Difference in home piping between propane and natural gas?

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Old 05-09-11, 12:59 PM
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Difference in home piping between propane and natural gas?

We are selling our home that was built 12 years ago and uses propane from an in-ground storage tank. A looker asked if the gas plumbing in the house was rated properly for natural gas if they wanted to convert (mains were brought in to the neighborhood a few years ago, not many conversions undertaken but all new construction seem to have decided to use NG).

I didn't realize there would be a difference in the iron pipe used to distribute gas in the house. One neighbor who converted said all they had to do was appliance conversions, but none of the gas plumbing had to be changed.

I believe that propane is coming in at a higher pressure anyway than natural gas would, so my lay impression is that it would handle the lower pressure just fine. I'll have to go check again, but in my mind's eye I think we have 1" pipe throughout.

So, pros, is a house plumbed with a different grade of pipe depending on the gas to be transported? If so, is there a difference in a propane to NG conversion versus a NG to propane change?

Finally, again I'll have to climb up there and measure and get BTU ratings, but we have one furnace and one water heater that are probably about 180 ft from the regulator. With a 1" pipe would there be adequate delivery of NG at the far end? Have had no problems with the propane getting there.

Thanks for words of wisdom. We don't intend to convert, but would like to be able to discuss intelligently with potential buyers that get to this level of detail.
 
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Old 05-09-11, 01:55 PM
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You take your farthest appliance, which you say is 180 ft from the regulator correct?

Is this where the gas line will be entering the home?

1" pipe at 175ft will only support 145,000 btu.

Its a calculation. LP has higher water column. NG needs bigger pipe to get the volume there because of the lower water column.

Add up all the btus of all appliances that would be in the house after conversion, and what is the total distance the farthest appliance will be?

I would say you probably can leave most of the pipe, but will need 1 1/4" pipe coming in from the meter a certain distance to supply the btu. Just running 1 1/4 incrases the capacity to 300,000 btu, but you need to always work off the 180ft on the gas charts when calculating.

Hope this helps

Mike NJ
 
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Old 05-09-11, 02:13 PM
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This is excellent information and I really appreciate it. From what I am reading, the pipe can handle the NG from a pressure standpoint but perhaps not be able to get enough volume to the distant appliances.

Sounds like a trip into the attic to read labels and measure distances is in order. Glad I didn't undertake this in July!

Thanks again!
 
 

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