How To Convert A Natural Gas Pool Heater To Propane?

How to Change a Pool Heater’s Gas Supply

It’s not difficult to convert your gas pool heater from propane gas (LPG) to natural gas, or vice versa. Pool heaters can run on either gas or electricity, but you can’t easily swap from one to the other without changing the orifice sizes.

This is due to the fact that propane gas has a lower heating value than natural gas, and the pilot, gas valve, and burner tray orifices are smaller when utilizing propane gas. The two gases are also at different pressures, which are managed by separate gas regulators.

There is no kit available for converting a Laars heater, as KobiCalvert said in his post on our PoolTalk forum. A burner tray replacement is required for Laars (Jandy) heaters. The pilot, the gas valve, and all of the burner orifices for each burner will be tiny orifices on the propane burner tray that KobiCalvert will need to use.

Kobi could purchase the burner orifices, pilot, and gas valve separately, but purchasing the full burner tray may be more cost effective. Given its age, he may want to consider replacing the heater. New parts could cost up to half the price of a new heater. The heat exchanger, control circuitry, insulation, and other components in your old heater will still be approximately 15 years old after a burner tray replacement.

You’ll need to change the burner tray or buy the gas valve, pilot, and burner tray orifices separately for Laars (Jandy) heaters. Other manufacturers, such as Pentair (Purex), Hayward, and Raypak, sell pool heater conversion kits, which can be used to convert natural gas to propane or propane to natural gas.

Other than Laars (Jandy), other gas conversion kits for heater manufacturers have affordable kits that allow you to alter the orifices inside the gas valve. These are the most affordable kits. A replacement gas valve may be included in other conversion kits.

Look for your pool heater in our Pool Heater Parts sector, then look for the conversion kit in the “parts not shown” section at the bottom of the page.

Conversions to gas heaters should be handled by a licensed gas contractor. It’s not that it’s particularly complicated, but converting a heater incorrectly or without attention to detail can be deadly.

Is it possible to use a propane pool heater instead of natural gas?

Your swimming pool can give your home a spa-like feel, but once fall arrives, you may no longer be able to enjoy this backyard feature. Do you want to know if installing a pool heater in Tampa is a good idea? If that’s the case, keep reading to find out the answers to some frequently asked questions concerning gas pool heaters.

It’s not uncommon for homeowners to ask if a pool heater will provide enough value to justify its installation. If your pool is uncomfortably cold for much of the year, it’s a good idea to install a pool warmer so you can make better use of this portion of your property. In addition, if you want to extend your pool season earlier in the spring and later in the fall, installing a pool heater can be a good idea.

If you have the ability to place a gas heater in your pool, this may be the best option. Gas pool heaters can be less expensive up front and have lower monthly operating expenses than electric pool heaters. Electric heat pumps, on the other hand, can save a lot of energy compared to both electric and gas pool heaters, but they can become inefficient once the temperatures drop too low. Individuals who wish to quickly raise their pool to a pleasant temperature and warm the water for short periods of time rather than continuously can benefit from gas pool heaters.

Propane or natural gas are used to power gas pool heaters. The gas is burned in a combustion chamber, and the heat generated is delivered to the pool water. To work, these heaters need to be connected to natural gas or a propane gas storage tank. Unlike solar heaters and heat pumps, gas heaters are not affected by the weather, so they can warm your pool regardless of the temperature.

Is it possible to convert a Hayward natural gas heater to propane?

Is it possible to switch my heater from natural gas to propane or vice versa? Hayward heaters can be modified to run on natural gas or liquid propane. Converting the heater may necessitate the installation of a new gas valve, burner orifices, and/or an air restrictor plate. Conversion kits are available from your local Hayward dealer.

What is the procedure for converting a natural gas aperture to a propane orifice?

