Converting Propane to Natural Gas

Discussion in 'General Open Forum' started by Rain City, Dec 9, 2019.

  1. Rain City

    Rain City Crew Member

    Hey smarter guys than me...

    I'm trying to figure out what exactly needs to happen here. I have a high pressure (2lb) service to my house with a dual outlet box in my patio. I want to convert my new LP smoker to Natural Gas so I don't need to worry about running out of Propane. Based on the pressure and the two 10000 btu burners my internet searches have landed me around a 15/64" drill bit for the orifice. New hose and that's it? I've seen the kits that come with new knob controls is that necessary?
  2. oguard

    oguard Active Member

    Can you replace the orifice? I have had a couple propane grills that I could just replace the orifice to switch to Natural gas.

  3. Rain City

    Rain City Crew Member

    I'd assume so? Figured drilling it out should be faster and cheaper though no?

    UPS shafted me for the second day in a row so still no smoker :(. Maybe the guy doesn't want to lift the 120lb box :eek:
    oguard likes this.
  4. NDT

    NDT Active Member

    The house should be regulated already, so just an orifice change should work, if you remove the orifices to drill them, make sure to seal them with gas pipe dope upon install.
    trophywife and Rain City like this.
  5. Rain City

    Rain City Crew Member

    Cool thanks.
    NDT likes this.

    CIVANO Well-Known Member

  7. ReelSlim

    ReelSlim Crew Member

    Drilling is the quickest fix and it will work fine. Back in the day we converted lots of propane powered pump jacks in Northern Alberta to NG and we drilled out the existing orifice. It was a socket to to remove it...drill it and spin it back in. Your set up might be a bit different but it’s a common practice.
    Rain City likes this.
  8. Rain City

    Rain City Crew Member

  9. Rotten Ronnie

    Rotten Ronnie Member

    I would use the smoker with propane at least the first few times just to see how it performs. Once you start drilling holes any warranty goes out the window. A 20# propane bottle is going to last at least 16-18 hours at 20,000 btu’s which I don’t think you’ll need to smoke fish, way to hot, so you’re not going to run out too quickly. If you still want to change it ask the manufacturer if they sell a conversion kit. Natural gas is delivered to your house meter/regulator at about 60psi and enters the house at about 2 psi., not what I would consider high pressure. The gas chart you’re reading is in Inches of Water Column, not pounds per square inch. This scale is used to measure gas when it is delivered at such low pressure. An inch of water column is about 1/28 of a pound per square inch, natural gas appliances usually require from 3-7 inches of water column pressure. Propane appliances typically use about 11 inches, that’s why you need bigger orifices and a new regulator when converting to natural gas, lower pressure. Take the orifices out when you drill them, no sense leaving drilling debris in lines to clog the orifice when the gas flows again. No pipe dope is needed, they are flare fittings, also any shut off valves are upstream of the burner. The orifice is always open, so pressure will never build, besides you stand a good chance of clogging up the orifice with the dope. The 15/64 hole is way too big in my estimation, to work with the regulator they have to match up. Uneducated guessing won’t work here, ( hey, your words, not mine) A set of orifice drill bits has 60 or so sizes before it gets to 15/64 ths so you can see it has to be spot on. I’m not a gas fitter so I can’t tell you exactly what size to drill the orifices to but I can recommend one if you PM me. Just be safe, I may want to try some of your chicken one day, and that won’t happen if you’re in the burn unit.
  10. Rain City

    Rain City Crew Member

    PM a comin'
  11. Rain City

    Rain City Crew Member

    Ok so if the smoker currently uses a 2.8 kpa LP regulator then that's 11.252 wc. Can I assume I need a hose and regulator like this?
    KitchenAid 710-0003 Natural Gas Hose and Regulator for Gas Grill Conversion
    Then I just need to drill the orifices based on 10 000 btu at 11 wc?
  12. Rain City

    Rain City Crew Member

    Then based on this chart it's approximately a #60 drill bit?
  13. cletus

    cletus Member

    I had my gas fitter do my webber bbq for me.Brought it to him when he was roughing in a house for me.Took him 5 min.
  14. Rain City

    Rain City Crew Member

    Did he tell you to buy a regulator with your new hose?
  15. cletus

    cletus Member

    Nope,just drilled orifice and it works using original regulator. Maybe not the correct way but it works.
  16. Rain City

    Rain City Crew Member

    Ok. So here it is. I ended up buying a 3.5" wc natural gas regulator and basing my hole size off of that, which by the charts happened to be a 1/16" drill bit. Sweet. I do have a regulator inside my bbq box on the deck but that's a range from 7"-11" so I was advised that to make sure I'm where I want to be I should just get another one. The tricky part was that while removing the orifices one snapped off inside the valve. After searching high and low for the correct size Fairview Fittings in Coquitlam was the only place that ended up having something even remotely similar. So now back to the shop to drill out the old one and luckily the new one was slightly bigger. Re-tapped it, drilled both orifices to the new size and reassembled. I ordered the hoses and fittings I need from Amazon including a quick connect for both ends so I can remove the 25' hose. Everything should be here by tomorrow and, cross my fingers, I'll be good to go.

    After all of this it makes me wonder how the hell I custom built a forge that puts out 500000 btus out of home made burners without thinking twice. Or maybe I'm just blocking the process out of my mind like I will this one o_O.

    Thanks for all the help guys.
  17. Rain City

    Rain City Crew Member

    Great success :D IMG-20191224-WA0000.jpeg
    Oly1, oguard, Fox and 1 other person like this.
  18. Vernon Forrester

    Vernon Forrester New Member

    please elaborate. I have a propane Webber and switched out to Fortis everything. The gas fitter when he was here doing his thing to the boiler, and changing jets on the GE stove and LG gas dryer he added the right regulator at the wall for the BBQ, but that's as far as that went.
    I have dismantled the Weber and am in the process of cleaning up the grills, bars, etc. I thought I had to switch out the orfices. Haven't finished the job yet. What to do now ? Find natural gas orfices for this model or drill out the existing. Any info you can provide would be helpful.
  19. Rain City

    Rain City Crew Member

    Your Webber should have a kit available. If not my last post pretty much explained it all.
  20. Sotally Tober

    Sotally Tober Well-Known Member

    Call Johnstones Bbq, they have lots of parts - should be able to help you out with a Weber grill.
    Not sure where you live , they have a store in North Van and a store in Surrey

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