The majority of homes and businesses in the US use natural gas for cooking and other purposes in their daily lives. Natural gas is the most abundant and common source of fossil fuel, so it makes sense that most people will be using it. There are many components to a natural gas grill that you need to think about. When installing a natural gas grill, most homeowners don’t realize the importance of choosing the right size orifice for their gas grill.
So what size orifice for the natural gas grill do I need to use or install? The orifice is such a small part of the natural gas grill that it remains overlooked. It is probably the most important part because it is the delivery system of gas for your grill! Depending on the number of family members and the size of your home, the wrong-sized orifice can spell disaster. To avoid this common mistake, here’s everything you need to know.
- The right size for a natural gas grill orifice depends on the type of appliance it’s being installed with.
- There are 75 orifice drill sizes for natural gas grills.
- Installing an orifice meter is important so that you can measure and ensure the correct flow rate is being delivered to your gas grill.
- Propane gas grills can be converted to natural gas grills.
What is a Natural Gas Grill?
The most common type of gas grill installation in most homes in America, natural gas grills are connected to the main gas line so that you can have an uninterrupted supply of gas, ensuring you never run out of it while cooking a delicious meal. While it has long-term benefits, it has some drawbacks as well.
The first major drawback of a natural gas grill is its pricing. Installing a natural gas grill in your home or apartment can be quite expensive considering the installation fees and labor costs. Natural gas grill installation is a very sensitive and dangerous job, so you’ll need to hire licensed and qualified technicians to do the job for you.
The second major drawback is the degrading parts, but compared to the initial setup cost, replacing them is peanuts in comparison. But these drawbacks are nothing compared to the long-term benefits you’re going to enjoy for decades to come.
Which is the Best Orifice Size for Natural Gas Grill?
When it comes to choosing the right sized orifice for your natural gas grill, there are a couple of factors you need to consider. These are:
- The appliance type
- The gas pressure of your gas lines
- The BTU rating of the appliance
As a rule of thumb, the orifice size for a natural gas grill is printed on the package or the drilling point of the appliance. If you can’t seem to find one, then get in touch with the manufacturer to know the exact details. Alternatively, your installer can figure it out as well if they have enough experience with it.
Most kitchen appliance orifice requirements range between 0.5-0.7 inches in diameter, but they can also be bigger or smaller. In case you didn’t, you can’t operate a kitchen stove without drilling an orifice and connecting with a gas source first.
For the average kitchen stove, you need a minimum of 40,000 BTU per hour of gas pressure to operate properly, which means you need an orifice size of 0.125 inches (drill size 35). Depending on what type of pilot is being installed for the stove, the pilot orifice might range between 0.015 and 1.95 inches.
To put it plain and simple, there is no ‘correct orifice size’ for natural gas grills, the best size depends on the kitchen appliance you’re installing. Usually, the standard orifice is large enough to supply 40000 BTUs per hour, but it can go up even more if the kitchen appliance is of a high-end model capable of handling more temperature.
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Using An Orifice Meter With Your Natural Gas Grill
You might not really know about this but knowing the flow rate of gas in your gas grill is very important. That is why having an orifice meter is important. There are also other importance to having an orifice meter for your natural gas grill and here are some of the ones you should know about.
- Keeping records: the last thing that you want is to use too much gas for cooking. The orifice meter can give you the reading that you can keep track of so you know that your gas bill is correct when you get an absurd amount. Some are even hooked to plants so they are able to get accurate readings of how much gas you are using up.
- For difficult circumstances: it can help regulate your gas flow rate over various ranges and warn you if the flow rate is too low or too high.
- Low maintenance: it is cost-effective and requires very low maintenance. All you need to do is just install it once and don’t have to worry about it again unless it breaks.
- Less space: if you are worried about space then you don’t have to worry about it! The orifice meter can be put in either a horizontal or vertical orientation and takes up a minimal amount of space.
You are getting all of this for a meter that just might be able to help regulate how much gas you are using and make sure that the flow rate is at the optimal rate for the natural gas grill! That is why it is important to have one so you cook your meat without having to worry about too much gas being used up.
Propane Orifice and Gas Orifice
The difference between propane and gas orifices mainly boils down to the pressure each type can handle. The orifices for both propane and natural gas are drilled with the same measurements that are numbered from 75 to 1. The smallest orifice is 3/64th of an inch while the largest one is 1/4th of an inch. The amount of pressure that is propelled into your grill system is determined by these orifices.
Even with the smallest drill size of 75, the BTU (British Thermal Unit) difference between propane and natural gas pressure is 1,400 BTUs per hour and 3000 BTUs per hour, which is a significant difference.
This means propane gas has higher pressure than natural gas, requiring natural gas grills to have bigger orifices than propane ones. Unlike the controlled way propane gas pressure can be chosen, natural gas comes directly from the pipes running underneath the ground, requiring a bigger orifice to handle the lower pressure.
Difference Between Propane And Natural Gas Grill Orifices
The first key difference between propane and natural gas grill orifices is pressure. Propane gas is pressurized because it has to be compressed to fit in the tank, while natural gas has much lower pressure as it’s delivered through gas lines.
The second key difference is where the gas is delivered through the orifices. In the case of propane gas, since the pressure is high it’s indirectly supplied to the burner after going through the orifice since directly supplying it can cause a fire hazard. On the other hand, natural gas is directly supplied to the burner due to the low pressure.
Converting a Propane Grill to Natural Gas
It’s important to understand that under no circumstances should you try switching between gas options just because the orifice size matches your kitchen appliance. Appliances and the orifices drilled into them are made with a particular type of gas usage in mind, and without proper conversion can cause a major accident.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t convert from a propane grill to natural gas. It depends a bit on luck as some conversion kits are compatible with certain appliances while others or not. Whatever the case might be, you should let a professional handyman do the conversion instead of doing it yourself.
The risks involved with making one mistake in the conversion process can be very dangerous, if not catastrophic, so make sure to have a professional do the job for you.
1. Do natural gas and propane gas kitchen equipment look the same?
On the outside, yes, they do look the same. The differences lie in the internal mechanism which determines what gas type it uses.
2. Can I drill the orifice for the natural gas grill myself?
You can, but it’s highly unadvised. The risk of making a mistake is too big unless you’re a handyman or kitchen installation expert yourself.
3. Are natural gas grills cheaper than propane gas grills?
In the short-term no, the upfront expenses can be sizable for natural gas grills. But in the long term, they can end up being cheaper than propane.
4. Is there a BTU and orifice size guide?
Yes, there is. Click here to see.
At the end of the day, there’s no right answer to what is the right sized orifice for a natural gas grill. It all depends on your setup and how much are you willing to spend on it. The most important thing is to have a properly certified professional to handle the job as the slightest mistake in the orifice size is a disaster waiting to happen in your kitchen. Along with that, make sure to install an orifice meter for your natural gas grill to ensure you are getting the proper flow rate for the grill so that you are cooking at optimal conditions.
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I am Donald M. Beyer and I am backyard enthusiasts. I am a homeowner who has been doing DIY projects in and out of my house for many years. From simple backyard lunches to making an old-school pizza oven in my own backyard, I have a lot of experience in turning my backyard into my and my family’s personal playground.