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What to Know About Natural Gas to Propane Conversion

Propane tanks

Deciding to convert to propane from natural gas can be a tough decision as there are pros and cons to both fuel sources. Both fuels are efficient, clean-burning sources of consistent heat. Cost differences can vary based on your location and normal shifts in natural resource prices. However, there are a few ways that propane comes out ahead.

Propane is More Efficient

Each unit of propane contains twice as much energy per unit as natural gas. Therefore, you only need about half as much propane versus natural gas to achieve the same level of heating.

When comparing energy costs, it is important to be aware that you will need about half the amount of propane to heat to the same extent as natural gas. Therefore, the cost efficiency is roughly equal when the propane price for the same volume is about double the natural gas price. If the propane price is less than double, propane is more cost effective and if propane costs more than double natural gas, natural gas is more efficient.

Even when prices fluctuate, propane has one big advantage. With propane, you have a tank and can try to time your purchases to when prices are low and find the best providers to fill it. With natural gas, you're locked into the pricing of the utility company that owns your gas lines.

To learn more about how to compare costs and why you should make the switch to propane, take a look at our homeowner's guide to natural gas vs. propane.

Installing Your Propane Tank

Propane burners

You'll need to install a tank big enough to hold several thousand cubic feet of propane on your property. Many people prefer to bury it under their yard to preserve their home's appearance. This may require digging up your grass, but luckily this will not be a permanent nuisance and your beautiful yard should grow back fully in the warmer months.

Convert Your Appliances

Even though propane and natural gas are both fossil fuels that burn similarly, you need to convert your appliances when you make the switch. Because they have different densities and amounts of energy, you must switch out the valves and switches to properly control the flow when switching from one to the other.

Most, but not all, appliances can be converted from natural gas to propane. The biggest sticking point is that natural gas is kept at a lower pressure, and some appliances can't handle the higher pressure of propane even with adjustments.

It is important to consult a professional when considering making the switch from natural gas to propane as the work involved is highly technical and can be dangerous if the person doing the work does not have the required experience.

Get a Conversion Kit

Oven range in a kitchen

Ideally, when you buy a new appliance, you should make sure it comes with a conversion kit in case you decide to convert between propane and natural gas in the future. For older appliances where you don't have a kit, you can buy one separately. Be sure to read the instructions for both the kit and your appliance to ensure you can safely use the kit.

Converting a Natural Gas Stove

Most stoves come set up ready for natural gas because it is most commonly used for indoor cooking. If you want to switch to propane, you'll probably need to convert a gas stove.

Replace the Natural Gas Spuds

Petro Propane Delivery truck

The biggest switch needed for a stovetop is switching to burners with smaller orifices so that less propane comes out. Remember that propane has more heat energy, so you need less to cook your food. Because of the dangers of gas leaks, we recommend leaving this part of the job to a professional like Petro Home Services.

Adjust Your Settings

Even after you've replaced the valves and orifices on your appliances, you'll probably still need to adjust their settings after switching. This is to make sure that everything's just right, so you get the proper food and water temperatures for years to come.

Petro Home Services is a leading natural gas and propane service provider. We can help explain the advantages of switching to propane plus more about what it takes to make the switch. Contact us if you are thinking about converting from natural gas to propane or have any questions about the process.

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