How to Convert a Gas BBQ to Propane

A close up of a grill.
  • 6-8 hours
  • Beginner
  • 100- 300
What You'll Need
Flathead screwdriver
Assorted screwdrivers
Needle-nosed pliers
Numbered set of drill bits
Pipe joint compound

Many gas BBQ grill owners find propane tanks to be more cost-effective and convenient than natural gas tanks. Propane tanks can be delivered right to your door and are also easily refillable. Unless natural gas is piped directly into your home, propane is probably the way for you to go. Expect the conversion process to take a good three hours.

Because natural gas has less energy than propane gas, the orifice on the valve must be larger for propane to allow more gas to mix with air. Therefore, you may have to drill a hole or purchase a new orifice. This job takes a fair amount of experience. There are some manufacturers who take the position that drilling a hole in the orifice violates the warranty. Therefore, any questions or concerns that arise should be addressed by a professional.

Step 1 - Remove the Cap on the Pressure Regulator

Using a flat-head screwdriver, turn the cap on your pressure regulator and remove it. Tighten the cap underneath and make sure it reads LP.

Step 2 - Snap the Plunger Into Place

A man uses a grill.

Turn the plunger over, remove it, and then snap the plunger back into its original place. Be sure to re-insert the cap into the regulator and tighten it.

Step 3 - Turn the Top Burner Valves

Twist the top burner valve of each burner in a downward motion so that it touches the pin used for the LP settings. Turn clockwise, using a 1/2 inch wrench, but do not over-tighten. In some cases, you may need to replace the entire valve. If your valve has a click-stop for low, medium, and high settings, there are three different sized holes that allow the flow of gas. These holes will be larger in a natural gas valve than those on a propane valve. As a result, if you convert the orifice to propane without changing this valve, the low, medium, and high settings will become medium, high, and very high.

Step 4 - Remove and Replace the Thermostat Knob

You should find your pilot screw located behind the thermostat knob. Remove the knob and turn the control screw to the setting labeled LP clockwise. Put the thermostat knob back on.

Step 5 - Remove the Bottom Broiler Drawer and Burner Baffle Plate

A woman uses a grill.

Remove both the broiler drawer and burner baffle plates. You should then be able to locate the wing nut. Turn it in a counterclockwise direction.

Step 6 - Tighten the Safety Valve Orifice Hood and Complete Your Conversion

Turn the safety valve orifice hood clockwise until it is completely tight.

Step 7 - Check for Safety and Make Adjustments

Inspect your attachment locations for leaks. Once you are sure there are no connection problems, turn on the LP gas and plug the power supply cord into a ground outlet. Adust the air shutters so that the gas is distributed equally. Readjust the range of lighting the pilot light as needed. You have now successfully completed your conversion.