How to Troubleshoot a Propane Regulator

A propane regulator controls the circulation and flow of the gas while lowering the pressure of the propane and creating a safety barrier. This makes the regulator one of the most important parts of a propane tank. Troubleshooting a propane regulator will help to narrow down the exact issue with the regulator.

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Finding the problem with a propane regulator can keep your appliances running and your family happy.

Step 1

Mix the hand or dish-washing soap with water in a cup or bowl. Put on the goggles. Wearing eye protection is critical when working with a propane regulator. Pour the soapy mix over the regulator and hose. If the regulator or hose is leaking the soap will bubble up. Repair all leaks or replace the hose. The hoses and gas must be on at this point to test for leaks.

Step 2

Disconnect the main propane gas line or the line connecting the propane to the grill, appliance or house. Make sure the propane is completely off and let the air clear for one to two minutes before continuing.

Step 3

Unhook the hoses and examine the regulator for obstructions. Debris such as dirt, leaves or insects can clog regulators causing them to malfunction.

Step 4

Tap the regulator gently with a hammer of stick to clear away anything clogging the center vent hole. Spray the canned air down the vent chamber. This will dislodge any debris blocking the chamber.

Step 5

Open the regulator and inspect the O-ring that connects the regulator to the hose. If the O-ring is damaged or worn replace it with a new O-ring. Worn and damaged O-rings compromise the seal and allow gas to escape.

Step 6

Remove the pipe plug on the down stream side of the propane tank or valve. Plug the Manometer to the pressure tap on the regulator. Turn on the propane regulator. The manometer should read 11 inches of water. Almost all propane appliances and furnaces read 11 inches of water when in proper working condition. If the pressure of the propane is not high enough, the manometer will read lower than 11 inches. If the pressure is too high the manometer will read a number higher than 11 inches. Turn the gas off and open the plastic cap on the regulator. Inside the regulator is a plastic disk. Turn the plastic disk to adjust the pressure. Turning clockwise will increase pressure and vice versa. Test with the manometer again until the pressure is 11 inches.

Step 7

Reconnect the propane gas lines and turn the propane unit on. The propane regulator normally makes a hissing noise. If the tank is making unusual humming or vibrating noises, turn the brass regulator nut to the right or left until the noise stops. All regulators have rubber diaphragms inside them that vibrate or shake on extremely hot days or if the tank is over filled. If the rubber diaphragm is humming, releasing more gas can help get the level back to normal.