How to Repair a Barbecue Propane Regulator

Though your propane grill may seem like a fairly simple appliance, it's comprised of a variety of components. Problems with any of these can cause cooking malfunctions or dangerous misuse. Propane grills rely on a regulator to supply fuel consistently from the tank to the grill and its burners. If the regulator malfunctions, basic troubleshooting and repairs or replacement can be conducted at home.

Man cooking meat steaks on professional grill outdoors
credit: Milkos/iStock/GettyImages
How to Repair a Barbecue Propane Regulator

Before You Begin

Before you begin to troubleshoot your faulty propane regulator, be sure you know how to do so safely. You should first check to be certain the grill is completely off. Then, close the valve on the propane tank. For your protection, you should wear gloves and safety goggles during all testing and repairs.

Troubleshooting Your Propane Regulator

To troubleshoot your propane regulator, first check the grill, tubes and tank valves for debris or dirt that might be causing a malfunction. In addition, any holes or dents might be the source of leaks. When cleaning debris or checking for holes, don't use abrasive sponges or cloths, as they may damage the surface.

Next, check for leaks. This can be done using a simple mixture of water and liquid detergent. Apply a small amount of this solution to the propane regulator using a soft-bristled brush or a spray bottle. Be sure the soapy water covers the entire regulator, including where the hoses connect. Slowly turn on the gas. If small bubbles appear in the solution, the regulator may be leaking. Try tightening the connections and then repeating the test. If you observe bubbling again, you'll need to replace the regulator. Note that this leak test can be used on tank hoses or the tank itself, as well.

If there's nothing visibly wrong with the regulator, you should try tightening it. Sometimes it may slip up, which can cause problems. Using your hand, tighten the nut against the regulator, but be sure not to overtighten it.

Replacing Your Propane Regulator

Replacement of the regulator is generally advisable, as opposed to repairing it. This is because do-it-yourself efforts may not be conducted properly, which can lead to malfunctions or fires. Home improvement stores should sell replacement parts. If not, contact the manufacturer to order a new regulator.

Before replacing the propane regulator, shut off the gas supply by being sure the propane tank valve is completely closed. Next, remove the regulator hose from the tank by turning it to the left until it comes free. Then, remove the cotter pin and release the regulator from the grill. Remove the pressure regulator assembly and set it aside.

Install the new pressure regulator by cleaning the fitting with a soft cloth, then reassembling the regulator hose and reattaching it to the propane tank. Be sure all connections are turned tightly.

Carefully reopen the valve on the propane tank and use the above-outlined leak test to ensure that all connections are now tight and secure. If bubbles appear during the test, you'll need to retighten the valve on the propane tank and troubleshoot. If there are no leaks, you're free to use your repaired grill.