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   Articles | How-Tos | Ask the Expert   

Change to Natural Gas?


Reasons Why You Might Want to Make the Change

Besides being one of the cleanest burning fuels, it is also one of the least expensive ways to heat your home and make hot water. Electricity is touted as a clean energy source, however, to make electricity, some type of fuel has to be burned or use nuclear power.

The cost of converting to natural gas depends on the type of your present furnace, your water heater, and other appliances you have. If you recently have had a natural gas service which is new in your area they may help with some of the initial costs of converting.

If you have an electric furnace or heat pump . . .

Your major cost will be to install a chimney or an insulated, double-wall flue pipe, unless you choose one of the new super-high efficiency furnaces — they use a plastic PVC pipe similar to new plastic PVC drainpipe. You'll have to replace your existing furnace. If you have a heat pump or central air, you might be able to reuse this equipment in conjunction with your new gas furnace. Natural gas is normally much cheaper than electric heat. Most times, it is cheaper than a heat pump. Your savings will depend on the efficiency rating of your new gas furnace.

If you have a propane gas furnace . . .

If your furnace is in good condition, the only change you'll need to make is to modify your gas valve in the furnace. Most new furnaces are made ready for natural gas and require a "propane kit" which costs $15 to $25. Most likely, you should be able to buy a similar kit to convert your furnace back to natural gas for a similar price. The benefits of natural gas over propane are constant, uninterrupted supply and generally the price is comparable, or less than propane. If your furnace is in a basement, natural gas is also safer — propane is heavier than air and can accumulate in the basement, causing an explosion, while natural gas is lighter than air and will rise [if you smell gas, always turn off the gas, open all windows, and leave your home and call the gas company from a neighbors house].

If you have an oil furnace . . .

You'll have to replace your furnace with a new gas furnace. With the rising price of oil, there's a good chance you'll save money with natural gas. Many folks who have switched from oil to gas appreciate that it is much cleaner and no longer have the foul odor of oil in their home.

If you have an electric water heater . . .

You'll need to buy a new, natural gas water heater. The savings are great plus you'll probably never run out of hot water anymore. A gas water heater can be turned on and within 10 minutes have enough hot water to take a shower. The recovery rate of a gas water heater is about 15 minutes for a 40 gallon water heater. An electric water heater takes about one hour to recover [all of water in tank to be hot].

If you have a propane water heater . . .

Most propane water heaters are not easily convertible to natural gas. Sometimes, it is better to get a new natural gas water heater than try to convert a propane [LPG] water heater.

If you have propane gas appliances . . .

Most kitchen ranges [cook stoves] and gas dryers can be converted very easily. Most manufacturers offer a kit to convert the pilots and gas valves.

If you have electric appliances . . .

You cannot convert electric ranges or dryers to natural gas. You need to purchase new appliances that will work with gas.

Recent finds of new natural gas reserves just in Oklahoma and Arkansas extends the cheap and plentiful supply of natural gas in the USA for more than another century beyond previous estimates. New pipelines are being installed throughout the United States to service more customers than ever before.

Reprinted with permission, HomeDoctor.net



 


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