Natural gas is a form of energy from deep beneath the earth’s surface. It burns cleaner than other fossil fuels and is a cost-effective, reliable, and readily available energy source for heating your home.
Are you considering switching to natural gas? We’ll help you make the right decision about how to keep your house warm. Here’s some information about how to convert your home to natural gas.
Benefits of Converting to Natural Gas
Natural gas is a convenient, safe alternative to other types of fuels. Your home will benefit from the energy-efficiency and eco-friendliness of natural gas. You’ll have more peace of mind knowing you and your family have a reliable energy source.
Homeowners are switching to natural gas because it’s:
Cost-effective:Natural gas is more available than traditional heating oil. Since natural gas is stored in pipes underground, you’ll always have a supply of natural gas. Its wide availability across the country keeps the price down, even as demand grows. You can save hundreds of dollars each month by switching to natural gas.
Convenient: Since natural gas comes from a pipeline underground, you don’t need to replace it. Instead of checking meters and requesting a delivery of natural gas, you have access to it through a meter in your home. You can have peace of mind instead of wondering when you need to replace your energy supply. You also save space in your home since you don’t need a tank to hold the gas.
Safe: Natural gas is considered safe to use, provided you use it appropriately and follow the recommended safety precautions. Federal regulations enforce the safety of the production, manufacturing, and distribution of natural gas. When you sign up to convert the energy source of your home, you’ll need permits from the local government to keep track of the natural gas you’re using. The permits you need for your installation vary depending on what state you live in.
Reliable: Natural gas provides peace of mind to you and your family about the comfort and efficiency of your home. Even during a power outage or storm, you can heat your home, cook food, and more. Natural gas is transported underground, so it’s not affected by harsh weather conditions or broken power lines. You won’t have any surprise power failures due to a lack of energy resources. You also won’t need any special deliveries of gas in the wintertime.
Abundant: Natural gas is accessible all across the country. As new sites develop, natural gas will become more available in the next couple of years. We have access to a sufficient amount of natural gas that can provide energy for you and your family for years to come. You can use natural gas as an energy source for more appliances throughout your living space. Natural gas heats swimming pools and water and provides a comfortable home temperature.
Energy-efficient: Natural gas appliances produce more heat than traditional appliances. Even though natural gas is a fossil fuel, its chemical structure provides lower carbon emissions than coal.
How Do I Know if Natural Gas Is Available for My Home?
Depending on where you live, you may or may not have access to natural gas in your area. About half of the United States currently uses natural gas to heat their homes and forty-eight states have access to natural gas lines.
Checking with your local natural gas utility provider: Do a quick search online to find out if you could hook up your home’s energy supply to a natural gas line. Many sites will ask you to type in your zip code and show you where you can access natural gas.
Asking your local utility company: Your local gas company will know which areas have access to natural gas. You could also talk to a local natural gas company about the steps involved in converting to natural gas heat.
Consulting your neighbors: Do any of your neighbors have natural gas in their homes? If they’ve been in the neighborhood for a long time, they might know who to call to find out more information.
Asking a realtor about a potential home: If you’re moving, the realtor of the seller of your new home will know the availability of natural gas. Even if the seller doesn’t know, they can point you in the right direction for more information.
How Much Does It Cost to Convert to Natural Gas?
Converting your home to natural gas will save you money in the long run. As you create your budget, here are some of the factors to consider:
A new heating system: Switching to natural gas heat involves changing your appliances. You’ll have to buy a new furnace, boiler, and water heater that are compatible with natural gas. Be sure to purchase energy-efficient appliances that will help you save even more money on your heating bills. In some cases you may be able to convert current appliances to natural gas heat.
Permits: When converting your home to natural gas, your contractor will need to acquire permits. These permits allow for work to be done and make sure your project is up to code. Local, state, and federal governments use permits to enforce safety and health when dealing with natural gas. The required permits depend on where you live.
Oil or propane tank removal: If you’re switching from heating oil or propane to natural gas, you may want to remove the tank from your home.
