Converting your home to utilise natural gas for heating, cooking, and other energy needs involves transitioning from electric or oil-powered systems to gas-powered appliances and equipment. Whether you want to improve your home’s energy efficiency, lower utility costs, or reduce its environmental footprint, switching to a natural gas-powered home could provide numerous benefits.
Many homeowners undergo a natural gas conversion process to maximise the cost savings and performance of gas-fueled appliances and equipment. Natural gas tends to be more cost-effective than electricity for uses like water heating, space heating, cooking, and clothes drying.
In addition, high-efficiency natural gas equipment earns the Energy Star rating for its enhanced energy efficiency compared to conventional models. Making such an investment in energy-efficient natural gas appliances and systems can turn your home into an increasingly energy-efficient and cost-effective gas-powered home.
So, if you’re wondering, “How do you convert your home to natural gas?” We will walk you through all aspects of planning and completing a natural gas conversion for your home.
What Is Natural Gas?
Natural gas is an abundant, domestically-produced energy resource that provides heat and inefficient power generation to homes and businesses across the country. It differs from electricity because natural gas is delivered through underground pipelines rather than power lines. Still, it can be just as effective for heating, cooking and various other energy needs.
Natural gas is considered a cleaner burning fuel source compared to coal or oil and is often described as environmentally friendly. It produces less energy and fewer greenhouse gas emissions than these other fossil fuels when used for applications like water heating, space heating with a furnace, cooking or clothes drying.
In addition, natural gas utilities are working to incorporate more renewable energy, like renewable natural gas, into their infrastructure, which will further reduce the environmental impact over time. As new renewable natural gas sources come online, including biogas recovered from landfills and dairy farms, natural gas is evolving into an even more sustainable and less energy option.
Understanding the Benefits of Natural Gas
What Makes Natural Gas Cost-Effective and Efficient
Natural gas is a cost-effective energy source that can provide significant savings for homeowners. It burns much cleaner than oil or propane when used for heating or appliances. This results in lower carbon emissions released into the air compared to other fossil fuels. Homes using natural gas for heating also have a smaller environmental footprint than electric-heated homes.
Converting older, inefficient systems in existing homes to high-efficiency natural gas equipment can cut energy costs substantially. Depending on the age and performance of current appliances like furnaces or water heaters, switching may lower utility bills by up to 30%. Older systems simply need to operate more cleanly and economically than modern gas appliances.
Making the Switch to Cleaner, Affordable Energy
Installing a new gas meter allows homeowners to start benefiting from natural gas right away easily. It can replace old, underperforming equipment with new, reliable natural gas models. Over the long run, using gas heating and appliances reduces a home’s environmental impact versus staying on electric or other fuels.
Working with your local natural gas utility facilitates a smooth conversion process. They aim to help more customers save on bills while lowering emissions through cleaner natural gas. With the utility’s assistance, existing homes can be upgraded to enjoy the benefits of affordable, efficient natural gas service for years to come.
Assessing Feasibility and Connecting to the Gas Line
The initial phase of converting to natural gas involves determining service availability. Homeowners should contact their local natural gas company to inquire about nearby gas infrastructure and any planned expansion projects. Your local gas company is responsible for the fuel pipes to homes and businesses.
Some key questions for the company include whether there is an existing natural gas main that the property can tap into. If not, homeowners will need to understand any associated costs for installing a new gas pipe to run from the main line. Getting an accurate quote is important for budgeting the conversion project.
They may also need to conduct a site survey to evaluate property specifics. This accurately assesses installation requirements and costs before beginning the conversion process. Be prepared to obtain any necessary permits from the local municipality or building department as well.
Once approvals and estimated fees are in place, homeowners can coordinate a start date for installing and connecting the new gas pipe to the main natural gas line supplying their neighbourhood. Home builders also rely on local natural gas companies to assess feasibility and connect new construction projects during development.
Upgrading To New Appliances And Equipment
Once the natural gas lines are installed throughout the home, upgrading existing electric appliances is time. Replacing old systems with high-efficiency gas models maximises the energy and cost-saving potential of undergoing a natural gas converting project.
Gas furnaces, water heaters, stoves, heaters and fireplaces significantly lower utility bills compared to electric alternatives. For example, a gas furnace operates at around 95% efficiency when converting fuel to heat, whereas a heat pump typically ranges from 250-300% efficiency. Similarly, gas water heaters are often half the cost to run long-term versus electric water heaters.
