Converting LPG & Natural Gas Appliances

LPG (propane) and natural gas (methane) appliances are not interchangeable — they must be converted.

As a result of a move, you may have an appliance that you need to convert from natural gas to LPG or from LPG to natural gas.

Can this be done and what is involved? 
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LPG & Natural Gas Appliance Conversion Facts – LPG & Natural Gas Pressure

Natural gas and LPG appliances operate at different pressures, with natural gas pressure at 1.1 kPa and LPG at 2.75 kPa, respectively.  LPG requires an air (oxygen) to gas ratio of approximately 25:1 whilst natural gas is 10:1, for proper combustion.

LPG has a higher energy content than natural gas, with 93.2MJ/m3 vs 38.7MJ/m3.

You can convert LPG to natural gas and natural gas to LPG. Natural gas to LPG or LPG to natural gas appliance conversions should only be done by qualified technicians or licensed gas fitters.

Please read more for all of the details about gas appliance conversions…

Natural Gas to LPG Conversion Kit – LPG to Natural Gas Conversion Kit

A natural gas to LPG conversion kit is typically available to convert all home appliances.  You can also obtain an LPG to natural gas conversion kit for all appliances. For example, a natural gas conversion kit is used to convert an LPG gas BBQ to run on natural gas.

Manufacturers typically provide conversion kits with the parts and instructions required to convert from natural gas to LPG and vice versa.

These conversion kits could include different jets, burners and other relevant parts.

Can You Convert Propane to Natural Gas – Convert LPG to Natural Gas

You can convert propane to natural gas with most gas appliances, and vice versa. Convert a gas grill from propane to natural gas or a natural gas stove to propane is included in this flexibility.

To be sure, consult your owner's manual, look on the manufacturer's website or contact them directly.

Typically, some kind of conversion kit is required, even if just to change the size of the gas jets.

LPG & Natural Gas are Not Interchangeable

Your gas appliances are manufactured for use with only one gas and will not work safely with the other gas.  
Never attempt to connect a gas appliance to the wrong type of gas, as it can be extremely hazardous.
A bit of background information is helpful.  
There are two main differences in the way that LPG (Propane) and natural gas (Methane) are burnt. 

They Have a Different Energy Content

The first difference is in the energy content. 
LPG has a higher calorific value, or energy content, so less gas is required to produce the same amount of heat.

LPG Requires More Oxygen

The second difference is in the oxygen to gas ratio required for proper combustion. 
LPG requires an oxygen to gas ratio of approximately 25 to 1.  
Natural gas requires a ratio of around 10 to 1.  
To achieve this difference, LPG is typically provided in a smaller quantity but at a higher pressure, drawing more oxygen with it into the burner.

Changing from Natural Gas to Propane – What is Involved in Conversion

For example, let's say you wanted to convert natural gas grill to propane or propane to natural gas.
So, to convert from one gas to another, the two most common alterations are the sizing of the gas injector and the adjustment of pressure.
The different ratios of air to gas mean that the size of the hole in the gas jet must change.
Other parts may also require replacement, like dampers, aeration sleeves and/or air baffles.
The gas supply pressure will also change, requiring internal adjustment or possibly a different regulator.

Gas Injector or Jet

For LPG, the gas injector or jet would just have a smaller aperture hole to reduce the amount of gas introduced into the burner. 
Alternatively, a natural gas injector (jet) would have a larger opening. 
This is not as simple as it may sound. 
As an example of the complexity involved, the accompanying image shows just some of the internal components of a Rinnai gas heater and the four gas jets (Item 6) that require changing on this particular model.

How to Convert a Gas Stove to Propane (LPG) – Use Propane on a Natural Gas Stove

You convert a gas stove to propane or a propane stove to natural gas. Many natural gas stoves and cooktops are shipped with a conversion kit to convert a natural gas stove to propane (LPG). The natural gas stove has propane jets installed in place of the natural gas jets.

Of course, you can use propane on a gas stove if it was made for propane or if you convert it from natural gas.

How do you convert a propane stove to natural gas?

The procedure is the same as to convert a gas stove to propane, just in reverse.

If the stove is new, it is probably already set up for natural gas.

If the stove has already been used for LPG, then the jets will need replacement with the natural gas jets.

BBQ Gas Conversion: Convert Grill to Natural Gas – Convert Propane BBQ to Natural Gas

With a propane to natural gas BBQ conversion kit, you can convert propane BBQ to natural gas. An LPG outdoor Grill or BBQ can be converted to natural gas. You just use the propane to natural gas BBQ conversion kit and connect it to your home natural gas supply.

Natural Gas Barbecue Hook Up – BBQ Gas Conversion to Convert LP Grill to Natural Gas

A natural gas barbecue hook up involves running a gas line from your home to the patio or other location of the grill as part of a BBQ gas conversion.

Can I Use Propane on a Natural Gas Water Heater

You can use propane on a natural gas water heater after it is converted to propane, as with other gas appliance conversions.  The conversion would typically involve the burners and/or jets, as well as pressure adjustment, assuming the manufacturer can supply a kit for the conversion.

Different Incoming Pressure – LPG vs Natural Gas Pressure

A natural gas appliance requires a natural gas pressure of 1.1 kPa while an LPG appliance requires 2.75 kPa. This is controlled by the gas regulator that feeds the gas into your home. 

Internal Pressure Adjustments

An appliance being converted must be adjusted for this different incoming pressure. 
Internal pressure adjustments can be made by either mechanical or electronic means, depending on the make and model of the appliance. 
Mechanical adjustments are typically achieved by changing the strength of the spring that controls the pressure. 
Electronic adjustments are usually made by just changing the settings on the electronic control board.

Original Design Must Allow for Both Gases

The manufacturer must have allowed for the changeover in the original design, with the appliance being tested and certified to use both gaseous fuels.

Depending on the appliance, there may be other parts that require changing, in addition to the gas injectors.  Among these can be the burners themselves, dampers, aeration sleeves and air baffles.

Product labelling must also be changed. Most manufacturers sell the parts required for conversions of their more recent certified models.

You should contact the manufacturer to enquire about the availability of conversion parts.

Use of Qualified Technicians

The actual conversion of the gas appliance must be done by a licensed gas fitter.  
The gas fitter may also need a conversion endorsement, in addition to their regular gas fitter license. 
Under no circumstances should you attempt to convert the appliance yourself or allow an unqualified person to do it for you.  

Contact the Manufacturer

In all cases, you should consult with the manufacturer regarding the viability and requirements for gas appliance conversions.
In some cases, conversion parts may be unavailable or it may be more cost effective to just purchase a new appliance. 

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The information in this article is derived from various sources and is believed to be correct at the time of publication. However, the information may not be error free and may not be applicable in all circumstances.

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