How to Install Natural Gas Line to Portable Generator

Portable generators are now available in different types. Away from gasoline and LPG fuels that are profound among genres of portable generators, the consumption of natural gas in the world is also fast-rising.

Natural gas doesn’t emit odor while it burns, though it has its distinct natural odor. Using a natural gas fuel is safer for the ecosystem than propane, which does quite the opposite when it’s burned as fuel.

Natural gas is known as methane; it produces low nitrogen and sulfur emissions. Meanwhile, portable generators that run on natural gas have the inlet valve. So, identifying it shouldn’t be so difficult at all.

In fact, the entire structure of portable natural gas generators is the same as that of portable generators that use gasoline. It’s one’s duty to identify this nuance before proceeding.

Notwithstanding, there are two ways to use natural gas fuel for your natural gas generator. Buy a natural gas cylinder or run a gas line from the main supply line into your generator.

Whichever means you imbibe, natural gas is safer to store than gasoline. Besides, natural gas is not as flammable as propane, so it’s a pretty choice to use it domestically.

After all, you can just learn How to Install Natural Gas Line to Portable Generators with this article if you’re not opting for the other option. So, let’s now get down to the bottom line of this subject matter below.

How to Install Natural Gas Line to a Portable Generator? 4 Steps To Follow

1. Required Equipment   

The natural gas’ piping to the generator can be of any distance. The piping that runs from the supply source to the generator’s valve often has a 1inch orifice. You could use a 0.5inch thick pipe for the generator also. You can hire the service of a licensed plumber to run the estimation.

However, you can use the manual to learn about the recommended diameter of the pipe that will work best for your generator with the corresponding pressure. A wrench, sockets, and screwdrivers are required. The pipe cap and the shutoff valve with the tee are also required.

2. Preparation:

Determining the Size of Pipe: The kilowatt a generator has would determine the size of pipe to feature. Although some manufacturers state that on the manual, factors that determine the size are the distance of the fuel from the supply source and the pressure rate it could run.

Fixing the Shutoff Valve: It doesn’t matter whether you’re using an angle, elbow, or tee pipe; you can always fix the shutoff valve on one end while you cap the other end. Screwing the shutoff from the linings of one tube to the other can be done manually.

Calculations for Coupling: While running your estimations on the dimension, always add 2.5ft to the length of the pipe if you intend to add a transitional edge such as the tee, elbow, and angle. This would aid you in hitting the precision.

Flexible Pipe and Gas Fitting Pipe: The size of the valve inlet doesn’t literally determine the extent of pipe to use but the wattage output. Portable generators with large engines generate massive wattage in most cases. Therefore, a flexible tube stands as the intermediary between the gas-fitting pipe that runs directly into the generator and the tube running from the supply source. Nonetheless, AGAapproved pipes are recommended in the US.

Reinforcing Rod: You would need this if the distance of the supply source is pretty long from the generator. It’s optional with natural gas anyways because it is lighter than air. It prevents the pipe from sagging as a result of the moving gas.

3. Installing the Gas Line from the Generator to the Supply Source

  • The factors that affect the movement of the needed amount of natural gas from the source to the generator’s inlet are the distance and the corresponding pressure. The fuel will be released from the source at high pressure, but there would have to be breakages in order to reduce the pressure rate.
  • At every breakage in the connection, there is either an angle or elbow that’s connected with regulators, such as shutoff, which is used to control the pressure rate.
  • Use the rubber mounts to the connection point of each side of the pipes before attaching another tube to the new end. You might need to start the fixation from the pipe nipple straight to the supply source.
  • Use the wrenches to tighten the pipes onto one another absolutely. Use a clamp to hold the breadth and edges of the tube to the rods. At least, this is to reinforce its steadfastness.
  • You can move on to the next step once you’re done.

4. Testing the Installation

You can check the manual of your portable generator to understand the designated port for fuel testing pressure. Using a manometer to check out the pressure rate would enable you to adjust the pipe’s stress as you can. Check the reading to see if you’ve met the mark. You might need a leak test fluid to know if the connections you made were lucid. Apply the fluid on every connection point to see if there is a leakage in any form. If there is any, correct it by reinforcing the tights.

Can You Hook Up a Generator to a Natural Gas Line?

Yes, you can. However, an empirical acknowledgment must be that your generator uses natural gas as fuel. There must be a valve that reveals it is. Though some generators use LPG fuels, one has to be sure that one’s generator uses natural gas before building a natural gas line. A conversion kit will be needed if it uses gasoline also.

What Size Natural Gas Line Do I Need for Portable Generator?

The size of the natural gas line is fathomed technically by the wattage the generator generates. The manufacturer on the manual should identify the corresponding pressure range. A 1inch thick pipe could go with a 6’ pipe that produces 15kw of power. Nevertheless, the minimum distance from the rear obstruction should be put under consideration when calculating.

How Much Does it Cost to Run a Gas Line for a Generator?

If one uses the generator in different phases of the home aside from the generator, then this development will be valuable to employ. It saves stress and further expenses on maintenance. It costs less than $5000, though the material and the distance from the supply source are notable factors to consider.

What Kind of Pipe is Used for Natural Gas?

Natural gas is lighter than air. You can use copper pipes, PVC, and trac. Their respective vulnerability and reactions to pressure and corrosion all define their significance. Steel pipes are preferred for short piping, but copper pipes have the edge over when it comes to temporary and short-distance installation.

Hoses are great for indoors and not outdoors, except vent them for air permeability and pressure enhancement before using them. In a nutshell, the circumstance surrounding the connection of the gas line to the generator would determine the type of pipe suitable for the installation.

Can You Use PEX for Natural Gas Line?

Yes, it can. And it is great because it prevents the odor of methane from flaring. But, where you want to install the line matters. Cross-linked Polyethylene is known as PEX. Water spoils it. Therefore, using it as the gas line to transport natural gas to the generator could be imperfect. PE, Polyethylene, is a perfect replacement. It could convey gases in the wet region likewise.

Final Words

You can now go ahead and install your natural gas line. You can use this article to install your portable generator indoors and outdoors. The manometer and the leaking fluid test should be used to find out the result of the exercise. Find out the zoning code for your region to know the kind of pipe that you’re allowed to use. It would be better to hire the assistance of a licensed plumber if you’re a hundred percent newbie.