Transitioning the kitchen from an electric system to gas stoves or induction cooktops enhances cooking power and control. New gas appliances should meet EPA standards to qualify for the top Energy Star ratings, further reducing consumption.
Consulting gas line and ventilation installation experts ensures any modifications made to natural gas lines within walls comply with indoor air quality codes. This helps the conversion pay for itself over the lifetime of the efficient gas equipment versus relying solely on an electric system. Proper upgrades maximise the energy and environmental benefits achieved through undergoing the natural gas converting process.
The Installation Process and Safety Measures
Hire a licensed plumber or HVAC contractor experienced in natural gas conversion to install the appliance. They’ll first run a new gas line from the home’s exterior gas meter into the interior spaces where appliances will sit. Proper venting and safety shut-off valves must be installed on furnaces, water heaters and other fuel-burning devices.
To detect any hidden gas leaks, contractors will apply a solution to new pipes and connections before pressuring the system. Carbon monoxide detectors should also be installed on each level of the home for added protection. Once inspected by the gas company and local code officials, the new gas system can be activated. Safety should always be the top priority, so be sure your contractor takes the necessary precautions throughout the job.
Decommissioning Existing Systems
To fully transition to natural gas, any oil tanks or electric supply lines serving outdated equipment need proper decommissioning. Contact local environmental agencies about oil tank removal procedures to avoid contamination.
Convert To Natural Gas Today!
Electric supply lines no longer in use should be disconnected at the circuit breaker. This ensures they don’t become unfamiliar with live wires down the road. Capping off unused gas and water lines properly avoids future confusion over undocumented pipes. Making careful records of all system modifications simplifies any future repairs or updates for your home’s next owners.
Switching to natural gas delivers long-term savings and environmental dividends for homeowners. Contact your local gas provider soon to determine the project feasibility for your property. An on-site evaluation from a certified contractor supplies accurate conversion cost estimates.
For many years, Woolf Plumbing has assisted residential and commercial customers in Perth with upgrading to natural gas safely and efficiently. Their licensed plumbers are fully experienced in all aspects of natural gas installation, from setting up new distribution lines to upgrading indoor appliances.
Frequently Asked Questions About Converting to Natural Gas
What is the role of a natural gas utility company in the conversion process?
When converting to natural gas, a natural gas utility company plays a vital role. They are responsible for providing the necessary infrastructure, including gas lines and meters, to connect your home to the natural gas main. Contact your local natural gas utility company to inquire about the conversion process and any specific requirements.
Can I keep my electric heat pump if I switch to natural gas?
Yes, you have the option to keep your electric heat pump even after converting to natural gas. In fact, combining a heat pump with a natural gas furnace can provide a highly efficient dual-fuel heating system. This setup allows you to use the heat pump during milder weather conditions and the natural gas furnace when temperatures drop significantly, maximising energy savings.
How do I convert my home from oil heat to natural gas?
Converting from oil heat to natural gas involves several steps. First, you’ll need to contact your local gas utility company to confirm natural gas availability in your area. Next, you’ll need to hire a licensed professional to remove the old oil tank and install a new gas line and meter. Finally, you can replace your oil-based heating system with a natural gas heater or furnace, enjoying cleaner and more efficient heating.
What are the advantages of using a gas heater over other heating options?
A gas heater offers several advantages over alternative heating methods. It provides faster and more consistent heating, allowing you to enjoy a comfortable living environment. Gas heaters are also energy-efficient, resulting in lower utility bills. Gas heaters also produce fewer harmful chemicals and emissions than other heating sources, promoting a healthier indoor environment.
Can I use natural gas to power my water heater?
Absolutely! Natural gas is commonly used to fuel water heaters and is an excellent choice for an efficient and reliable hot water supply. Switching to a natural gas water heater allows you to enjoy faster heating times, continuous hot water availability, and potential cost savings compared to electric water heaters.
What are induction cooktops, and can natural gas power them?
Induction cooktops are a modern and energy-efficient alternative to traditional electric or gas cooktops. They use electromagnetic technology to heat cookware directly, offering precise temperature control and faster cooking times. Induction cooktops typically require electricity to operate, so they cannot be directly powered by natural gas.
Why do people associate the smell of rotten eggs with natural gas?
The distinct smell of rotten eggs is often associated with natural gas because utility companies add a mercaptan chemical. Mercaptan has a strong odour similar to that of rotten eggs, making it easier to detect gas leaks. If you ever notice this smell, it’s important to leave the area immediately and contact your gas utility company or emergency services to address the potential gas leak.