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Old 09-11-2012, 12:12 AM   #1
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Natural Gas

Was wondering if anyone had every thought about or switched there propane appliances over to natural gas, where I'm living has natural gas and I thought it may be cheaper to run my trailer off of for heat this winter.
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Old 09-11-2012, 04:21 AM   #2
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You would need to rejet all the appliances. I am not sure of availability. Contact Suburban.
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Old 09-11-2012, 05:58 AM   #3
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Actually, it's not a good idea to rejet your furnace for natural gas. Propane gas contains 2516 BTU per cubic foot. Natural gas only contains 1030 BTU per cubic foot. So, for the same BTU output from your furnace, you have to burn about 2.4 times as much natural gas.

If you're burning 2.4 times as much gas, you also need 2.4 times as much air to support the proper air/fuel mixture. Far better to get a furnace designed to burn natural gas, that has the proper size venting as well, than modifying a propane furnace that doesn't provide enough air.

Most people that convert their furnaces convert the other way, from natural gas to propane, because they're converting home units for areas where natural gas utilities aren't available. In such a case, they're converting to a fuel that requires less gas and less air for the same BTUs, not more.

Also natural gas is lighter than air, unlike propane. Your LPG detector near the floor will do no good in the trailer; you need a detector near the ceiling if you use natural gas.

I assume that your trailer will be winterized, and will remain parked in one place all winter, and you won't be living in it. In that case, you can plumb a connection to the natural gas utility just for the furnace, not any of the other appliances. If the trailer will be mobile, or if you'll be living in it and using other appliances as well, you're better off sticking with propane. While piped natural gas is cheap compared to bottled propane, bottled natural gas is far more expensive than bottled propane.
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Old 09-11-2012, 06:19 AM   #4
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In order to have any capacity at all you would need 1) larger tanks and 2) extremely high pressure, like trucks and cars. They run at 3000+ psi and therein lies the problem....infrastructure for high pressure/fast-fill pumps.
Cost for the tanks would be an issue. I am not aware of any RV high pressure systems, and if you think certification (initial) for propane is bad...... CNG tanks must be replaced (not re-certified) every 10, 15 or 15 years, depending on their construction material.

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Old 09-11-2012, 06:51 AM   #5
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I assume the idea is to stay in the camper and hook it up to a natural gas connection.

Given the hassle and issues of converting to natural gas, if you're staying in one spot, I'd suggest looking into propane delivery in large bottles - I'm told (haven't tried it yet) you can get the bottle delivered and refilled for just the cost of the propane. Plus if you want to use the camper normally later, you'd have to switch back to propane jets.

Make no mistake - you'll go through propane like there's no tomorrow. I kept our trailer heated, at the lowest setting on the thermostat, for about 3 weeks last winter, and it wasn't even that cold outside. IIRC I used more than two full 30 lb bottles of propane.. and this was in the relatively mild Washington, DC area weather. We covered the skylights and closed the bedroom door, too, since there are no water lines back there. I opened the cabinet with the water lines and the water heater to help get warm air into those areas. I promised myself I'd just re-winterize if I was going to do that again.

But this year we're doing it again, so I have to decide whether I'm keeping that promise.
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Old 09-11-2012, 10:08 AM   #6
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1966 26' Overlander
1978 31' Sovereign
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I heated last year and didn't really keep track of the propane, I'm planing on living in it again this winter, and it will be winterized of course to avoid hassle if loose heat. Maybe I'll look into a second furnace, or bulk propane, thanks for all the input.
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