Propane to Natural Gas – Is it Worth Converting Your BBQ Grill?

  • Author Les Fenton
  • Published January 9, 2013
  • Word count 526

If you set out to buy a BBQ grill today, one of the options facing you is whether to fuel it with propane or natural gas. But what if you already have a propane gas BBQ. Is it worthwhile converting it?

In this article we’ll help you weigh up the pros and the cons.

The Relative Costs of Natural gas and Propane

Technical tests on both gases indicate that although natural gas is much less expensive than propane (by up to three or four times for one cubic foot) you’ll need twice as much to cook the same meal. But this is more than compensated for by the much lower cost of natural gas. However, that’s not the complete story.

Grill Conversion Costs

To change your grill from propane to natural gas you’ll also have to carry out a technical conversion. This conversion involves taking out your existing gas regulator and feed pipes and replacing these with similar items designed specifically for natural gas. The conversion process increases the flow of gas to your barbecue grill to compensate for the fact that natural gas produces less cooking heat than propane.

It’s possible to carry out this conversion yourself, but this is not recommended because the work involved demands a certain level of technical skill. It’s much more sensible to employ the services of a natural gas technician who will also be able to install a patio gas supply point at the same time.

However, the conversion cost is likely to be quite high – probably in the region of $100 -$200. Therefor, you may well decide that it’s more sensible to put this money towards the purchase cost of a new natural gas grill.

Other Factors to Consider

As well as weighing up the cost savings against the conversion costs you should also consider the following factors:

Factors against Conversion:

Grill Mobility – You’ll not be able to use your grill anywhere. You’re going to be restricted by the position of the natural gas supply point.

Taste – Natural gas contains a smelly substance called mercaptan. Its deliberately mixed with the gas so that you can tell if you’ve got a leak. Some people reckon that this substance imparts an unpleasant taste to the food. However, don’t get too hung up about this. It’s not a frequently voiced complaint.

Environmental Protection – Natural gas is not environmentally friendly. If it escapes into the atmosphere,it gets converted into other substances which are detrimental to it.

Factors for Conversion:

Convenience – Your fuel supply will be on tap and you won’t have to carry bottles of propane around anymore or change a bottle half-way through a BBQ.

Make a Choice. Propane or Natural Gas?

Hopefully my article will help you make a choice about whether to convert your grill or not. If you’re already using natural gas in the home this could be an opportunity to save money on the costs of operating your BBQ grill, but don’t forget those conversion costs. It may make more sense to wait until you need to purchase a new grill