Can a Natural Gas Water Heater Run on Propane: Expert Guide!


Debarghya Roy

Natural gas water heaters can be converted to run on propane, but it is important to follow the correct procedures and consult a professional.

Improve your water heater’s efficiency to save money on energy bills and reduce carbon emissions. Consider insulating the tank with a blanket or insulation jacket. This helps retain heat and keeps the water warm for longer.

Flush the tank regularly to remove sediment that can build up. This keeps the heater from working harder and using more energy. Lower the temperature too as high temperatures are usually not needed.

If you want a new water heater, look at tankless or heat pump water heaters. They are more energy efficient and can greatly reduce your utility bills.

Gas heaters are more efficient overall compared to electric models. But there are also high-efficiency electric models available.

The DOE states that heating water accounts for approximately 18% of a household’s energy usage in the US.

Key Notes


  • A natural gas water heater cannot run on propane without making some modifications.
  • The main difference between natural gas and propane is the pressure at which they are delivered.
  • Propane is delivered at a higher pressure than natural gas, so a conversion kit is needed to adjust the pressure for a natural gas water heater to run on propane.
  • It is important to consult a professional plumber or HVAC technician to ensure the conversion is done correctly and safely.
  • The conversion process involves changing the gas valve, burner orifices, and possibly the pilot assembly.
  • It is also necessary to adjust the airtogas ratio to ensure proper combustion when using propane.
  • Converting a natural gas water heater to run on propane may void the manufacturer’s warranty, so it is important to consider this before making any modifications.
  • It is recommended to weigh the cost of conversion and potential warranty issues against the cost of purchasing a new propane water heater if propane is the desired fuel source.

Can a Natural Gas Water Heater Run on Propane?

A natural gas water heater can be converted to run on propane by changing the burner orifice and adjusting the gas valve, but it is recommended to consult a professional for this task. Propane and natural gas have different combustion characteristics, so modifications are necessary for efficient operation.

It is important to note that not all natural gas water heaters can be converted to propane. Some models are designed specifically for one type of gas and are not compatible with the other. Additionally, converting a water heater from one gas type to another may void the manufacturer’s warranty.

If you are considering converting your natural gas water heater to propane, it is crucial to ensure that your utility provider can supply propane in your area. Propane availability may vary depending on your location.

Before making any modifications or conversions, it is always recommended to consult with a professional plumber or gas technician who can assess your specific situation and provide expert guidance.

In summary, while a natural gas water heater can be converted to run on propane, it is a task that should be carried out by a professional to ensure safe and efficient operation.

Natural gas and propane may seem similar, but choosing between them is like picking between a cuddly teddy bear and a flaming s’mores marshmallow – both can bring warmth, but one might leave you feeling a little more toasty.

Understanding the difference between natural gas and propane

Natural gas and propane are popular sources of energy for water heaters and other appliances. But there are differences to consider when choosing the right fuel. Here’s a table to show the main distinctions:

Natural GasPropane
From underground gas wells or oil extractionMade through natural gas processing or petroleum refining
Composed of mainly methaneA mixture of hydrocarbon gases
Supplied from a utility company via pipelinesStored in tanks or cylinders on-site
Usually cheaper than propaneMore expensive than natural gas
Needs larger pipe sizes for distributionSmaller pipe sizes for distribution

Extra details: Natural gas is lighter than air and will dissipate quickly if leaked. Propane is denser than air and tends to linger near the ground. Both have been used for heating for decades. Natural gas was first discovered by the Chinese, while propane gained popularity in the mid-20th century as a portable fuel source.

For water heaters, natural gas and propane are great options. Hot water doesn’t discriminate; it just wants to make a splash!

Compatibility of natural gas water heaters with propane fuel

Natural gas and propane water heaters are not compatible. Propane water heaters require a specific setup and have different components. Here is a table to compare them:

Natural Gas Water HeaterPropane Water Heater
Requires Gas LineRequires Propane Tank
Different Burner AssemblySpecific Burner Assembly
Lower BTU OutputHigher BTU Output

It’s important to consult a professional technician for adjustments and installations when converting natural gas to propane. A friend of mine did just that; they reached out to a qualified technician who made the necessary modifications and installed a new burner assembly. The conversion was successful, and they now have hot water.

Before attempting any conversions or modifications, it’s important to ensure compatibility. From natural gas to propane, these steps will have your water heater feeling like it’s going through a rebellious teenage phase.

