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I've seen a lot of cooktops, some rated to be used with LPG (liquid gas or propane) and others with natural gas. Some companies have 2 models of the same design (one for LPG and one for natural gas).

What is the difference between the two? is it just the connector type or is it a different design of the cooktop burner itself? Is it possible to 'convert' an LPG cooktop to natural gas (and vise versa) or is it a completely different design and there is no point in trying to convert?

  • Connector type, and different gas orifice. (Someone else should add the details.) – Daniel Griscom Jun 13 '16 at 15:47
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Both systems operate at different pressures. Depending on the appliance, there could be different orifices, burners, regulators, and fittings.

Depending on the appliance, a conversion kit may be available from the manufacturer. Though some appliances may not be convertible. Even with a conversion kit, it may be cost prohibitive to convert some appliances.

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    For the range we installed at my parent's house, it was less than $200 to covert a natural gas appliance to propane. It was just a regulator and burner venturi. Pretty straight forward. It was special order only though. I believe it was LG. – BrownRedHawk Jun 13 '16 at 20:31
  • The last two ranges (stove +oven unit) we bought, both GE, came with the conversion nozzles & built-in flow control points for switching fuel type. My impression was that most of the other well-known name brands did the same. – Carl Witthoft Jun 14 '16 at 15:18
  • @CarlWitthoft While that may be true of ranges, it may not hold true with other appliances. I tried to make my answer more broad to include all appliances, since a fuel change will likely impact more than just a range. – Tester101 Jun 14 '16 at 16:09
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One major difference between the two is energy density. LPG (mostly propane and butane but also contains a significant amount of other stuff) has about 2.4x the energy as natural gas (mostly methane, but ethane and propane are also present). So, you should consider that along with the cost. If you can get natural gas for about 2.4 less (price-wise) per volume (not by pound) then you will save money. Generally, fuels are cost competetive.

One cubic foot of natural gas contains about 1,025 - 1,050 BTUs

One cubic foot of LP gas contains about 2,400 - 2,500 BTUs

However, there is a particular drawback with LPG- you need to be sure to check and clean out the evaporator/vaporizer/regulator regularly. In my humble experience, they get gunked up and stop working.

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Natural gas is not as oily/gunky and generally requires less maintenance.

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