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How to convert your furnace to natural gas?


Switching from an electric furnace to a gas furnace is one of the easiest ways to see huge savings in your energy bills. In this video we’ll go over everything you need to know about converting to natural gas.

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Fire & Ice Heating and Air Conditioning proudly serves Columbus, Ohio and the surrounding areas. Our service area includes Bexley, Blacklick, Canal Winchester, Columbus, Delaware, Dublin, Gahanna, Galena, Galloway, Grandview, Grove City, Hilliard, Lewis Center, New Albany, Obetz, Pataskala, Pickerington, Powell, Reynoldsburg, Sunbury, Upper Arlington, Westerville, Whitehall, and Worthington.

Read more: Switching to a Gas or Electric Furnace - Pros, Cons & Costs

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Video Transcription

Switching from an electric furnace to a gas furnace is one of the easiest ways to see huge savings in your energy bills. In this video we’ll go over everything you need to know about converting to natural gas.

Hi, I’m Bryan from Fire & Ice. When it comes to HVAC there are two primary ways of heating your home: natural gas or electric heat.  Many of our customers here in Columbus Ohio use natural gas to heat their home. But there are some that still rely on electric furnaces and heat pumps during the winter months. In this video we’ll go over why you should and shouldn’t switch to natural gas, the process of converting, and the costs. By the end of this video, you’ll know if switching to natural gas is right for you.

Why Switch to a Gas Furnace?

Nearly half of the United States heat their homes with natural gas. If you live in the Northeast and Midwest that number is even higher. Why? The simplest answer is the cheaper utility cost. If you live in a colder climate and heat your home with an electric furnace or heat pump you are likely familiar with the high energy bills during the winter. In fact, it’s not uncommon for homeowners to see electric bills be $500 or more per month when heating their home with an electric furnace and heat pump. A high-efficiency gas furnace can make those utility bills significantly lower for many homes.

Why should you not Switch to Gas?

Heating your home with natural gas isn’t for everyone. The biggest reason not to switch to gas is because you don’t need it. If you live in warmer climates like in the Southeast, you can get away with relying on a heat pump and an electric furnace to heat your home.

Another reason not to switch to gas is you simply don’t have access to natural gas. Some homes here in Central Ohio were built in a time when the cost of gas was too expensive and not brought into the neighborhood. Fortunately, modern heat pumps and electric furnaces are able to keep homes comfortable even in the coldest temperatures.

Is your basement finished or is your current HVAC system in a hard-to-reach location? In these cases, it may not make sense, or it may be too difficult to switch to gas. Gas furnaces require gas lines and flues to be installed that run to exterior walls.

Lastly is the cost of converting to gas. While the potential cost savings of using gas to heat your home can be huge, the upfront investment can be a deterrent to some.

What are the steps to switch to natural gas?

So, what are the steps of switching? One of the best ways to start is to contact your local natural gas provider for availability in your area. The quickest and easiest way to see if natural gas is available is by looking at your neighbors. If you have neighbors with natural gas you likely will too. If gas is available, schedule an estimate with your local HVAC contractor. During your estimate your HVAC contractor will help determine which furnace will be best for you. At Fire & Ice our sales professionals will assess your current system, go over your comfort concerns, and go over all the options that meet your needs.

Another thing to consider are any electrical needs you may have. Gas furnaces require less power to run than electric furnaces and some electrical work is needed.  The most common form is switching the breaker from 220 to 120 when converting from an all-electric HVAC system or adding a new 120 breaker. Any electrical work should be done by a licensed electrician.

What occurs during a gas furnace installation?

Installing a new gas furnace in a home that has recently converted to natural gas involves several steps:

  • First, the gas line has been run from the street to the home and the gas meter placed.
  • Next, a new gas line will need to be run from the meter into your home to where the furnace is located. This work can be done by your local HVAC or plumbing contractor.
  • During the installation process the gas furnace will be attached to your current HVAC system and ductwork.
  • Next the furnace will be hooked up to the new gas line and the wiring to the thermostat and power will be completed.
  • One of the final steps requires the flues to be run from the furnace to the outside to vent the exhaust.
  • Once everything is hooked up, the gas lines will be tested for leaks. Afterwards, the furnace is turned on and commissioned to ensure everything is operating within manufacturer specifications.

How much does it cost to convert to Gas?

Now you're probably wondering, how much does all this cost? A new gas furnace can cost between $3,000 and $7,600. This can depend on the size of your home, the size and efficiency of the furnace, and its sophistication. At Fire & Ice all our prices include the cost of equipment, labor, and any additional fees.

The next thing to consider is the price of an air conditioner. It’s not uncommon to invest in a new air conditioner when converting to gas. New air conditioners can range between $4,200 and $12,000 depending on their size, efficiency, and level of complexity.

The final thing to consider are the costs for the electrical work and installation of the gas line running inside. The costs can vary from contractor to contractor but expect to pay between $300 and $600 for any electrical work and $1,500 and $3,000 for the gas line. These ranges are largely determined by the length of pipe and wiring needed for your home.

What are the next steps?

Let’s talk about what to do next. If you are in Central Ohio and are considering switching to natural gas, we’d love to help you and go over your options. To schedule a time to meet with one of our residential sales professionals click the link at the top of the page. Thank you for watching and we look forward to making your day better.

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