Gas grill using natural gas?
February 20, 2012 12:39 PM   Subscribe

I'm beginning to look into propane barbeques. Now, I have a natural gas outlet/line already installed on my deck, and I'd much rather use that than deal with propane tanks. I see plenty of gas BBQ conversion kits available online, but A. How safe/easy is this conversion to do yourself? B. Does it need to be done professionally / follow some city code?

Have you converted a barbeque yourself? Any pitfalls to look out for?

As for the city/state code, I'm in San Diego, Ca. (If that helps.)
posted by Barmecide to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I was just at home depot looking for a replacement bbq burner. They had conversion kits, and I stopped to take a look at them. You basically unscrewed the existing connections to the hose on the bottom of the barbecue and replaced them with a new hose. It looked like it would take all of 30 seconds. I assume the companies who sell them would be in big trouble if somebody managed to injure themselves with one of the conversion kits, but who knows.
posted by zug at 1:32 PM on February 20, 2012

No idea if it would've the same for a grill, but when I converted my stove from natural gas to propane I had to change the jets in the burners.
posted by narcoleptic at 2:02 PM on February 20, 2012

If you're looking for a new grill, you can simply buy one that's natural gas ready and skip the conversion. Weber has a natural gas option starting with their entry-level Spirit series.
posted by donovan at 2:14 PM on February 20, 2012

How safe/easy is this conversion to do yourself?

If you can operate a wrench you can do it. It just requires changing the hose and replacing the jets (a fancy nut with a tiny hole). But like donovan says the vast majority of gas grills are available both ways though one may have to special order the N/G version.
posted by Mitheral at 2:51 PM on February 20, 2012

Yeah it's really not hard. It's one of those things that you shouldn't do if you're totally uncomfortable with hand tools and assembling parts together, though. If you were to do it wrong it does have the potential of creating a dangerous condition, I suppose.

If there is not already a shut-off valve at the end of the gas line on your deck, then you are going to have to get a gasfitter in to install one. (You could also do this yourself, but it's beyond what I'd say an average DIYer should do; you have to turn the gas main off, and then there's a lot of gas still in the pipes... leave that to the professionals.) However, if the shut-off is there, you can just connect the grill to that using the proper length and size of flexible or semi-rigid tubing. Be sure to use teflon tape or thread dope on all (non-compression) connectors to prevent leaks, and spray everything with soap solution and look for bubbles when you're done.

The manual for the grill will probably give additional installation instructions / requirements, so best to pick out the grill you want before buying a bunch of other supplies.

The big code issues to be careful of are the minimum distance between the grill and your house. Some municipalities aren't okay with grills on wood decks at all, so that might be worth looking into as well.
posted by Kadin2048 at 3:04 PM on February 20, 2012

Our natural gas company also had a store selling wonderful grills that you could pay for over time on your gas bill. I basically got one the size of a HUMMER for eleven bucks a month, I think, and it was all ready to go. They will even install it for you.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 9:52 PM on February 20, 2012

I was going to second donovan and recommend just getting a natural gas grill. I bought a weber spirit natural gas grill (310) for my building a couple of years ago and its been awesome. I had no problems setting it up. I believe that natural gas burns cooler than propane, but I've never had any problems with it. The only difference I've seen is not having to run down to the store for more propane because someone used it up or left the gas on.
posted by kookywon at 8:31 AM on February 21, 2012

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