Not sure where to begin with converting your propane grill to natural gas? In my guide today I lay out everything you need to know to make the change.
You might have considered changing gas sources from propane to natural gas to help save on ongoing fuel costs, and to move to a more reliable means of fuelling your grill.
This can be daunting though, as you need to take into account potential issues like practicality and safety.
In most cases, it’s quite simple and straightforward to convert to natural gas, but there are a few things you need to consider before doing so.
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Find out if it’s compatible
Your first port of call should be to check if your grill can even run off natural gas. You can either do this by consulting your grill brand’s website or owners manual. Alternatively, search your grill for the dual fuel markings on your grill.
Invest in a converter kit
One of the best bits of kit that you can get to help you is a conversion kit. Be careful though, you will need a conversion kit that is compatible with your particular grill. Not all kits are the same, so you will need to get one that is recommended by the manufacturer of your grill.
Speak to an expert
It’s easy to think you exactly what to do, but it’s always worth getting in touch with an expert to ensure that you’re doing everything thoroughly and safely, particularly with the dangers that using natural gas can entail.
Speak to a local plumbing inspector to ensure that it’s legal for you to make the switch, or to run a flexible gas hose. If it’s not legal, they might instead suggest a permanent system, or present you with other workable alternatives.
If your grill is compatible and your local expert confirms that its safe and legal for you to make the switch, then you are ready to make the change.
Here’s how to do it.
1. Turn off your gas at the main and at the bottle
We’re changing two gas sources here, so before we do anything we need to turn off both before we proceed.
Firstly, switch off your natural gas at the main. Next, disconnect your propane bottle or canister, and store it away.
2. Install your conversion kit
The most important tool you’ll need for converting your propane grill to natural gas is a conversion kit. This is essentially a hose with brass fittings on either ends which can connect your propane grill to your natural gas pipe. The fitting for your grill’s manifold will however be specific to your brand, so be sure to buy one that is compatible with your gas grill.
Install your chosen conversion kit in line with the kit’s owners manual.
Why should you convert to natural gas?
Converting to natural gas ensures that you always have a constant supply of gas without the need to constantly be restocking on propane tanks.
This does present challenges in manoeuvrability however, as your grill be essentially fixed to the area immediately around your natural gas supply. So if you like to take your grill camping or tailgating then converting to natural gas won’t be a practical course of action.
However if you only only tend to grill at home and are keen to save money on propane costs, then converting to natural gas is certainly something to consider.
Here are some examples of brand or model-specific conversion kits that should work with your grill:
Can I convert my Weber to natural gas?
The short answer is yes but tread with caution: Weber do recommend against doing it, and say that it will void your warranty should attempting it break your grill.
It’s also important to say that because this involves handling gas supplies, this can be dangerous and you should only do it if you know what you’re doing.
“Due to safety considerations, the complexity of the technology and gas train components, as well as the level of disassembly required, we don’t allow conversions or provide conversion kits. Converting a grill will actually void the warranty on the unit and might create an unsafe situation.”
What is valve orifice size?
Another consideration is the orifice size of your valve. This is the small hole in the center of the valve, is measured by the drill bit that’s been used to make it. Most of the time you’ll see the size of the orifice marked on the valve.
Sometimes confusingly, drill numbers and hole size work inversely. This means that the large the drill bit size, the small the hole.
All of this combines to create BTU output, which is determined by gas pressure, gas volume, and the orifice size. This means that the same fixed natural gas pressure, but supplied through different orifice sizes, will contribute different BTU measurements.
For a full guide, check out Grill Parts guide to orifice sizes here.
Don’t ever make these drill holes yourself. Simply, use the numbers as guides when trying to pick the conversion kit that you need.