Is it Necessary to Have a Regulator on a Propane Heater?
Propane heaters, available in a variety of sizes and types, use refillable tanks of propane gas instead of electricity or other sources of energy. The heaters contain an On/Off switch and a safety component that automatically shuts off the units in the event of a problem. Propane heaters, like propane grills and stoves, also contain and require a pressure regulator that interfaces between the propane tank and the heating elements of the heater.
A propane heater needs a pressure regulator to control the amount of propane flowing into the heater. Without a regulator, too much propane can flow into the heater and cause an explosion. The regulator contains a diaphragm that releases the propane into the heater. The regulator also contains a pressure relief valve that keeps propane vapors inside the tank from building up and exploding inside the tank as well as within the regulator itself.
In addition to a pressure relief valve, a propane pressure regulator contains a vent that lets air flow into the regulator. The vent works with the relief valve to reduce pressure buildup.
The regulator is specific to the propane heater you have and is not compatible with another device such as a propane grill. Before connecting the pressure regulator to the propane heater, blow out the fuel line between the heater and pressure regulator with an air gun or compressed air. This blow-out process removes any debris and reduces the chance of the regulator failing and an explosion occurring.
Removal of the Regulator
You should only remove the regulator to replace or refill the propane fuel tank. You should not operate your propane tank without the regulator, and you should not connect the tank directly to the heater without the regulator. After reconnecting the propane tank to the regulator and heater, check the connections by spraying a soap solution onto the connection points. If the soap bubbles, you have a propane leak. Immediately tighten the connections or replace the fuel line, propane tank or regulator.
Purchasing a Replacement Regulator
If your heater's pressure regulator is leaking or not releasing propane into the heater, contact the manufacturer of your propane heater or an authorized repair service for a replacement pressure regulator.
Nick Davis is a freelance writer specializing in technical, travel and entertainment articles. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Memphis and an associate degree in computer information systems from the State Technical Institute at Memphis. His work has appeared in "Elite Memphis" and "The Daily Helmsman" in Memphis, Tenn. He is currently living in Albuquerque, N.M.
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