While 50 percent of the nation relies on natural gas to heat their homes, natural gas is still not yet available everywhere. This is especially true in rural areas, although of course, the natural gas industry is always working on expanding. Much of the Northeast relies on heating oil, while parts of the Midwest are using propane. The South still relies heavily on electricity for their heating needs. Because natural gas is substantially less expensive than heating oil, propane, and electricity, most people want to make the conversion once natural gas is available in their area. Here is what you can expect.
The natural gas company that services your area will first need to lay the main pipe along the roadways. Once this is done, people can begin scheduling an appointment for their home to be connected to the main system. While it depends on the company, most of the time you will need to have at least one appliance that is ready to use natural gas. This is so they can install the gas meter.
This means that you will need to contact a plumber to convert your propane stove, for example, to natural gas. This involves installing different fittings. Of course, your furnace and water heater, if it is propane rather than electric, will need to be converted as well. Fuel oil appliances will not be able to be converted and will need to be replaced with new natural gas products.
Most propane appliances can be converted, but sometimes older appliances cannot be. This is not a job for the do-it-yourselfer, you must have a professional plumber do this for you. You may also simply choose to buy new appliances at this time rather than having old ones converted. Propane or heating fuel tanks will need to be disconnected, even if the appliances they power have not yet been converted.
Because most propane and heating fuel companies will usually not buyback your leftover fuel, most people wait until they run out or the tank is nearly empty to schedule an appointment with first the plumber and then the natural gas company. Because there may be many customers who want natural gas once it comes to a neighborhood, the wait may be long, so be sure to check with them ahead of time to see where they are at. Work cannot be done in the winter in some regions as well. This may mean having to juggle your propane or fuel oil usage and the time you schedule the plumber to come to convert your appliances.
Once the plumber has converted your appliances, they will need to install the inside natural gas line plumbing. This isn't something the natural gas company does. Sometimes existing propane lines can be used, but in the case of fuel oil, new pipes must be installed. This is also a job that must be handled by a professional plumber.
When you are ready, the natural gas company will need to dig a trench in your yard. Many companies perform this task and charge you, but some may require you to have it prepared ahead of their arrival. If so, this is a job best contracted out. The company can let you know their preferred process.
The pipes will be connected from the main gas line to your home. The trench will then be backfilled and marked. However, they will not restore any landscaping, which will be your responsibility.
For more information, contact your local gas line installation service.