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Converting a Natural Gas Space Heater

07/16/2009 3:15 PM

I acquried a ventles space heater for national gas. I would like to convert it to propane. Is this possible?

Herbie

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#1

Re: Conversion of national gas to propane?

07/16/2009 3:18 PM

For the most part I think its just a port size change, but realistically, cost effectively, safely, its not really possible, at least not if you want to live.

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Conversion of national gas to propane?

07/16/2009 3:44 PM

I purchased it at a garage sale dirt cheap. I dont have natural gas at my home. I schould have checked about conversion before i baught it?

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: Conversion of national gas to propane?

07/16/2009 3:48 PM

A lot of the ones they sell now can run on natural gas or propane, but they have a switch and separate inputs for each gas.

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#4

Re: Conversion of national gas to propane?

07/16/2009 4:08 PM

Yes it is possible but i would take it to a dealer to get the work done so that the emission are tested before use.

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#5

Re: Converting a Natural Gas Space Heater

07/16/2009 8:30 PM

Some partly good answers here. I think all you will need to do is change the orifice, much as you would for your cooking range. Ask the gas company.

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#6

Re: Converting a Natural Gas Space Heater

07/16/2009 11:26 PM

Yes, most Gas Heaters can be set to burn Natural Gas or LPG. The difference is the size of the jets. You will have to get a gas fitter or the heater company to swap & adjust the jets.

I had a Rinnai heater converted from LPG to Natural Gas, here in Australia, but the company would not sell the parts to me or even a licensed gas fitter. So had to send it to them. Cost was approx $AUS150.

Tony

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Anonymous Poster
#7

Re: Converting a Natural Gas Space Heater

07/17/2009 12:36 AM

Herbie, I have a place in Mexico just across the border. mexicans come up here and buy all kinds of gas appliances and convert them to propane. Just bring it to a shop repair place and usually it is just replacing the orifice. Paul

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#8

Re: Converting a Natural Gas Space Heater

07/17/2009 10:10 AM

Yes it can be done and easily. It is as most have said a different jet is needed.


Main reason is there HUGE diference in the operating pressure of the gas supply.

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#9
In reply to #8

Re: Converting a Natural Gas Space Heater

07/17/2009 11:46 AM

The orifices need to be REDUCED in size to be used with propane. There are only three ways to do that......buy a conversion kit (which may have reduced orifices or an entire new valve assembly), or replace the orifices you have (if they are screw-in types), or use a pressure regulator to reduce the propane pressure down to the .5 to 2 lbs/inch squared which natural gas uses.

I was lucky, and converted my normally propane-fed gas grill to natural gas......that just took drilling out the existing propane orifices a certain amount to obtain the same BTUH heating capacity. I suppose you could achieve that by brazing or soldering the existing holes shut, then redrilling smaller......at any rate, there is a "do it yourself" instruction set on the web some where to do the propane to gas conversion, and you can judge from that how to do it in reverse.

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#10

Re: Converting a Natural Gas Space Heater

07/17/2009 9:08 PM

Natural gas requires a larger diameter orifice that propane for two reasons.

1) Residential NG systems operate at about 15" of water pressure, propane is usually 30" of water pressure (the values for you propane supply may be different.

2) NG has a heating value of about 1100 BTU/Ft3, propane is ABOUT 3000 btu/fT3

Unless you install a smaller fuel orifice, it is possible(easy) to over fuel the heater--which is dangerous because it can cause carbon monoxide generation and dangerous flame billowing out of the heater.

You CAN however, just not open the fuel valve on the heater very much--till the flame height is moderate and not excessive. The problem with this is the pressure at the orifice must be about 1/3 that of the NG for the same heat output--and that lower pressure will result in less velocity and much lower air entrainment( primary air) in the burner throat, possibly causing poor combustion and high CO generation. Adjusting the air restriction shutter to wide open still may not allow enough primary air to keep CO formation down.

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1herbie (1); Anonymous Poster (2); frankd20 (2); Keith E Bowers (1); NSS (1); OldTechNewToys (1); ozzb (1); Tippycanoe (1)

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