Should You Convert Your Conventional Gas Appliances to Propane?

Date: April 22, 2019

Propane tank

If you’re interested in switching the fuel source in your home from natural gas to propane, or if you have an appliance made for natural gas that you would rather fuel with propane, you’re going to need to arrange for a service visit to see if a professional conversion of the appliance can be done.

Some do-it-yourselfers may think that switching out an orifice is all that is needed for an appliance to be converted for use with another gas. In fact, several other factors must be addressed, including the regulator, the burner and the burner air shutter.

It is never a good idea to “tinker” with your gas appliances, including the stove, the dryer or the furnace. This is a job best left to the professionals. If you are even thinking about modifying any gas appliance, the first order of business is to consult with your local propane expert.

Understanding the differences

Here’s why making a conversion between two different gases can be complicated. Converting your appliance from using natural gas to propane is more than just connecting the appliance to the propane supply. That’s because natural gas is a lower pressure gas than propane. That means anything related to gas pressure and flow must be replaced or adjusted.

Here are specific areas that will have to be addressed by a certified service technician.

  • Gas supply pressure into the appliance
  • Gas metering jets or orifices in the appliance
  • Gas regulators in the appliance
  • The air mix at the gas controls of the appliance

Because of this, it is strongly recommended by most propane experts and appliance manufacturers that you DO NOT try to tackle propane conversions yourself, but hire a licensed technician for the project. In fact, many municipalities require that appliance conversion projects be done by a professional.

When you call in a professional technician, he can make sure all the necessary adjustments are done and can test the appliance to make sure the conversion is correct before putting the appliance into operation in your home.

What can be converted?

Heaters, ranges, ovens, cooktops, outdoor grills and water heaters may be converted. But not all makes and models of appliances are convertible between natural gas and propane, and vice versa, especially water heaters. Before investing any time or money into a conversion project, check your appliance first. Some will come with a warning label specifying they are for only one type of gas.

If your natural gas appliance is older, it’s probably easier and less expensive to just upgrade to a new propane appliance rather than spending money to do a conversion.

You can read more about choosing propane over natural gas here.

Feel free to contact your propane company to learn more about propane, including its great track record for safety and efficiency.