Gas conversion requests likely to spike3/12/2013
A dramatic drop in cost of converting homes to natural gas heat should generate lots of business for Halifax-area licensed installers in the coming months.
However, an official with the province’s lone distributor of the only approved technology said Monday consumers should prepare for a highly regulated process and at least two inspections during the conversion.
“The technology is currently installed in about 70,000 homes in New England and is safe, effective and affordable,” Conrad Coughlan, general manager of MBS Distribution Sales and Leasing Ltd. in Halifax, said in an interview.
There are about 7,000 potential Heritage Gas customers in Halifax Regional Municipality that may seek to connect now that the cost has dropped, he said.
“Homeowners should not assume they qualify for conversion until a licensed technician inspects their furnace,” Coughlan said. “This is natural gas and every step of the conversion process will be highly regulated.”
The cost of converting to natural gas dropped to about $4,000 last week from almost $15,000 when the province announced approval of a particular style of natural gas converter for oil-fired hot-water and forced air heating systems.
Regulations previously required replacement of the entire home furnace when converting to natural gas.
MBS Distribution, an affiliate of Metro Burner Service Ltd. in Halifax, is the exclusive distributor of the Carlin EZ-Gas Burner, which the province approved last week for use in natural gas conversions.
“This is the only system that meets the new provincial requirements,” Coughlan said. “The requirements were worked out in close consultation with the province’s fuel safety section.”
Officials with Heritage Gas and Carlin Combustion Technologies, the manufacturer of the device, also collaborated in establishing the new provincial standard, he said.
Coughlan said cost benefits of converting from oil to natural gas have been demonstrated frequently in the commercial sector, with savings in energy costs of 60 per cent.
Some businesses and institutions reported paybacks on the cost of conversion in about 18 months, he said.
An assortment of home heating companies will eventually be licensed to install the Carlin EZ-Gas Burner. Details are available from MBS Distribution, Heritage Gas and the province’s fuel-safety section at Service Nova Scotia.
(The Chronicle Herald)