  • Remove the access panel from the heater.
  • Disconnect the gas supply piping to the heater.
  • All electrical connections to the gas valve should be disconnected.
  • Remove the screws that connect your burner box to the manifold. This allows you to take the manifold and gas valve assembly apart.
  • On the manifold assembly, remove the orifices. Keep them secure in case you need them, and you can convert them to natural gas later.
  • Now, place your propane orifices (from the kit) into the opening on the manifold assembly where the removed orifices were (discard any extra orifices).
  • Tighten the orifices using a wrench until they’re gas-tight.
  • Then, simply follow the instructions that came with your specific regulator kit to convert your combination gas valves.
  • Install the propane fuel rating plate label that came with your conversion kit next to the serial plate on the space heater (on the same panel as the common replacement part’s label).
  • Screw the manifold assembly back into place on your burner box.
  • Replace your gas valve’s different electrical connections.
  • Check to see if the sensor and igniter are still in good working order and haven’t been damaged.
  • To avoid putting too much strain on the unit’s heater gas manifold, reconnect the piping that supplies gas to your heater with 2(two) wrenches.

Is it possible to connect a pool heater to a gas tank?

Both types of heaters have the same installation procedure. Only the gas connection is different. If you’ve done your investigation and determined that a propane pool heater would provide you with the desired heat output, you can purchase one.

1. Propane heaters should be installed on a non-combustible surface with at least 2-3 feet of open space around them. They should not be placed indoors or near any of the house’s window openings or intakes. There should be no overhanging stairs, low eaves, or roof line over the heater.

2. Plumbing: After the return pipe has exited the filter, cut it and connect the pipes in and out of the heater using schedule 40 PVC, then reattach the exit pipe to the return line. To prevent corrosive gasses from backing up, chlorinators should be placed downstream, behind the heater, and at ground level.

3. Power: A millivolt heater, which does not require a power supply, is still available, but wiring a digital heater is simple. You can use the electricity from the timeclock or pump switch instead of a separate breaker. To connect power inside the heater, use 220 volt or 110 volt and follow the instructions. Simple.

Is it more cost-effective to heat a swimming pool with natural gas or propane?

Natural gas, despite producing fewer BTUs per cubic foot, is also far less expensive. Natural gas can be up to 84 percent cheaper than propane depending on where you reside.

What is the cost of heating a pool with propane?

If you’ve never used a propane pool heater before, you might be surprised the first time you use one, especially if you use it before the summer temperatures begin to increase.

The reason for this is that the average propane pool heater consumes around 1 gallon of propane per 100,000 Btus. A propane pool heater with a 400,000 Btu output for a standard-sized pool (21,000 gallons) will burn roughly four gallons of propane every hour.

So, how long will the heater be turned on? This necessitates a little math (bear with us).

  • A average pool holds 21,000 gallons of water, which weighs 8.34 pounds per gallon. To raise the temperature of a standard-sized pool by one degree, you’ll need roughly 175,100 Btus.
  • Pool heaters have an efficiency range of 80-95 percent; assuming an average efficiency of 80 percent, a 400,000 BTU heater will only produce 320,000 BTUs per hour. To put it another way, if you run a 400,000 BTU heater for one hour (using four gallons of propane), the temperature in a 21,000 gallon pool will rise by around 1.82 degrees.
  • Now, if your pool is 60 degrees and you want to swim in 80-degree water, you’ll have to operate the pool heater for 10 to 12 hours; propane costs about $3.00 per gallon in Connecticut.

In this case, the bottom line is:

Of course, this is an extreme example, as you are unlikely to need to raise the temperature in your pool by 20 degrees any time other than late spring or early fall. However, it emphasizes the need of doing all possible to improve the efficiency of your pool heater.

So, how do you go about doing that? Here are five ideas to consider:

  • Make use of a pool cover. When a pool is not in use, evaporation accounts for 70% of the heat loss, therefore keep it covered!
  • Maintain a pool temperature of 78-80 degrees Fahrenheit. Increasing the temperature by one degree raises energy expenses substantially; keep the water warm, but not spa-warm.
  • When the pool isn’t in use, lower the thermostat.
  • Cover the pool and set the thermostat to 70 degrees if you won’t be using it for a few days. Turn off the heater if you’re going to be gone for an extended amount of time.
  • Protect your pool from wind and heat loss by erecting a fence or hedge.
  • Have your pool heater serviced at least once a year.
  • A pool heater, like any other fuel-burning appliance, requires routine maintenance to function properly. In fact, an annual pool heater tune-up will usually pay for itself in efficiency gains alone, not to mention the long-term benefits that regular maintenance will give for your pool heater.

