How to Convert NG Water Heaters to LP

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Natural gas (NG) water heaters are usually outfitted to run on natural gas and not liquid petroleum (LP). However, if you only have propane gas available in your area, you can convert a gas water heater to run on it with the use of an LP conversion kit. Since LP travels under higher pressure than natural gas, the openings in the water heater's burner need to be smaller to prevent over-firing. LP conversion kits come with new LP orifices to remedy this.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Wrench
  • LP conversion kit
  • Turn off the gas to the water heater and unscrew the heater's gas line from the natural gas regulator with a wrench. Open the burner maintenance hatch near the floor of the heater with a screwdriver.

  • Lift the cover off of the gas selector screw and turn it 45 degrees counterclockwise to the LP position.

  • Loosen the screws that hold the burner assembly in place and remove it from the water heater. Use a wrench to remove the burner supply tube and pilot tube. Unscrew the pilot from the burner with the screwdriver.

  • Attach the new LP burner orifice to the burner supply tube with the screwdriver. Attach the new LP burner to the LP orifice with the wrench. Screw the LP pilot orifice into the old pilot orifice with the screwdriver.

  • Reattach the burner pilot tube. Screw the burner assembly back into the water heater and close the door. Secure the door with the screws.

  • Use the wrench to attach the water heater's gas line to a propane regulator, which comes with the LP conversion kit. Screw the propane regulator into the propane gas line with the wrench then turn the gas back on.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not convert water heaters that are made to operate on one type of gas only. Check your water heater for any warnings.

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References

  • "How Your House Works: A Visual Guide to Understanding & Maintaining Your Home"; Charlie Wing; 2007
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