Gas Problem

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
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
call the customer service department for your appliance manufacturer. They have the parts to convert from NG to propane, & vice versa. I looked into at once and it seemed relatively easy to do.
Tony

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Your local propane supplier should be able to tell you if it's economically feasible. My guess is with the cost of labor and parts a new dryer might make more sense.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

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 effectiveness.
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
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

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.
Rob
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

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.
Googled: http://www.standby.com/propane/vaporizers.html http://www.altenergy.com/Vaporizers.htm
--<< Bruce >>--
--
Bruce L. Bergman, Woodland Hills (Los Angeles) CA - Desktop
Electrician for Westend Electric - CA726700
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Gary wrote:

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.
John
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I'd like to thank you all for the useful and informative input. It will be a big help. 73 Gary N9ZSV
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

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.