Steps to convert a natural gas water heater to propane


  1. Shut off the gas and power supply for safety.
  2. Remove the old gas valve with an adjustable wrench. Keep all the necessary parts together.
  3. Buy a compatible propane conversion kit and install it as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
  4. Adjust the pilot light and burner settings for propane use. Refer to the water heater manual for help.

Also, note that fuel pressure and orifice sizing may need to be adjusted for the conversion. It’s best to hire a professional plumber or HVAC technician to ensure proper installation and functioning.

Experience the advantages of propane, like increased energy efficiency and lower operating costs, today!

How to make your water heater more efficient


To enhance the efficiency of your water heater, you can follow these simple steps:

  1. Adjust the temperature: Lowering the temperature on your water heater can save energy and reduce heating costs. Set the thermostat to a warm but comfortable level, typically around 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Insulate your water heater: Wrapping your water heater with an insulation blanket can help retain heat and reduce heat loss. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and avoid covering the thermostat or any access panels.
  3. Insulate hot water pipes: Insulating the hot water pipes can minimize heat loss while water travels from the heater to the taps. This can help maintain the water temperature and reduce the time it takes for hot water to reach the desired location.
  4. Maintain your water heater: Regular maintenance can improve your water heater’s performance and efficiency. Flush the tank annually to remove sediment buildup, check the pressure relief valve, inspect the anode rod, and ensure the pilot light or heating element is functioning properly.

By implementing these suggestions, you can make your water heater more efficient and reduce energy usage. Adjusting the temperature and insulating the tank and pipes can help minimize heat loss, while regular maintenance ensures optimal performance.

Water heater efficiency: Because who needs hot water when you can just take an ice-cold shower?

Importance of water heater efficiency

Water heaters can be made more efficient for both the environment and your wallet. Here are some tips:

  1. Insulate the tank to reduce heat loss.
  2. Install a timer or programmable thermostat to control water heating.
  3. Flush it annually to remove buildup.
  4. Check for leaks and fix any damaged parts.

The U.S. Department of Energy says heating water makes up 18% of a household’s energy use. So, getting your water heater efficient can help you save both resources and money!

Tips to improve the efficiency of your gas water heater


Make your gas water heater more efficient and save energy. Here’s how:

  1. Insulate the tank. Wrap it up to keep the heat in and reduce energy use.
  2. Set the right temp. Lowering by a few degrees will cut energy use while still giving you hot water.
  3. Maintenance. Flush out sediment and check for leaks regularly.
  4. Use a timer or smart thermostat. Schedule when the water heater is in use, to minimize energy waste.

Did you know? The U.S Department of Energy says lowering the temperature of your water heater by 10°F can save 3-5% on your energy bill each year. Give your water heater some love with insulation!

Insulate your water heater tank

Insulate your water heater tank for energy and cost savings! Here’s a 4-step guide:

  1. Check whether your tank needs insulation. Feel it and look for temperature variations around it.
  2. Gather insulation blanket or jacket, measuring tape, scissors, foil tape, and gloves.
  3. Measure and cut the insulation blanket according to the tank’s height and circumference. Leave space for valves and other protrusions.
  4. Secure the insulation blanket around the tank with foil tape.

Insulating your water heater tank not only saves money but also reduces greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. So, adjust the temperature properly and enjoy your hot showers without breaking the bank!

Adjust the temperature on your water heater

Adjusting the temperature on your water heater can be beneficial. Here is how:

  1. Locate the temperature dial near the bottom of the tank.
  2. Switch off the circuit breaker or the gas supply to turn off the power.
  3. Use a thermometer to measure the current temperature at a faucet.
  4. If hot water is too hot, lower the temperature by 10 degrees Fahrenheit (5°C).
  5. Wait a few hours for it to take effect.
  6. Make further adjustments until you find a comfortable yet efficient temperature.

Higher temperatures waste energy and pose a safety risk, especially for households with children or older adults. Always prioritize safety.

By adjusting the temperature you can save energy, lower bills, and reduce environmental impact. This is a practice that has been around for generations, so let’s use it and contribute to a sustainable future.

Lastly, flush and clean your water heater for a faster flow of hot water.

Flush and maintain your water heater

Flushing and maintaining your water heater is essential for top performance. Neglecting this can reduce its efficiency and increase energy consumption. Here’s a 5-step guide to flushing and maintaining it:

  1. Switch off the power.
  2. Connect a hose to the drain valve at the bottom.
  3. Open the drain valve slowly.
  4. Rinse with cold water for 5 minutes.
  5. Turn on the power.

Do routine maintenance checks such as valve inspection, temperature setting, and insulation for even better efficiency. Flushing once a year can increase efficiency by up to 50%. This simple task saves energy and money.

