permanent connection of propane grill to city gas?

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Hi,
I'm sure that I just got poked in the no-no spot. SWMBO brought home some trout today and informed me that we would be grilling it later, would I please pick up a new propane tank? After visiting two Orange-Colored Stores and filling myself with the usual loathing and hatred of my fellow man (not even determining if they did, in fact, sell propane, as I wasn't able to accomplish my initial goal of finding some new watering cans, and wasn't able to find a sales associate to assist me - even after waiting at the service desk of the second store for a good ten minutes) I finally gave up and drove into Arlington to a small hardware store that I knew sold propane. I wanted to purchase a new tank, as I had only one and it was almost empty, I figured if I had two tanks then I wouldn't ever have to worry about running out and would also be able to get full use out of them and not have to return a tank with useful gas left in it for fear of running out mid-grill.
Well, first I was informed that the "quick disconnect" connector on my old tank was obsolete, so I could either get on a waiting list that they would call when they finally got some tanks in with quick disconnects, or else buy a new regulator/hose assembly for $20-something. So I bought the hose, because I figured if there was a waiting list now and the connector was obsolete, the situation was only going to get worse in the future. I didn't even ask how much the new tank was... it was *SEVENTY-FIVE DOLLARS!* Well, being the sort of guy that appreciates a good grilled trout, and not knowing anywhere else likely to be open on a Sunday that sold propane, I bought it, but I still feel vaguely violated.
So the question is kind of a two-parter. First, is it possible to convert an old Weber propane grill to safely operate on natural gas as delivered to one's house? If so, is it legal to pipe the gas outside the house, e.g. to a connection on an outside wall on the deck, so that I could hook up my grill to it?
thanks,
nate
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Nate Nagel wrote:

I look forward to the responses to this! Here in the UK, Nanny State Police would find so many ways to stop this plan, that you would never even consider it!
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Clot wrote:

I'm kind of suspecting that there's a Bad Idea somewhere in there, I just don't know exactly what it is yet. If it can be overcome, however, that would be a big savings because AFAIK an empty new tank is only about $25 meaning a refill at this store would have been about $50. That's a lot of dough! My monthly gas bill for everything - heating, water heater, stove, dryer, etc. - has never been over $200, ever.
nate
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Nate Nagel wrote:

I'm guessing, but you are talking about circa 50lb. gas tanks? We have a similar arrangement over here. I have 3 gas tanks - one propane and two butane that I use rarely. One Butane is used say 0 to 15 times a year for the BBQ and the others once a year for a local Lions Club MayDay Carnival - which is tomorrow!
Pre- planning is a good thing! I got hold of the 2 Burcos (large water boilers), cleaned them, sterilised the contents by boiling, but in the process found that the propane tank was empty! No problem, the two butane have enough gas, *ugger, where's the valve? Nicked the one from my BBQ. Changing that valve reduced my personal energy significantly!
Doug@s comment re the technical issue is right, you'll need different jets.
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It is a bad idea. Propane burns hotter than natural gas, so the orifices in the burners are different. The connectors are different too. You'll need a new grill to hook it up to gas. Or, -possibly- they sell conversion kits.
My Weber is nat. gas (was that way from the get-go, wheels and all) and hooked up via the supplied rubber hose to the gas pipe. I'm sure this is pretty common so there shouldn't be any code concerns there. Now, some cities ban the use of grills right next to the house.
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The age of the grill shouldn't matter. The only thing that is different is the jet orifice size and those are standard pipe thread in the US. Would its imagine the same in the UK. It's been a year or so since I hooked the last one up, but IIRC the flex hose just has standard flare connectors on both ends.

The only code concerns I recall is that a) you have to have a shutoff where the flex hose attaches to the house pipe, and b) that the grill not be located underneath any portion of the house overhang and that there was some minimum clearance between the grill and the house wall.
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Regulator is different also. Propane usually has about 11" WC while NG is about 4"
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Would you need a regulator separate from the one at the entrance to the house? Last one I did I went to a propane house supply so it didn't need a regulator as the whole house was already at the correct pressure. I would think that NG would be the same. The reason you have a regulator on the tank is because of the liquid to gas conversion in the tank.
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NOT a bad idea, it just has to be done properly and it is done every day. Most every brand has kits available for the change.
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Well the best answers likely are;
1) Call Weber and see what they say, or go to their web site. and 2) Call your local gas company to see what their rules are.
But if I understand correctly you cannot use natural gas in a propane grill. You would need a conversion kit of some kind.

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I figured that there would be a conversion kit involved, I guess my real question was more along the lines of which code governs residential gas delivery piping and what does it say about having an outdoor connection for portable appliances?
nate
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wrote:

I'm sure *that* is a no-no -- but if you take the wheels off and fasten the legs to the deck, it's no longer portable. Weber can tell you if there's a conversion kit available.
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Wheels "off" Not required here. Mine is on a 12' flexible rubber hose and still has the 4 wheels/casters on it so I can move it over when its time to hose down the deck.
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Connection to a natural gas supply via "a 12' flexible rubber hose" isn't a violation of the gas code where you live? Did you check??
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Around here there are many natural gas BBQ's hooked up to the natural gas supply to the house and the hookups were done by the gas company.
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Is that Arlington, TX?

Yes. You'll have to replace the orifice with one designed for natural gas.

Yes. You'll need an actual plumber, at least in North Texas. The gas company will cut off your gas, the new work will be done, and the gas company will do an inspection before they turn the gas back on. You might be able to get away with doing it yourself, but if you mess up, your insurance company probably won't cover it. If you hire a plumber, his insurance takes over.
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I will second the answers that Steve gave with the exceptions that here it is legal for the homeowner to do it in their personal residence.
The big gottcha is finding the proper orifice and you must have an internal and external shutoff here.
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Colbyt wrote:

To answer a couple questions in one post, I'm talking about Arlington, VA, and the tank in question that I spent so much money on is not a 50 lb deal but a standard 17 lb propane tank, hence my suspicion that the pricing is significantly higher than I'd spend if I simply used regular natural gas.
nate
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Those are 20 pound tanks and only the rip-off "exchange" places put 17 pounds in them. BlueRhino for one will even give you a tank that can not be refilled elsewhere. Sounds like "restraint of trade" to me but I just vote with my pocketbook by not buying their product.
If you can run your own line or have it done cheaply the NG will be far cheaper. Propane heat costs more here (KY) than electric does.
Ducane makes a convertible grill. Whether yours is or not can only be answered by the MFG.
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How do they enforce that? It's been a few years since I was forced to use them, but the last time I exchanged a tank it had the same valve as a standard tank and they plastered the "You Own It" banner all over the tank.
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