The propane regulator is an essential piece of equipment. The regulator controls the flow of the gas to the appliance. The regulator prevents excess pressure from reaching the appliance. Broken regulators can result in an overflow of gas and can potentially cause an explosion. You will know the regulator is broken if it makes a hissing noise or if the gas controls on the appliance do not control the level of pressure. It is important to immediately turn off the appliance and the propane if the regulator is broken. In most instances, the regulator must be replaced but some small issues can be repaired.
Check the regulator for an adjustment screw if it is not letting out propane. Use a screwdriver to make one full turn counterclockwise and check the appliance for gas output. The screw may have been used to close the valve when the tank was last filled.
Turn the propane valve to the off position. Once the valve is completely closed, unscrew the propane hose. Inspect the connection and the other openings on the regulator for clogs. Use the end of a coat hanger to clean out any clogs. Replace the hose, open the valve and test the appliance.
Inspect the O-ring for cracks and breaks. If the O-ring is broken, you must replace the entire regulator. The O-ring may be repairable, but it is too dangerous to risk an explosion. Turn off the propane valve and take the regulator to a certified propane service shop.
Complete a leak test to determine areas of damage. Turn the propane valve to the off position. Use a wire brush to apply a soapy water solution to all of the connections. Turn the propane valve to the on position and watch for soap bubbles on all the regulator connections. Tighten the connections and test again if they are leaking. If the connections continue to leak, replace the regulator.
Inspect the regulator for cracks on a regular basis. If the metal is cracked, replace the regulator before using the propane appliance. The cracks will allow gas to escape and can cause an explosion.
Inspect the regulator after each winter. Damage to the regulator may occur after winter freezing cycles.
If you are not sure about the level of damage, replace the regulator. Propane regulators are inexpensive and last for a long time. It is worth the cost to replace the part.