Propane heaters are a great convenience. They are safe, reliable, and affordable. Another option is natural gas. Many people wonder – can a propane heater use natural gas? We look at this concern.
The short answer is that some heaters can and some can not. There are conversions one can do but it is best to stick to the design and functionality of the heater you have purchased.
Is natural gas better?
Natural gas is very similar to propane and not necessarily better. Both have advantages and disadvantages. What is great about a heater that can use both is that it is more versatile and flexible.
Propane is slightly more eco-friendly and delivers more BTUs. Natural gas is often less expensive than propane.
Can a propane heater use natural gas?
The short answer is no. A standard propane heater can not use natural gas. Certain models are designed to work with both natural gas as well as propane. Some have the ability to convert but your average propane hater should not be used with natural gas.
Propane is refined from natural gas and the two have different properties. As such, they need to operate differently. They need different pressure and each gas type need different parts.
If the heater is not designed to work on both options, you can often do a conversion. There are kits available to make this easier. Note that often it will void your warranty if the conversion is unapproved by the manufacturer. Unless the model is specifically conversion-friendly, it is not a recommended practice unless it is critical.
Can you use a propane heater with natural gas?
If the heater does not give you the option to use both propane and natural gas then it will not work. You might be able to convert it using a conversion kit. This will depend on the model. So the answer to the question, “will a propane heater run on natural gas?” is no.
Can a propane heater be converted to natural gas?
As we said above, most heaters are designed to be used on either propane (LP) or natural gas (NAT). Some can handle both and some are able to be converted. You can not simply use whatever you please if the heater is not designed or set up for it.
The conversion process includes, but is not limited to, the following:
Generally, the fixed as well as pilot inlet/outlets need to be replaced as well as the regulator, burners, and venting system.
The main reason is that there is a great pressure difference between the two options. This impacts the regulator as well as the burners. The shutters or vents also need to be changed or adjusted so that air can mix in the correct volume according to the fuel being used.
This is not something someone should do with experience and knowledge. It is critical that all aspects of the heater work in harmony and safely. Getting it wrong will damage your heater and pose a serious fire or health risk. Do not take a chance unless you know what you are doing.
How do you change from propane to natural gas?
You already know the answer to the question – can you run natural gas in a propane heater? As we have explained, it is often possible on some models but not a quick and easy conversion. Apart from those models designed to work with both it can be a tricky and time-consuming job and can also cost a fair amount of money. So the first step is to make sure it is something you want to do and that it will benefit you.
Once you have decided, the work starts. The gasses, propane, and natural gas, have different properties and therefore need a different setup. You can not run a standard propane heater on natural gas or vice versa.
Is it expensive to convert from propane to natural gas?
This can be an expensive exercise. It is not something you want to do if you only intend to use natural gas on the odd occasion. Costs can range from under $1000 to more than $5000, depending on your system.
Most propane heaters can be converted to natural gas. While this is a complicated process it can be done with most propane heaters. The recommendation is that you do not do this. If you want the flexibility of a heater that can work on dual fuel, rather purchase one that has this option.
If not, doing it with care and precision to ensure safety. Make sure t is something that is important to you before you convert a propane heater to natural gas. While there are some benefits to natural gas, propane is safe and effective.