How We Switched to All Gas in a Day
Gas Hot Water, Heating & Cooking All in One Day
My wife and a leaking electric hot water tank finally got me to stop procrastinating and install LPG gas on our home.
At one fell swoop, we got gas hot water, cooking and heating.
Here is the amazing part:
It was all done in only about six hours!
The Background Story
We moved a couple of years ago into an older home that was all electric.
From the even before we moved in, gas cooking was on the top of my wife’s “honey do list”.
Being the great procrastinator that I am, I didn’t rush to get it done.
However, when the hot water tank started leaking, your hero in this story — that’s me — finally swung into action!
Choosing Our Gas Fitter
Actually, our gas fitter, Michael Neilsen, was the real hero of this story.
He was very professional, including coordinating with an electrician and our gas supplier.
We did get two quotes and they were both very similar.
We chose Michael, of Hawkesbury Gas, because he actually came to the house to do our quote, whilst the other gent did it all by phone and email.
I also really liked the fact that his quote was all inclusive, with no extras.
Choosing Our Gas Appliances
You might be wondering:
For heating we chose a portable 25MJ heater from Rinnai.
The gas hot water heater was also a Rinnai — a 6.1 Star 26L/min continuous flow model.
The cooktop was an Amica 60cm stainless steel gas cooktop with cast iron trivets.
These are all readily available through online stores or at quality gas appliance retailers.
We purchased all of the appliances before the installation date, so they were ready to go on installation day.
Installing the Gas Bottles went Quickly
We went with the standard two 45kg gas bottle setup.
I opted for an automatic changeover valve, so we would never need to manually switch over the gas bottles.
Automatic changeover valves have a visual indicator which typically turns red when the first bottle is empty.
That's your signal to call for delivery of another bottle.
Something to remember:
For most people, checking the bottles once a month will do the job.
As part of his quote, Michael supplied everything that was needed including the pre-cast concrete pads, gas regulator, heater bayonet, changeover valve, pigtails and all of the copper pipe work — everything.
He installed the gas bottles on the same wall as the hot water heater and right near the kitchen, so it was a short pipe run to the cooktop.
It was also about as close as he could get to where the bayonet needed to be installed.
All in all, Michael did a great job of minimising the gas piping runs and the associated expense.
Gas Heating for Easy & Real Warmth
We live in the Blue Mountains where it can get very cold in winter.
When we moved in, the house had both a slow combustion wood heater and reverse cycle heating (electric heat pump).
We live up a hill from our garage area, where we stored our firewood.
Hauling the wood up 26 stairs, to the house, was far from convenient.
The split wood was also expensive to buy.
After two season of stacking, hauling up stairs and paying for wood, my wallet and my back decided that enough was enough.
Then there was the reverse cycle heating...
We have two of the split system units, one at each end of the house.
The problem was that the heat pumps simply couldn’t cope with the low temperatures.
They took forever to heat up the house and even then the air that came out felt cold.
The answer to our problem was obvious:
We needed gas heating.
We opted to get a Rinnai Avenger 25MJ LPG heater.
It is a portable convection heater with 6.2kW of output, so more than enough to heat the main area of our home.
Our gas fitter only needed to run about 4m of pipe under the house to install the bayonet on an interior wall of the living room.
We just need to place the heater and connect the hose to the bayonet and the cord to a power point.
Best of all... You really feel warm.
Gas Hot Water that Doesn't Run Out
The old electric hot water tank that was leaking was a massive unit, as it was set to run on off-peak only.
Even as large as it was, we would occasionally run out of hot water during the day.
My wife was seriously unimpressed, as she was always the one home when it happened.
We’d previously had a continuous flow gas hot water heater, on a former residence, and really loved it.
So, it was almost a given that we would go with that option, especially since the newer models we were looking at had 6 Star energy ratings.
The best hot water tanks are only 4 or 5 Stars.
But what size hot water heater?
We only have two showers in our home and both have water saver showerheads.
When I calculated the hot water heater sizing, we could have gone with as small as a 16L/min unit but we opted for the bigger 26L/min model because we are on tank water and the incoming water can get very cold.
We needed to take this into account, as cold climates can affect hot water heater sizing.
Michael installed the unit on the wall, above where the old tank was previously located.
As the new unit was factory pre-set at 50°C, no tempering valve was required.
There was a small amount of electrical work that needed to be done, for the changeover from electric to gas, but it took the electrician less than an hour.
Michael had arranged for the electrician to be there at the appropriate time.
This was included in the installation quote.
Finally, Michael hauled away the behemoth that was our old hot water heater.
Gas Cooking for My Wife - The Chef
Last, but not least, we installed a gas cooktop, the part of the project my wife most wanted.
We previously had a glass surface electric cooktop that took forever to heat things up and even then it struggled with large pots full of liquid.
It was also difficult to control temperature, as it responded slowly to control changes.
About two years earlier we had installed new kitchen countertops.
So, it was very important that the new gas cooktop fit into the existing cut-out with little or no trimming of the countertop.
The Amica cooktop that we chose fit the existing opening like a glove, with no cutting required.
Michael installed a short run of gas piping plus another small bit of work by the electrician and we were good to go.
The new gas cooktop heats even the very full pots quite quickly.
It also lets you change the temperature almost instantly, so no more overcooking or the need to take a pan off of the burner to keep something from burning.
"The Chef" loves it.
The Happy Ending
Michael, the gas fitter, started at around 9am and was finished at about 3pm.
When he was done, everything worked perfectly, there was absolutely no mess to clean up and no extras to pay.
Want to know the best part?
The best part was that it was amazingly affordable.
Not counting the cost of the appliances themselves, the installation of the gas bottles and the supply of the fittings, gas pipes, water plumbing work, connections of the three appliances and all required electrical work was only $1050!
Oh, and my wife is very happy, too!
Comments, questions or feedback?
The information in this article is derived from various sources and is believed to be correct at the time of publication. However, the information may not be error free and may not be applicable in all circumstances.