Using Gas? Check the regulator!

Propane BurnsUsing Gas?  Check the Regulator

Venting gas from Propane Regulators will ignite!


April to July has highest incident of grill fires.



Low-pressure gas regulators control the downstream pressure to grills and fryers.  The regulator is a mechanical device with moving parts:  diaphragm, adjustment spring, seat disc and relief valve.  All mechanical devices will fail.  If your using gas, make sure to check the regulator.

Propane Regulator Vent

The diaphragm is opened and closed by the flow of gas through an orifice.  A seat disc stops the flow of gas through the orifice when there is no demand for gas.  If the disc stays against the orifice and the gas flow is stopped, too much pressure can build against the diaphragm and the relief valve will vent gas to the atmosphere.  The gas released into the atmosphere has the potential to ignite if exposed to an open flame.

Properly maintained regulators rarely cause safety issues, but if you can’t remember the last time you changed your regulator-change it before you fire up the grill this spring.  Also, check the hose and the adjustment valves on the grill.  Anywhere gas is leaking is another point of ignition.  It is rare that a tank explodes almost impossible, only because the tank will turn into a massive blow torch if the regulator should blow out.  The gas in the bottle is released at unregulated pressure and the flame could reach several feet.

So check your regulator and hose on the grill for leaks and if you have any doubt-replace the assembly.  The USFA reports grill fires result in an average of 10 deaths, 100 injuries and $37m in property loss each year.  The leading category of factors contributing to ignition is “mechanical failure and malfunction”.  Thirty-seven(37 percent) of grill fires with item first ignited determined fall under the “liquids, piping, filters” category including flammable liquid/gas and accelerants.

This weekend my grill will be fired up with lump charcoal and some hickory chunks for some pit style pork.  If the regulator and hose looks good I might start the fryer for some home fries, but then again the cast iron skillet works good on the grill too.

Happy Grilling.

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