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Question DetailsAsked on 1/12/2018

Can any one provide a range of cost for a conversion from oil to Natural Gas on 6 unit apartment. 16K SF.

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Depends of course on your specific situation - whether you already have natural gas service to the building or not and whether there is a substantial connection fee (which is sometimes totally out of proportion to the actual cost of the hookup, especailly commonly with government-owned utilites which are being milked for government revenue), whether it is piped into the building already, whether you have separate boiler/furnace and water heater or combined hot water system, whether you are adding runs to each unit for range and clothes dryer (and maybe fireplace), whether it has one central heating and hot water plant or separate ones for each unit, etc.

Just off the cuff, for the gas supply installation and piping I would be figuring in the VERY ROUGHLY ballpark of a couple thousand or three for heating system gas supply only (assuming running gas pipes around the outside of the building or through exposed ceiling joists in crawlspace or basement, NOT inside finished walls). If having to imbed the piping in finished walls that number can quickly double or so after the repairs. Adding in lines for ranges and dryers could easily add $500-2000 per unit depending on ease of running the lines and amount of drywall repair and repainting needed after running the lines. Obviously, in areas allowing flexible plastic or plastic-coated stainless flex tubing for interior gas runs (though I do not really trust those myself) your cost would be less than in areas requiring rigid metal pipe. BTW- one emphatic recommendation - do NOT go with copper pipe even if allowed for gas in your area - if they require rigid metal pipe, use "black iron" (whcih is actually a type of steel pipe) for long life, because copper corrodes out quickly if you get some "wet" gas with water or hydrogen sulfide coming through, or if your utility uses a sulfur-based odorant, which is common. Ditto to unlined galvanized steel which some areas still allow.

This would be in addition to any utility "capital cost" connection fee (commonly $500-2000) or extra long supply line installation fee from the street (typically charged for over 50 feet or so run), also assuming you do not have to pay for the main meter/regulator(s). If they charge for those, could run another $1000 ballpark for a whole-building one or around $500 each for banked meters (one for each unit).

If converting units from oil to gas, assuming there are conversion kits for your units, the following previous questions on that should put you in the range. I would figure converting a single larger whole-building unit cost at maybe 2-3 times a single unit cost. And of course, if doing 6 separate heating units (or 12 including boiler/furnace and water heater) the total cost should be probably 20-25% less than 6 times the cost of a single unit conversion, assuming all are done at the same time.

Of course, if the conversion kit installed cost is high relative to the remaining value of the heating appliances you may be into new units - which for individual apartment units can run on the ballpark of $6-10,000 plus or minus per living unit (either water heater plus boiler/furnace or combined domestic and hydronic heating unit), or commonly in the $15-30,000 range for a 6-plex central heating system - hot water and building heat both. This assumes of course that the water piping / ducting that is there now is reused as-is.

Plus of course you have the oil tank and piping abandonment - which can run from $500-1000 in a simplest above-ground case (single tank of less than say 500-600 gallons), more in the $1000-2500 range for larger surface and for underground tanks including a bit of oily dirt cleanup, and from there on up if your tank(s) have leaked in the past - sometimes into the hundreds of thousands with long-term substantial leaks which have reached the groundwater or have spread off-property.

For this size job, you should definitely get at least responsive 3 bids from Heating and A/C contractors who have done this many times before both so you get a decent price, and also so you don't have a half dozen mad tenants on your back if the job goes south and gets stalled in mid-job or the conversions have problems. For the latter reason and to prevent against freezing pipes if there is a holdup somewhere, be sure the gas service to the building and piping to the appliances is completed and tested BEFORE the unit conversions are started. I would also, unless there is some urgency on this, wait till warm weather to do this so you don't have a major problem if the area heating units are out for a period of time.

Answered 2 years ago by LCD

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