Are you having fun in your heated pool? Great! Just make sure you’re not spending more money than necessary to keep it going. To maintain your pool heater functioning at top efficiency, sign up today for a Hocon Pool Heat Inspection and Tune-up, one of the many high-value Home Comfort Solutions we provide our loyal Connecticut customers.

Is it propane or natural gas that has the larger orifice?

Appliance conversion entails replacing gas orifices, burners, and/or appliance regulators in order for an appliance to run on a different fuel. These internal fittings and gas usage connections are made to work with a certain gas at a given pressure. Because natural gas has a lower pressure than propane, changing the appliance to one of the two gases necessitates compensating for the pressure difference. Connecting a natural gas appliance to a propane piping system, in other words, will result in appliance failure and possibly danger. This is due to the fact that natural gas orifices are larger than propane orifices due to gas service pressure. In this situation, the greater pressure gas passing through a wider orifice will cause more gas to pass through the burner, resulting in more flame…an unnaturally enormous flame. Because of the lower pressure gas and the smaller orifice, using a propane device with natural gas will likely result in a very small flame or no burner flame at all. This is the primary goal of converting a propane to natural gas or natural gas to propane equipment. Furthermore, appliances cannot be switched from electricity to propane or the other way around.

What is a propane conversion kit and how does it work?

Because the air/fuel mixture is automatically changed as the load varies, this conversion kit works. This automated adjustment is only possible because a vacuum hose connects this unique flow regulator to the carburetor.

This enables the flow regulator to detect changes in engine intake vacuum, which are directly related to changes in engine load. As a result, as additional load is applied, the carburetor throttle changes, increasing intake manifold vacuum. As a result of the vacuum, the flow regulator in the propane conversion kit increases fuel flow to maintain the appropriate air/fuel mixture. It’s hard to keep the fuel/air mixture perfect and the motor operating without this feedback!

The modification of a carburetor to deliver alternative fuel and provide a feedback method (a port to the vacuum inside the carburetor) to an external propane fuel delivery flow regulator, which is designed to accept the vacuum feedback and adjust the fuel delivery flow rate, is at the heart of the conversion. This unique vacuum flow regulator acts as an extra hand, automatically adjusting the regulator output knob to maintain the optimal air/fuel mixture!

So, without further ado, here’s what it takes to convert one of these engines to run on propane using an off-the-shelf conversion kit:

What’s Involved?

The most important part of carburetor modification is replacing the present gasoline fuel delivery tube (the red plastic tube) with a metal propane delivery tube.

This will necessitate drilling out the carburetor opening where the old jet was installed. The gasoline delivery jet will be replaced by a new brass jet (along with several additional fittings and a valve assembly).

A slower-running brass fitting will be replaced with a bigger (hollow) fitting that will function as a vacuum feedback port for the vacuum-controlled flow regulator.

RTV silicone will be used to seal any unused air channels that are solely necessary for gasoline fuel use.

(The photographs below depict a specific carburetor model, but the adjustments are the same for all carburetors.)

What is the purpose of a gas conversion kit?

When one type of gas is more easily available than another, fuel conversion kits are employed. They convert liquid propane (LP) to natural gas (NG) and vice versa for gas wall and ceiling heaters.

Is a regulator required for a propane pool heater?

Almost all pool heaters contain a gas pressure regulator that is both preset and sealed to avoid gas pressure fluctuations. For natural gas, the gas pressure regulator is usually set at 4 inches water column (WC), while propane gas is adjusted at roughly 10 or 11 inches WC. A pressure measurement based on an inch-wide tube of water with a hole at the bottom is referred to as WC. The higher the pressure rating, or WC, the taller the water column, or tube. Do not attempt to adjust or open the pool heater’s gas pressure regulator, as this could result in a gas leak or possibly an explosion.