Can A Natural Gas Furnace Be Converted To Propane?Quick Tips


Rima Chatterjee

Introduction


Natural gas and propane are two different fuel sources for heating appliances in homes. It can be beneficial to convert a natural gas furnace to propane if you need to switch fuels due to availability or cost. 

Can A Natural Gas Furnace Be Converted To Propane

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the reasons why you should convert a natural gas furnace to propane.

Reasons to Convert a Natural Gas Furnace to Propane


There are several reasons to convert a natural gas furnace to propane. Some of the main reasons are given below:

Cost Savings

Propane is usually cheaper than natural gas, meaning lower monthly bills.

Increase Energy Efficiency

Propane furnaces use energy more efficiently than natural gas furnaces, leading to less energy consumption.

Availability

Some areas may not have natural gas, so propane is the only option.

Cleaner Burning Fuel

Propane emits fewer greenhouse gasses than natural gas.

Versatility

Propane can power other appliances such as water heaters and stoves.

Usage In Furnace: Natural Gas Vs. Propane


Natural gas and propane are both used as fuel sources for home furnaces and appliances. They have similarities, but some key differences exist. 

Let’s compare them:

Natural GasPropane
From underground rock formationsFrom crude oil refining or natural gas processing
Low pressure (3-10 inches of water column)High pressure (11-14 inches of water column)
Piped through a utility companyStored in tanks on the property or delivered by truck
Odorless until an odorant is added for safetyHas a strong odorant added for safety
Flammable range 4% – 15%Flammable range 2.1% – 9.5%
Can be less expensive, depending on location and availabilityCan be more expensive, depending on location and availability

Components Of Propane Conversion Kit


Furnaces can be converted to use an alternate fuel source. Converting a natural gas furnace to propane involves several steps and must be done safely. 

It requires a conversion kit with a regulator and orifices for proper fuel flow and also the other components such as,

  • Other components to check are the control valve
  • Burner assembly
  • Flame sensor
  • Thermostat
  • Pressure gauge

Steps to Convert A Natural Gas Furnace to Propane


To convert a natural gas furnace to propane, you’ll need a Propane Conversion Kit and to take some essential steps. 

To turn your natural gas furnace into a propane-powered heat source:

  1. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Install the conversion kit.
  3. Use gas shutoff valves.
  4. Connect propane orifices.

Testing and Fine Tuning a Propane Furnace Conversion


Have you ever thought of converting your natural gas furnace to propane? It’s a common practice in homes. 

Here’s how to do it with patience and precision:

Install the Propane Conversion Kit 

Get the conversion kit and install it according to the manual. Put the new orifices on the burner assembly gas valves and screw them into place.

Adjust Gas Pressure & Control Valve 

Use a pressure gauge to set the gas pressure to 10 inches of water column (inches WC). Turn on the propane supply, then adjust the gas control valve. Make sure each burner has a constant blue flame.

Check Safety Features 

Check that all safety features, such as shutoff valves, flame sensors, and burner access doors, are installed correctly before turning on electricity to your furnace.

It’s important to double-check everything after you complete adjustments. Any mistake could cause leaks or other problems.

Also, the procedure for converting furnaces depends on their age, make model, and fuel source’s availability. So, be sure to know what type of unit you have before you start.

Safety Precautions for Converting a Natural Gas Furnace to Propane


Here are some pro tips to keep you safe and efficient.

  1. Shut off the power and gas line before starting.
  2. Take out the access door, control valve, and flame sensor.
  3. Put in the propane conversion kit with thermostat, regulator, orifices, and valve.
  4. Adjust the jet positioning according to the manual instructions.
  5. Test for leaks using an odor test solution and check the pressure level.

Tips for Converting a Natural Gas Furnace to Propane


  • Propane needs higher pressure levels than natural gas, so the fuel delivery system needs to be changed. 
  • Replace all natural gas components with propane-compatible parts, then ignite the pilot light.
  • Check the diameter of the fuel line too; mismatched fuels can cause problems due to inappropriate pipe sizing. 
  • Many homeowners have attempted this without proper knowledge, resulting in accidents. 
  • Make sure to read any instructions from manufacturers or professional HVAC persons. 

Final Thoughts on Converting a Natural Gas Furnace to Propane


You can convert a natural gas furnace to propane with the help of a conversion kit. To do this, you will need to change the gas valve, burner orifices and pressure regulator. Instructions must be followed carefully for safety.

It is better to let a professional do the conversion. They can tell if your furnace is suitable and get the parts needed. 

A shutoff valve should also be installed, and any leaks should be checked.

The thermostat settings need to be adjusted since propane burns hotter than natural gas. It may take time to find the right temperature.

Conclusion 


In conclusion, converting your furnace to propane is possible with correct installation and precautions. It is best to get the help of a professional with experience in this process. By following these steps, you can safely use propane as your fuel source.

About the author

Debarghya Roy: A heating systems author, Passionate about energy efficiency and sustainability, Sharing insights and empowering readers through informative blog articles.