For many people, the thought of converting an electric appliance to gas, changing your wood fireplace to gas, or installing a gas firepit or grill is at the top of your to-do list. Yet before you undergo a major change to your home that involves a gas line, there are a few things to consider first.
1. What is the benefit of using gas?
Natural gas appliances can be cheaper to run and more efficient to use. But you may incur upfront costs that can run into the thousands of dollars to make the replacement. To replace an electric appliance with a gas appliance, the gas line will need to be run from source to where the appliance is located. Because it is gas, only a certified plumber should work with the installation process to make sure it is done correctly. Also add in the costs of the new appliance to determine if this is the right upgrade for you.
2. What maintenance should I be prepared for?
Because natural gas can be deadly, it should always be left to the professionals. Natural gas appliances, equipment and connectors should always be installed and used in accordance with manufacturers guidelines. You should also watch for any product recalls or hazardous situations that can occur with the items installed in your home.
If your home has been using natural gas for years, some older uncoated brass connectors can crack or break apart, causing a gas leak. Have a licensed plumber perform regular checks on your gas lines to make sure all is connected and operating correctly. Do not try and move appliances or check them yourself; even slight movement can cause complete failure of these connectors, putting your family at risk.
If you will be planning a project that involves digging, trenching, drilling or excavating, be sure to connect with the local authorities to have underground lines clearly marked before work begins.
3. What should I know about natural gas to protect my family?
Natural gas is colorless and odorless, yet can be deadly for human consumption. That is why all gas providers must add a harmless, non-toxic odorant to make it detectable should problems occur. It usually has a gassy smell that resembles rotten eggs. If you detect a strong smell, leave the premises immediately and call your local gas company for immediate service.
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless and potentially dangerous gas that is produced when fuel such as natural gas is burned without enough air for complete combustion. If inhaled, it can cause unconsciousness, brain damage, or even death. A carbon monoxide detector should be placed in every home, and in multiple locations if you have a large home.