Both natural gas and propane can be used to power many heaters.
Even so, because natural gas and propane operate at different pressures, they will require specific gas utilization parts/fittings for each source of fuel.
The good news is that most natural gas heaters can be converted to propane; however, there are a few exceptions, so double-check your owner’s manual.
Now, if you’ve been thinking about converting your natural gas heater to work with propane – assuming you have a model that’s considered convertible – keep reading to learn how to convert natural gas heater to propane.
To be honest, it’s a little difficult, but it’s not impossible for any homeowner to complete if they put in enough effort.
How to convert natural gas heater to propane
how to convert natural gas heater to propane, if you prefer the way propane heats or find it more convenient:
Check to see if the unit includes a conversion kit.
Newer heaters, for the most part, come with a conversion kit, allowing them to be adjusted to run on propane at any time.
If you’re not familiar with the conversion kit, it compensates for the pressure difference between natural gas and propane, allowing you to safely operate the unit on propane.
Check to see if a compatible conversion kit was included when your heater was installed.
If you didn’t, don’t worry; you can order one directly from the manufacturer.
You can also buy a suitable aftermarket natural gas to propane conversion kit online or from a local hardware store.
1. Before beginning any procedure, turn off the natural gas supply to your heater.
2. Before continuing, make sure the electrical cord is unplugged from the outlet.
3. Before beginning installation, double-check that you have everything you’ll need (as listed in the documentation).
How to convert natural gas heater to propane- step by step (may differ depending on your kit model)
1. Remove the access panel from the heater.
2. Disconnect the gas supply piping to the heater.
3. All electrical connections to the gas valve should be disconnected.
4. Remove the screws that connect your burner box to the manifold. This allows you to take the manifold and gas valve assembly apart.
5. On the manifold assembly, remove the orifices. Keep them safe in case you need them; you might be able to convert them to natural gas in the future.
6. Now, insert your propane orifices (from the kit) into the opening on the manifold assembly where the removed orifices were (discard any extra orifices).
7. Tighten the orifices with a wrench until they’re gas-tight.
8. Then, simply follow the instructions that came with your specific regulator kit to convert your combination gas valve.
9. Install the propane fuel rating plate label that came with your conversion kit next to the serial plate on the space heater (on the same panel as the common replacement part’s label).
10. Screw the manifold assembly back into place on your burner box.
11. Replace your gas valve’s different electrical connections.
12. Inventive+ phrasing Check to see if the sensor and igniter are still in good working order and haven’t been damaged.
13th. To avoid putting too much strain on the unit’s heater gas manifold, reconnect the piping that supplies gas to your heater with 2(two) wrenches.
That is all there is to it.
Now you can turn on your propane gas supply and see if it’s heating up.
• Remember to test it- You can’t say your installation is complete and safe until you’ve checked the functionality of your converted heater. Before you use it, do this.
• Choosing the Right Kit- Kits are not universal, and attempting to work with an incompatible kit could result in serious consequences. Do your homework before placing your order.
• Read the entire instruction manual- Before starting the installation, read the entire instruction manual that came with the conversion kit. It will assist in removing any ambiguities.
What are your other options?
The only issue that complicates the convention, as previously stated, is the significant difference in running pressure between natural gas and propane.
The conversion kit’s main purpose, as we saw above, is to eliminate pressure discrepancies, and it’s probably the simplest and safest way to complete the changeover.
However, it isn’t the only option; you can also try the following two workarounds:
• Replace the larger diameter orifices generally used in natural-gas-fed heaters (especially if they’re screw-in types) with smaller fuel orifices instead of purchasing the kit. As a result, the resulting pressure is managed, and the heater will most likely function OK on propane.
Warning: If you don’t switch to a smaller-diameter fuel orifice, you’ll risk over-fueling your heater. This can be harmful since incorrect combustion can result in excessive carbon monoxide production. A natural gas propane conversion chart (showing gas used in BTUs/hour against various orifice sizes) might assist you in determining the correct orifice size.
• Install a pressure regulator- Adding a pressure regulator is another method that people use (and that you can use as well) to decrease the pressure down to a safe level for propane use. The addon merely changes the pressure to allow you to work with propane, as the name implies.
What is the best way to convert a natural gas fireplace to a propane fireplace?
Changing a natural gas fireplace to a propane fireplace is comparable to changing a heater from natural gas to propane.
In other words, you’ll still need a natural gas to propane fireplace conversion kit like this.
Furthermore, it is a significant amount of work, even if certain conversion kits are designed to be installed with minimal difficulty.
Watch this video to see how to install a conversion kit on a Napoleon WHD31 Gas Fireplace to get an idea.
Please check all local codes and restrictions before customizing; keep in mind that some areas demand that such modifications be done by a licensed professional.
It’s also worth noting that the manufacturer’s instructions usually include all you need to know before completing the switchover, from whether it’s safe to all the components you’ll need, so it’s critical to consult your owner’s handbook before proceeding.
Unfortunately, some gas heaters aren’t convertible, so if you’re forced to use propane for supplemental heat, your best chance is to choose a model that accepts propane.