No not that kind of gas. I have moved from a condo in the city to 29
wooded hilltop acres in the country. My house is now all electric. My
nearly new dryer is natural gas.
I hate cooking on an electric range and am not impressed with my
electric water heater so I plan on replacing them with gas units.
Unfortunetly the natural gas line stops well short of my rural property
and the cost of extending it is prohibative. So it looks like propane
is my only option. Question, can my natural gas dryer be changed to
propane? Is it expensive to do so? Or will I have to sell it and buy
a propane model?
I am putting up one of those prefab shop buildings, a US Steel 30 by 40
foot model. I will be using a 200 amp service with both 115v and 230v
single phase available in the shop. Being located in a rural area
there are almost no restrictions so I am going to wire it myself (from
the service) with romex. The power company will run the 100 feet of
line from the pole underground to the shop for no charge if I dig the
ditch. They do require a 200 amp disconnect for the shop. I decided
to have them remove the above ground line to the house and go
underground to the shop connection to allow me to run ham antennas
safely into the house.
I will be putting the propane tank slightly downhill from the shop
(propane is heavier than air, right?) and running a line in for a gas
forge and a metal smelting furnace. Any suggestions for line size and
or regulators? Another line will go underground to the house for
domestic use. Thanks Gary
Consult your local propane dealer for all the answers to your questions.
They have propane orifices for your natural gas dryer. They can advise you
of all the proper regulators and devices.
Consider in advance that you will have to fill up a tank from a delivery
truck. That can be spendy. And then, there are missed deliveries, and
then, there's plain running out of gas. It happens ......... ask any rural
resident. I would ask around and see what the neighbors do. I am sure they
all have been there/done that regarding propane appliances and their cost
It might be best to use electrical for the basic appliances, and then
propane for the ones you can't accept the electric equivalent of. Check
around first, because once you do it, it's a lot of money to change back.
Steve, a former rural resident propane user
I did this in January. It does depend upon the unit, but these days most
gas appliances seem to be capable of conversion. Sometimes a kit is needed
(you need smaller orifices for propane than natural gas). My 10 yr old
Magic Chef stove (made by Maytag I believe) only needed some adjustments,
no additional parts. Look at the manuals for your appliances (you do still
have them don't you? :-) and they will probably indicate what is necessary.
If not, any local gas service outfit should be able to tell you, if you
provide make, model, and serial#.
Since my only gas appliance (for now) is a stove I just got a 100# propane
tank of the sort used by construction companies to feed their "salamander"
heaters. It's been six months so far on one tank, and we cook a lot (we
have four teens, two of them girls who like to bake). When it runs out I
will just use the 20# tank from my propane BBQ until the 100# tank is
refilled. Since I am renting a portable tank I have the choice of having
the supplier replace it with another full one (for a delivery charge) or
just sling it in the trailer and have it filled at the cheapest propane
supplier in town.
Depends on the rules. I did a little research several years back -
in California, IIRC if you extend the gas or water mains to your
property it IS expensive, but you own the pipe for the extension.
IIRC for gas mains it was in perpetuity, for water mains there was a
sunset clause where ownership reverted to the utility in ~20 years.
If a neighbor wants to tap into the extension to supply his house,
he has to "Buy In" and pay you back part of the cost. If you work it
right, you can get most or all of your investment back as more people
in the area buy shares on "your" line - and if it turns out that
there's enough business out your way, the utility will take it over
and put in a larger trunk line.
Another thing to consider - it might be worth it to get city water
run to the property if part of the payback is dropping your fire
insurance rates a lot. (Fire Hydrants are good - Cisterns run dry.)
It all depends on the appliance. Old stoves and dryers with simple
gas valves and standing pilot lights may need nothing more than an
orifice change and reset the pressure regulator to the LP setting.
Newer ones with control modules and electronic ignitions or
hot-surface carbide ignitors will probably have to be replaced or need
expensive modifications, because Propane is heavier than air and
collects in low spots.
So LPG appliances have to have a positive shutoff circuit where if
it doesn't light after two or three tries it stops trying, to avoid
building up an explosive quantity in the room. Furnaces with positive
draft blowers will run a long fan purge cycle of the combustion
chamber before trying again.
And an interesting wrinkle I uncovered while Googling links for the
last paragraph: They make mixer systems that blend propane and air to
give you the BTUH equivalent of Natural Gas for industrial plants like
bakeries and glass plants - the equipment and burners can shift
between LPG/air blend and NG at any time with no modifications.
You would still need the 100% lockout circuits, but no orifice
changes. Hmmm... http://www.altenergy.com/AEHVSSystems.htm
It doesn't cost you much more to do it right, install conduit in the
shop shed. Romex cuts and crushes too easily, and burns really nice
when exposed. Plus, how are you going to fasten it to the walls?
And when you call the insurance company to make a fire claim (and
try to replace all those expensive tools) they start looking very
carefully to see how the fire got started - they'd love to blame it
all on faulty wiring and deny the claim. If you do all the work to
code and have the initial work all signed off by the county inspector,
that's one less dodge for the insurance company to use.
See if you can get 3-phase for the shop while you are adding a
service - even 120/240 Open Delta 3ph is handy, and it's cheap for the
utility to hang a small second transformer to get the high leg. Plus
you don't need to do anything special for your regular lights and
receptacles except NOT hook up 120V loads to the "High Leg" phase.
If they'll give you 277/480V 3ph service, you'll have to buy a
transformer to drop it to 120/208V 3ph for the lights (or run a
120/240V 1ph line up from the house for emergencies) but you can run
practically anything you want machinery-wise.
You're into ham radio? There's a lot of commercial 3Ph equipment
out there that can be repurposed. Big Ol' Foot-Warmers... ;-0
Always go big, within reason. If the flow charts say to use 1" pipe
that's a minimum, 2" would (hopefully) satisfy your future needs. Go
big on the tank, too. You might even want to put in two separate
tanks, big and small, as a reserve for that "Oops!" moment...
Most propane companies deliver to a region only once or twice a
month on a scheduled route, they just fill it up and send you a bill.
If you run the tank dry using your forge and have to call them out for
a special delivery (because SWMBO insists that her stove and furnace
have fuel BEFORE next week's regular delivery) you will be paying them
a healthy trip charge on top of the gas price.
And talk to the gas supplier, if it's cold outside even large tanks
may not be able to supply the mass quantities of vapor needed for
running a big forge burner. You might have to add a propane-fired
vaporizer and tap from the Liquid valve on the tank.
--<< Bruce >>--
Bruce L. Bergman, Woodland Hills (Los Angeles) CA - Desktop
Electrician for Westend Electric - CA726700
Talk to the local propane dealers, compare the difference in prices
between a rented tank and one you own- sometimes the price difference
will pay for a tank in a couple of years, it can be a very good return
on your investment. Sometimes the dealers don't like to work with you if
you own your own tank, just depends on where you are.
Polytechforum.com is a website by engineers for engineers. It is not affiliated with any of manufacturers or vendors discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.