Four warning signs you need a new regulator on an LP system
LP Gas regulators are the heart of any propane gas system, keep it running smoothly and safely.
by Gary Lieb
The propane gas regulator is one of the most important components of a propane gas system. The purpose of the regulator is to control the flow of gas and lower the pressure from the LP Gas tank to the appliance(s) in the gas system. The regulator not only acts as a control regarding the flow and distribution of propane but also as a safety barrier between the high pressure of the tank and the end use appliance(s). Most will rightfully argue that the LP Gas regulator is the heart of any propane gas system. Sometimes a regulator needs to be replaced to keep everything running smoothly and safely. Here are four signs that it may be time to replace an LP Gas Regulator:
1. Incomplete Combustion
When propane burns improperly, it is called incomplete combustion. You can tell if this problem is occurring by the height and color of the tank’s flame. When the regulator is working correctly and the propane-fueled appliance is adjusted, the flame should be blue and evenly dispersed around the burner. If there are yellow or orange flames, there is likely a problem with the regulator. Other signs of incomplete combustion include soot deposits on the burner and popping sounds when the tank turns on and off.
2. You Smell Gas
Propane has a distinct scent. If you ever smell it, there is a leak somewhere. Leaks can occur in any part of the propane system, including the regulator. Gas leaks from the regulator often occur in the diaphragm, a flexible disc that reacts to changes in pressure and adjusts the flow of gas accordingly. It works together with the regulator vent, which allows the diaphragm to move up and down. If you smell propane coming out of the vent, there is likely an issue with the diaphragm and the regulator should be replaced.
3. The Regulator Has Been Submerged in Water
Any time a propane regulator has been underwater, it needs immediate replacement. The water allows chemicals and debris to enter the regulator spring area, which can lead to corrosion and failure. Though it may seem undamaged at first, the equipment will unevenly disperse the gas through the appliance and lower its efficiency.
All regulators have a date code and should be changed out according to manufacturer specifications.
One very important fact to point out is that although propane regulators may be adjusted by licensed propane professionals, they are not repaired or subject to repair. They must be replaced.