Considerations Regarding The Conversion Of Propane Furnaces To Natural Gas

When a natural gas utility company extends the pipeline farther out beyond the municipality limits, residents of those neighborhoods have the option to connect with this service. Most households outside of utility service areas heat with liquefied petroleum gas, commonly called LPG or propane. A heating services contractor can convert a propane furnace for safe usage with natural gas.

Natural Gas Advantages

This service has some attractive features as compared with propane. For instance, there is no need for a big fuel tank on the property. Some homeowners may feel that the tank detracts from the landscaping's appearance.

Also, natural gas is not susceptible to the price volatility sometimes characteristic of propane during the cold-weather months. LPG shortages can develop when demand increases.  Consumers who can afford to buy the entire season's worth of LPG in summer or fall aren't affected by rising costs over the winter. Not everyone can pay that large amount at one time, however.

For these reasons, homeowners may want to hire a heating contractor to convert the propane furnace to natural gas usage when the utility service becomes available. Utility companies generally offer incentives for hooking up to the pipeline. That way, prospective customers do not have to pay for an extension to their homes.

The Home's Existing Furnace

All gas furnaces are initially manufactured to operate on natural gas since that is by far the most common fuel used for heating. When a heating contractor is hired to install an LPG furnace, the worker converts a natural gas model to run safely on propane. Propane is kept at a higher pressure, so a natural gas furnace must be adjusted to accommodate this. Otherwise, the flame would be too large and hot, creating a dangerous situation.

The specialized kit used for this project allows technicians to change valves, gas orifices, and the gas line pressure. The conversion allows rural homeowners to enjoy the advantages of gas furnaces and have LPG delivered by a truck through an independent supplier.

Reverse Conversion: Propane to Natural Gas

A furnace that has been converted to run on propane will not work with natural gas. The flame will be too small for the appliance to provide heat. Heating technicians essentially perform a reverse conversion to switch the furnace back from propane usage to natural gas.

If the propane furnace is nearing the end of its expected lifespan, homeowners might decide to wait and have a natural gas model installed later. However, if they expect to use this appliance for at least a few more years, making the switch now may be appealing.

Contact a local HVAC contractor to learn more.