Installation of a gas line: As part of the conversion process, an installation team from the utility company will need to install the gas line. An HVAC technician also needs to set up the meter in your home. The cost of running a gas line depends on the size and distance of your property, labor costs, and supplies. Some utility companies have a set distance they will run gas lines, then additional cost per foot of gas line.
How Do I Switch to Natural Gas Heat?
Generally, here is the process of how to switch to natural gas heat:
Contact a professional HVAC company: Call or go online to find a profession HVAC company that offers natural gas conversion as a service. These industry experts can answer all of your questions and walk you through the process of converting to natural gas heat. They will even perform an inspection of your house and gather information to provide price quote and a timeline.
Contact the natural gas utility company: A natural gas utility company will know if natural gas is available in your area. Often, the HVAC expert can contact the natural gas utility company for you. Once your HVAC expert gets approval from the utility company, they can start requesting permits.
Receive the proper permits: Permits ensure that your installation follows all local safety regulations. You’ll need permits for removing your oil tank and installing natural gas. Your HVAC technician will often take care of this step for you. If you need more assistance with this step, the natural gas utility company can help you fill out the paperwork. When you receive the permits from your local government office, put them in a safe place. You’ll need to be able to refer to the paperwork if you sell your house.
Order appliances compatible with natural gas heat: After your HVAC company receives permits, they can order the energy-efficient natural gas appliances required for your home. Some of your current appliances may already have a natural gas hookup. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions of your current appliances before you try converting them to natural gas.
Bring in a gas line: The utility company will run the gas line from the main pipe in your neighborhood to a meter in your home. Then, the HVAC technician will connect the meter to the heating plant. The technician will schedule an inspection to make sure the installation is up to code. Once your energy source has passed inspection, the gas company will turn on your gas.
Enjoy natural gas heat: When everything is setup, you’ll be free to enjoy low energy bills and a comfortable, warm home heated by natural gas!
Switching From Heating Oil to Natural Gas
If you’re converting your home’s heat from heating oil to natural gas, you need to remove the old tank. Whether your oil tank is in the basement or underground, a trusted professional should remove it to avoid spills or leaks.
Switching From Electric Heat to Natural Gas
Converting your heat source from electric heat to natural gas could save you money and energy. To upgrade your home to natural gas, you can either install a gas furnace, a gas boiler, or a hybrid system.
When you install a gas furnace, you need to replace the heat pump, but you can keep the air ducts. With a gas boiler, you need to replace both the heat pump and the air ducts. A hybrid system allows you to keep both the heat pump and a gas furnace.
Switching From Propane to Natural Gas
Propane is a denser gas, so you will have to convert your appliances to be compatible with natural gas. Your appliances may have included a converter kit when you bought them. Before you use a converter kit, check with your manufacturer. A professional contractor may need to convert your appliances for you.
The gas company may need to re-pipe your home with larger lines. Propane gas lines are about a half an inch in diameter. Natural gas requires gas lines of about three-quarters of an inch.
Check for Available Natural Gas Conversion Rebates to Help Make the Switch
You may be able to get rebates on appliances when converting to natural gas. UGI, a natural gas distributor, offers rebates if you buy these new appliances:
Smart thermostat: A smart thermostat can connect to your wireless device. Using your phone or tablet, you can set your home’s temperature from anywhere in the world.
Furnace: An energy-efficient furnace heats up the air in your home. Using natural gas as an energy source requires less energy, which can save you money and protect the environment.
Boiler: A high-efficiency boiler requires less natural gas to heat the water in your home. You’ll save money while also sending less pollution into the air.
Combination boiler: A combination boiler makes both hot and cold water. An energy-efficient combination boiler will use less natural gas to control your water’s temperature.
Tankless water heater: A tankless water heater provides you with warm water at any time.
You can get money back for upgrading to energy-efficient appliances. Check with your local gas distributor to find out what appliances qualify for a rebate.
Contact Shipley Energy for More Information About Switching Your Home to Natural Gas
Our team of professionals at Shipley Energy is here to help you make the switch to natural gas. Type your zip code into our website to find out if we service your area. We make the installation process easier for you, providing estimates for your project and answering all your questions.