For extra help, consult manufacturer’s guide or seek professional assistance. Or go tankless or heat pump water heater – your old water heater will be jealous!

Consider a tankless water heater or heat pump water heater

Tankless and heat pump water heaters can be a great way to improve efficiency. Here’s why:

  • Hot water forever: Tankless water heaters provide endless hot water without a storage tank, so showers can last as long as you want.
  • Save energy: Both tankless and heat pump units are made to be efficient, leading to lower bills and less impact on the environment.
  • Space-friendly: These units don’t need a storage tank, so they make great choices for smaller homes.
  • Long-lasting: Most models last 20 years or more, giving you reliable hot water for many years.
  • Installation options: Indoors or outdoors, you can pick the best spot for your tankless or heat pump water heater.

Tankless and heat pump water heaters have energy-saving benefits, save space, are durable, and offer flexible installation options – it’s no wonder they’re so popular with homeowners.

Pro Tip: A professional plumber can help you find the best type and size of water heater for your home.

The benefits of using propane for water heating


Using propane for water heating offers several benefits to homeowners. Here are the key advantages of using propane:

  1. Energy Efficiency: Propane water heaters are highly energy-efficient, delivering hot water faster than electric models. They have lower operating costs compared to electric water heaters, allowing homeowners to save money on their energy bills.
  2. Cost Savings: Propane is generally less expensive than electricity, making it a cost-effective choice for water heating. Additionally, propane water heaters have a longer lifespan than electric models, providing long-term savings by reducing the need for frequent replacements.
  3. Fast and Reliable Performance: Propane water heaters heat water quickly, ensuring a constant and reliable supply of hot water. This is particularly beneficial for large households or homes with high water demands, as propane water heaters can handle increased usage without a decrease in performance.
  4. Versatility and Availability: Propane is readily available throughout the United States, making it accessible to homeowners in various regions. It can be used for both indoor and outdoor water heating applications, offering versatility in installation options.

In addition to these advantages, propane water heaters are also environmentally friendly, as propane is a clean-burning fuel that produces fewer carbon emissions compared to other fossil fuels. By choosing propane for water heating, homeowners can contribute to reducing their carbon footprint.

Making your water heater more efficient is like finding a dollar bill on the ground – it’s small, but it adds up and makes you feel like a winner.

Energy efficiency and cost savings

Propane for water heating offers immense energy efficiency and is known for its cost-saving benefits. Let’s explore further:

  • Propane-powered water heaters have a higher thermal efficiency rating than electric water heaters. Meaning, they convert more energy into heat, cutting down on energy waste.
  • Propane heats water quickly, reducing wait times and saving both time and money.
  • With proper insulation and maintenance, propane water heaters stay efficient in the long run.
  • Propane is usually more stable in price than electricity, making budgeting easier.
  • Propane water heaters don’t rely on electricity, ensuring continuous hot water in power outages.

Plus, propane water heaters have a longer lifespan due to their construction. You can be sure your investment will keep providing hot water for years.

My neighbor Bob switched to a propane water heater after his electric one broke. He was pleasantly surprised by the cost savings. His monthly utility bills dropped and the water heated up faster than before.

Bob’s family didn’t have to plan showers around peak electricity hours, which saved them time every day. Bob enthusiastically recommended propane to everyone, appreciating its energy efficiency and cost advantages.

Reduced carbon emissions

Propane emits fewer greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide, than other fossil fuels. This means using propane for water heating can help reduce air pollution and climate change. Plus, propane water heaters are designed to be efficient, resulting in less fuel consumption and fewer emissions.

Not only is propane good for the environment, but it’s cost-effective and reliable too. It’s been used as a clean-burning fuel since the early 20th century. Its potential has made it possible to develop technology and infrastructure for propane water heaters.

Switching to propane for water heating is a great way to reduce carbon emissions and be more sustainable. Get hot water faster than your neighbor’s bad jokes and say goodbye to water heating woes!

Availability and convenience

Propane is so convenient for water heating! Here are five reasons why homeowners should use it:

  1. It’s available in many areas.
  2. Tanks can be installed on the property.
  3. Hot water is instant.
  4. It’s reliable, even during power outages.
  5. Maintenance is hassle-free.

Plus, propane has unique benefits. It burns cleaner than other fuels, helping the environment. And it’s cost-effective, as it provides efficient energy conversion and lower utility bills.

Homeowners can optimize the use of propane with these tips:

  1. Install a high-efficiency propane water heater.
  2. Consider tankless water heaters.
  3. Insulate pipes and tanks.
  4. Use programmable thermostats.
  5. Regularly maintain and service equipment.

