't have one. Take note that you have to buy an approved propane/gas conversion kit for compliance and safety purposes. If you don't, your appliance's warranty or your home insurance might be affected.
Some appliances cannot be converted from gas to propane systems. Check the product information as they will be labeled accordingly.
When converting your appliance, make sure to hire a licensed gas appliance technician so that you can be confident about the quality of the work and your safety.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of choosing propane over natural gas?
If you're converting your natural gas appliance to propane, you need to know the benefits and drawbacks of using this fuel. We've listed them down for you so you can decide if it's a good move to have our appliance converted.
These are the advantages that you stand to gain when you convert your fuel from natural gas to propane.
Propane is more energy-efficient than natural gas because it has more heat energy. One cubic foot of propane will give you 2,516 BTUs while the same amount of natural gas will only produce 1,030 BTUs. This shows that propane's energy is almost 2.5 times that of natural gas.
Since propane has more heat energy than natural gas, you won't need to consume the same amount of fuel for your appliances.
If you're curious about the price difference, you can do the computation. First, convert propane's number of gallons to cubic feet so that it now has the same unit of measurement as natural gas. Then, multiply the price of natural gas by 2.5 so that you will get the same amount of heat energy between the two fuels.
Compare the price of both fuels. This will vary depending on your location and availability of supply.
Of the two fuels, propane is the cleaner gas. It won't release harmful gases like carbon monoxide into the atmosphere before and during use.
With propane, you can beef up your stocks when prices are low so that you won't worry about the next price increase. You can keep your tanks underground. Aside from compliance, this will also save you space and avoid causing an eyesore in your backyard.
In the spirit of transparency, you also need to know about the drawbacks of using this fuel for your appliances.
Run Out of Stock
With natural gas, you can just turn on your pipeline and you already have your fuel supply. Unfortunately, this isn't the case for propane.
There is the possibility that you'll run out of stock when the refill stations aren't available (e.g., there's a snowstorm in your area.) Without this fuel, how can you run your appliances? This is a hassle especially when you need to use them the most (case in point, your heater during a snowstorm).
Both natural gas and propane are safe to use for your home appliances. They are odorless and colorless but chemicals have been added to them so that homeowners can detect when there's a leak.
It is more dangerous to have a propane leak than natural gas because this fuel is heavy and will be concentrated at the floor level. This makes it harmful especially in enclosed spaces such as homes.
If you're having your appliance converted from natural gas to propane, you need to be aware of the costs involved.
Some gas utility companies offer free services while some will charge a professional fee between $150 to $300. Add to that the cost of the conversion kit if your appliance doesn't come with one.
Always have a licensed gas appliance technician do the conversion and never attempt to do it yourself. Safety should always come first over any costs.
Overall, propane is more energy efficient to use which can significantly reduce your fuel cost and it's the greener choice. But you always have to check your supply level to make sure you don't run out and use the device properly to avoid leaks and other safety issues.
Some say that it's the conversion cost that makes or breaks the conversion deal. They say you might as well buy a new appliance that runs on propane instead of going through all the trouble and cost. But if you have no problem with these concerns, then converting your natural gas appliance to propane is a good idea.
Check your appliance first if you can have it converted from natural gas to propane then have a professional do the conversion for you to ensure your safety and the appliance's efficiency and effectiveness.
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