Converting From One Heating Source To Another: What To Expect, Based On Your Original Heat Source

Posted on: 6 January 2018

Making the decision to convert from one heating fuel source to another is a big deal. Some conversions are easier to make than others. Regardless of which heating fuel source you start with, you are going to need a plumbing contractor and an HVAC contractor to do all of the pipe switching and equipment removals. Here is what you can expect to happen, based on the heat source you start with, to the heat source to which you want to convert.

Oil to Gas Line Installation

First and foremost, your oil tank needs to be entirely empty. You cannot have any fuel left in the oil tank, as it will leak out everywhere when the plumber the HVAC contractors attempt to remove it. If you are going to convert an oil heating system, it is best done in the spring, after you have used up all of your oil in your heating tank. The oil tank is removed after it is disconnected from the gas line pipes. Then the gas line and gas delivery system are removed, followed by your oil-burning furnace. 

After making sure there are no large drops of oil anywhere near the furnace, the gas furnace is installed. The gas line plumbing is installed next, followed by the gas tanks and gas delivery lines. (Because propane and natural gas are both burned by an open flame, residual oil cannot remain. It is a safety issue.) After the plumber and HVAC contractors have checked the lines and delivery system for leaks and secured everything, they switch on the gas furnace and let it run for a little while to make sure everything is operating properly. Then you are ready to go.

 Converting from Gas or Oil to Electric, or Vice Versa

When you want to convert to electricity as your main energy source for heating, your entire heating system has to be gutted. An electrical furnace operates in a very different way than gas or oil. After the plumber and HVAC contractors remove your entire heating system, they are ready to install the electrical furnace.

Thankfully, the plumber's job is complete at this point, and the plumbing contractor takes over. The electrical furnace is connected to your home's fuse box and to the thermostat. Then it is switched on, and the conversion is complete. The reverse process (i.e., from electric to gas or oil) requires a similar gutting process, but lots of additional steps to install the oil or gas delivery systems.