There are many compelling reasons to convert your home to natural gas. Natural gas burns fast and clean, and can save you some serious cash on your energy bills, especially as compared to electric or oil heat. With a little planning, you can easily make the switch – just follow our step by step guide below.
Plan ahead and get permission
Contact your local utility company to confirm that natural gas is available in your area and check to see if there are any costs to set up the service. In most cases, the service line is installed free of charge, but you’ll want to double check with the utility company to see if they will need to obtain any permits for the gas service line for work outside of your home. There may be street permit fees that you are responsible for, but your heating contractor will be responsible for obtaining any necessary permits for the equipment and gas line inside your home.
Your utility company will select the best route for the new gas service line to your house and the meter’s location. They will make painted marks on or near your property, identifying the water, phone, sewer and electrical lines and the street gas main.
Before the service is installed, it is your responsibility to mark where underground sprinklers, septic and oil tanks will live. The utility crew will install the service line from the street to your home. If digging is required, remember to confirm that the crew will fill in the holes, but be aware that this does not mean they are responsible for restoring your lawn or for any landscaping that could be disrupted.
Choose the right Pro
When choosing who will install your new gas and water heater, make sure you check for HVAC expertise and identify whether or not the professional is licensed, bonded and insured. Ask for references from former customers – be sure to check them. Also check if they will both install and service the equipment and provide 24-hour emergency service.
Pick the right equipment
When shopping for your new gas furnace and water heater, first make sure you ask your local utility company if they have rebates. Like anything, it is best to shop around and compare prices. You may want to consider a combination system for heating and cooling, which will save space in your home, too.
Make sure you do a heat-loss analysis with your Pro by measuring your home to determine the appropriate furnace size. You should also assess whether your heat delivery system is in good working order and is adequate for your heating or cooling needs. Quality equipment should last for years; be sure you have a warranty from the manufacturer and/or contractor.
Before you sign, obtain a written proposal that clearly outlines the work to be done and the agreed upon price. Make sure you read the contract and ask questions about anything you do not understand. Finally, ask how long you have to cancel the contract, and what the costs or penalties are for doing so.
Complete the inspection process
When installation is complete, your heating contractor is required to perform pressure tests on your house line. If the house line passes the pressure test, an inspector will approve it, which is sometimes called “green tagging.” This step must be completed before your utility company can activate your meter. Usually a final inspection of the gas equipment is also required.