Converting your natural gas barbecue grill to one that is powered by propane is not an easy feat and should not be done by amateurs. That’s not to say, however, that it can’t be done by a determined do-it-yourself griller with a bit of experience, a knack for tinkering, and a love for propane.
Although natural gas grills certainly have their benefits, propane grills tend to supply both more power and more heat, making them a quicker solution for the famished outdoor chef. All that power comes with a price, however, as propane can tend to be slightly more expensive than natural gas. One of the best advantages of propane grills is that the tank is easily disconnected, making the entire unit effortlessly portable to any outdoor cooking location no matter how remote.
Whatever your motivation for making the conversion, be prepared to put plenty of sweat, maybe a bit of blood, and possibly even a few tears into the job. Also, be advised that modifying your natural gas grill to this degree will most likely void its warranty, and you may have to fend for yourself if you run into any complications. Here are some basic steps for converting your natural gas grill to a propane grill.
The Easy Way Out
First of all, try checking with your grill’s manufacturer to see if they happen to offer a ready-made kit for natural gas to propane conversion. They probably won’t, but it’s still worth a try. If they do, you’ll be saving yourself a lot of hassle.
Begin the conversion process by disconnecting the natural gas fuel line from the grill. Don’t do anything else until you have completed this step.
Once the fuel line is safely disconnected, the orifice fittings are next. These should be removed through the burners themselves. You can recognize an orifice fitting by the tiny hole that will be drilled into the center of its accompanying valve. The reason these must be removed is that propane contains much more energy than natural gas and therefore needs larger orifices for burning.
Select your new propane-safe orifices by using either an orifice-sizing manual or a BTU to make sure you get the right ones. If you can’t find big enough orifices or you prefer the flexibility, you can use adjustable orifices. Just make sure they are opened to the correct width.
Next, remove all the hosing from your grill’s valve technique. While you’re at it, take out the gas regulator too. Before performing these tasks, it’s a good idea to have all the replacement parts handy. If you don’t already have propane-distinct hosing, a propane regulator, and an OPD, run out to the store and get them.
New Hosing, Regulator, and OPD
Install your new propane regulator in the spot where the gas regulator used to be. Once the regulator is in place, you can then fit your new propane-distinct hosing onto the correct valve.
Propane grills need what is called an overfill protection device. This device helps to prevent unruly fires by limiting the amount of available propane from the tank. Now is the time to attach your OPD connector in its place.
Make sure all the connections on your new propane grill are tightened and that there are no leaks. It’s a good idea to spray your new assembly with soapy water and then stand back and inspect all the connections and hosing for bubbles. If you hear any hissing or see and bubbling, you have a leak. Once all your connections are tightened enough to where no propane can escape where it shouldn’t, you will be the proud owner of a new propane grill assembly. Time for some hamburgers!