It’s barbecue season again, and for most people that means lifting the propane tank and wondering when it’s going to run out.
“More people are choosing natural gas grilling over propane really out of the convenience of not having to replace the propane tank,” Angie Hicks, founder of Angie's List said.
Another reason is the cost. Natural gas is about 50 percent cheaper than propane, so even though it costs hundreds of dollars to run a gas line to a backyard deck or patio, there can be big savings in the long run for people who grill year-round.
“They want to save money over time. They’re making a commitment to their outdoor living space, so they know that they’re going to have a permanent grill in that location, and they don’t’ want to have the hassle of going and refilling your propane tank and possibly running out of fuel," Russ Greene, grill retailer said.
That convenience has also motivated many people to convert their propane grills to natural gas. Conversion kits are available for less than a hundred dollars, but it may be a job best suited for a professional.
“That conversion kit, you need to actually exchange not only the gas that’s coming in from either your propane tank or your gas at home, you have to change every orifice that’s going into your burners," added Greene.
Another benefit of using natural gas is that it burns a little cleaner than propane, which makes it better for the environment, and it reduces the exhaust in the air helping your food taste better. Installation of a natural gas line however, is best left to a professional.
“In order to have a natural gas line installed for your grill, you need to contact a licensed plumber. You should also ask that plumber to do the conversion of your grill as well,” Hicks said.
Angie also recommends having that new gas line constructed with black pipe instead of the flexible tubing some plumbers like to use. It’s more durable and should last for decades.