There are many natural gas companies that will recommend that you convert your oil gas furnace to a natural gas furnace. If you reside in an area where there are natural gas lines which pipe the gas right into your home, then this may be something that you are considering. One of the best advantages of converting to natural gas is that it can be used for far more than just heating the home; it can be used for heating water, cooking indoors and for outdoor barbecues.
Natural gas is the cleanest burning fuel, so it is a very eco-friendly way of heating your home and for any other domestic use. The costs of converting from an oil gas furnace or a propane furnace to a natural gas furnace will depend on the type of furnace that you currently have. It would be best to call in some professional advice to calculate what these cost would be.
Another factor that you need to consider is the availability and cost of natural gas, which does differ from region to region. Current costs of natural gas are approximately half of propane gas and a third of heating oil. In order to calculate the cost of the fuel in your area you can access a fuel cost calculator through the Energy Information Administration (EIA), who determines the prices for all types of fuel and provide current and projected prices.
How to Convert to Natural Gas
A good time to convert to natural gas would obviously be when upgrading your current furnace to a newer and more efficient model, but that is not always possible. It is easier to switch from propane gas to natural gas than what it is to convert from an oil gas furnace to a natural gas furnace, but it can be done. Switching the fuel of your furnace is something that should be carefully planned and every option should be considered in order to do it right.
A conversion from propane furnace or an oil gas furnace should only ever be done by a highly-trained licensed furnace technician. Propane and natural gas are highly incendiary fuels and as such should only be handled by professionals who know what they are doing. The technician will need to examine your propane or oil gas furnace to determine whether it can be converted or whether it will be more cost-effective to replace it with a new, modern natural gas furnace. Replacement may be the only way if your furnace is too old.
Whilst conversion costs will depend on what you are converting from and what you are converting to, there are various ways of negating those costs. When converting from a propane or oil gas furnace it may be worth your while to look into using natural gas for more than just heating your home, because the more the expected usage the more likely you are to get assistance to convert. Many utility companies will actually cover the cost of the piping and conversion if you are intending using natural gas for heating and hot water.
Benefits of Converting to Natural Gas
The benefits of converting from an oil gas furnace or a propane gas furnace to a natural gas furnace are many. Most areas now have natural gas piped in, which means that you will never be put in a position that you forgot to purchase fuel for your furnace and therefore cannot heat your home, water or whatever.
Some other benefits are:
- Natural gas burns more completely than fuel, which translates into better efficiency and big savings on energy bills
- Generally it is cheaper to heat your home with natural gas than with a propane or oil gas furnace
- Natural gas is far more efficient than oil-burning furnaces
- Oil and propane is generally paid for up-front, whereas natural gas is paid for at the end of the month and is generally piped in so you do not even need to spend time fetching it.
- Natural gas companies often offer rebates for individuals to switch to natural gas and these occasionally even include a gas furnace
- Approximately 84% of the natural gas consumed in America is produced locally, which makes the price of natural gas less volatile
- Natural gas is greener than oil or propane, so it is the best energy to use both for humans and the planet
- Natural gas is one of the most reliable and safest sources of heating, no matter the season or weather
- Switching to a natural gas furnace from a propane or oil gas furnace is simple and affordable
- Because natural gas is piped in there is no need to keep a storage tank on the premises as there is with propane gas.
There are various factors involved in considering whether to switch from a propane gas furnace or an oil gas furnace to a natural gas furnace, but the one factor that really speaks for itself is the efficiency of a natural gas furnace.
The efficiency of a natural gas furnace is measured by calculating the ratio of heat that the gas produces compared to how much of it is burned to produce that heat, and is measured in percentages; the higher the percentage the more efficient the furnace. The rating that is used to describe the efficiency of a gas furnace is known as the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE).
Of the three heating fuels, natural gas is the cleanest burning, which makes it not only the most efficient but also very attractive to consumers who are environmentally conscious. Natural gas has the highest fuel conversion efficiency of the three, with the most modern high-efficiency natural gas furnaces returning up to 98% AFUE ratings.
In order to achieve such high AFUE ratings the natural gas furnace must not only offer the best conversion rates, but must also protect the environment through efficient use of energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and any other pollutants.
Even if your old oil gas furnace cannot be converted to a natural gas furnace, it would still be worth your while to convert to natural gas as the newer, natural gas furnaces are far more efficient and any monies spent on the conversion will be recouped quite quickly in the monies that you will save in energy bills every month.