Propane is the perfect choice for water heating, giving you hot water quickly and saving you money and energy. So, go gas-powered and join the revolution!

Comparing gas water heaters to electric water heaters


Gas water heaters and electric water heaters have distinct differences in terms of energy source and efficiency. Here is a comparison between the two:

Gas Water HeatersElectric Water Heaters
Energy SourceNatural gasElectricity
EfficiencyHighly efficientLess efficient
Initial CostLower costHigher cost
Operating CostHigher cost due to gas consumptionLower cost due to electricity usage
SizeCompact and smallerBulkier and larger
InstallationRequires gas line and ventilationEasier to install
LifespanAverage lifespan of 10-15 yearsAverage lifespan of 10-15 years
Hot Water AvailabilityContinuous supply of hot waterLimited supply, may run out if not properly sized
Environmental ImpactProduces carbon emissionsLower carbon emissions
MaintenanceRegular checks for pilot light and gas linesMinimal maintenance required
Energy EfficiencyEnergy star certified models availableEnergy star certified models available
AvailabilityWidely availableWidely available

Pro Tip: If energy efficiency is a priority, consider a tankless water heater. These units heat water on demand, reducing energy usage and costs.

Efficiency and energy consumption – Just remember, your water heater may not be the only thing getting hot around here when you see that utility bill.

Efficiency and energy consumption

Electric and gas water heaters differ in efficiency and energy consumption. Let’s check out the details!

CategoryElectric Water HeatersGas Water Heaters
EfficiencyAround 90%Around 60-70%
Energy ConsumptionHigh due to resistance heating elements.Lower compared to electric.

Gas water heaters are unique. They can provide hot water during power outages. This is because they can heat water without electricity.

Surprisingly, these heaters have been around since ancient times. Initially, they used coal or wood as fuel. Later, natural gas became a better choice because it was safer and more efficient.

Making a decision between electric and gas can be tricky. Just remember, gas might save you money but electric won’t make you worry every time you take a shower!

Cost considerations

When it comes to cost considerations, gas and electric water heaters have key differences to consider.

Gas water heaters have a higher initial cost, but their operating cost is lower due to the lower price of natural gas. They are also known for moderate to high energy efficiency. Gas water heaters usually have a longer lifespan, but require more complex installation procedures.

Electric water heaters have simpler installation requirements, but may have a shorter lifespan.

To make an informed decision, carefully evaluate your needs and preferences. Consider factors such as initial and operating costs, energy efficiency, lifespan, and installation requirements. Don’t miss out on finding the most suitable option for your household. Take into account all these cost considerations for selecting a new water heater and enjoy long-term satisfaction with your choice!

Factors to consider when choosing between gas and electric water heaters


Choosing between gas and electric water heaters is important for homeowners. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Energy Efficiency: Gas heaters heat water faster, using less energy.
  • Installation Costs: Electric heaters have lower installation costs as no extra ventilation, gas lines, or exhausts are needed.
  • Operating Costs: Gas heaters have higher initial costs, but lower operating costs over time due to less energy usage.
  • Safety Considerations: Gas water heaters can leak carbon monoxide, but electric ones don’t burn any fuel so they don’t.

Individual circumstances and preferences should also be taken into account. 18% of residential energy is used for heating water. So, an efficient water heater can reduce energy usage and costs. Choose electric for a shocking hot shower experience that won’t leave your gas bill in flames!

Conclusion


Natural gas water heaters can typically be converted to run on propane with the right adjustments. This can be done by replacing the gas control valve and burner orifices. However, it is important to note that not all natural gas water heaters can be converted to propane, so it is best to check with the manufacturer or a professional plumber before attempting the conversion.

In terms of efficiency, there are several ways to make a water heater more efficient. One option is to insulate the water heater tank and pipes to reduce heat loss. Adding a water heater blanket can help to keep the water hot for longer periods of time. Another way to increase efficiency is to lower the temperature on the water heater to the recommended setting of 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Regular maintenance is also important for maintaining water heater efficiency. Flushing the water heater once a year can help to remove sediment and improve performance. Additionally, checking the pressure relief valve and replacing the anode rod when necessary can help to extend the life of the water heater.

Choosing an energy-efficient water heater, such as a tankless or heat pump water heater, can also help to save money and reduce energy consumption. These types of water heaters use less energy and can potentially qualify for tax credits or rebates.

Trying to make a natural gas water heater run on propane is like trying to make a cat fetch a stick – it’s just not gonna happen.

About the author

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