How To Replace Propane Regulators On RVs: A Step-by-Step Guide
Knowing how to replace propane regulator on RV is an essential skill that any RV owner should have, particularly if you love cooking or grilling while camping. Having a functional and reliable propane regulator ensures that you are safe while making food in your RV because the it controls the gas flow and gas pressure from your gas tank to your appliances.
Luckily for you, replacing the propane regulator in your RV is easy to learn and you only need basic tools to do the job properly. Here is a quick guide on how to replace the propane regulator in your RV.
Signs That You Need to Replace Your Propane Regulator
Here are some of the signs that you need to look out for to know that it’s time to replace your propane regulator:
- Low or weak yellow or orange flames
- Appliances are not heating up when the burner is turned on
- Popping noise when you turn the burner on or off
- Roaring noise when the burners are on
- Flames spilling out of the air intake
- Heavy rust, soot, grime, or grease on the burners
Even if your propane regulators are not showing any signs of damage or malfunction, it is a good idea to replace them 5 years to ensure that you have working propane regulators. Remember, you’re working with flammable substances in the closed space in your RV, so it’s better to err on the side of caution!
How to Choose an RV Propane Regulator
Choosing a propane regulator for your RV can be difficult, even if you’re replacing an old one. After all, since you’re replacing your old propane regulator, you should get a better one, right? Here are some factors that you should consider when choosing a new propane regulator:
- Material – look for heavy-duty regulators that can stand up to regular use. Durable materials such as aluminum, brass, stainless steel, or zinc should be on the top of your list.
- Regulator capacity – look for regulators that are rated for high pressure. A propane's capacity is measured by British Thermal Units (BTU), and anything above 50,000 BTUs would be enough for standard cooking and grilling in your RV. Remember, the higher the capacity, the more expensive the regulator.
- Protective Cover – many propane regulator models come with protective covers that help protect the regulator from the intense heat of the burners.
- Price – propane regulators come in a wide range of price points. High-end propane regulators with protective covers and made from durable materials will be pricier.
- Automatic Change-Over – some RVs have dual propane tanks, and if you want to be able to switch easily between the tanks, some propane regulator models have a switch that allows you to do this by just flipping it.
Types of RV Propane Regulators
While there are countless brands of propane regulators out there, they will generally fall into one of four categories as described below:
- First-stage- if you have a single propane cylinder in your RV that you use for grilling or cooking, you will need a first-stage propane regulator. It delivers low-pressure propane to a second regulator.
- Second-stage – this is another type of propane regulator that's connected to the first-stage regulator. It works as a conduit between the first-stage regulator and the actual appliance. Second-stage regulators control the pressure and ensure that the right amount is delivered to the cooking appliance. This type of regulator is rated at around 175,000 BTUs.
- Integral Twin-Stage – the most common type of propane regulator, this type distributes propane among several appliances in your RV.
- High-pressure – this type of propane regulator is commonly used for fryers. They are not typically used for RVs, as most RVs won't need the rating that this type of regulator can deliver.
The process of replacing the propane regulator on your tanks will depend on the type of propane regulator that you have. Generally, most propane tanks come with a manual and even the tools that you would need to replace the propane regulator.
Simple Steps You Need to Take Before Replacing the Propane Regulator
While the actual steps may differ slightly from one type of propane regulator to another, here are some steps that you need to take before replacing any type of regulator:
- Close the tanks tightly and remove the hose attaching them to the regulator.
- Remove the regulator from its bracket. It is typically connected to the bracket with screws.
- Remove the regulator from its RV attachment.
- Remove any remaining hoses attached to the regulator.
- Reattach the hoses to the new regulator, making sure that the valves fit snugly. Ensure that the threads are connected correctly.
- Reattach the regulator to the RV.
- Replace the new regulator to the bracket.
- Replace the hose attachments between the regulator and the gas tanks.
Important Things to Know about RV Propane Regulators
Here are some important things to know about RV propane regulators:
- If you are using a twin-stage regulator, make sure that you clean out the vents for each stage to ensure the proper flow of gas.
- Propane regulators are built to last for five to ten years, but since they are fairly cheap (you can get a good one for around $25), you can replace your propane regulator even if they are not showing any signs of damage.
- Having a spare propane regulator in your RV is a good idea in case you’re camping somewhere that’s far from hardware stores.
- Always make sure that your propane regulator is turned off when replacing or refilling your propane tanks.
- If you EVER smell propane coming from your tanks (propane is colorless, but it has a strong and distinct odor), closed your tanks immediately, ventilate your RV as much as possible, and look for the leak quickly. Propane leaks can come from either the tanks or the propane regulator, so make sure to check both. Never take chances with your RV's propane tanks because propane is highly flammable.
- If your RV is using dual propane tanks, invest in a propane regulator with an automatic change-over.
Now that you know how to replace the propane regulator on RV setups, you can save money by changing your propane regulator by yourself. While changing your propane regulator, it's better to take it slowly and surely; double-check every step to make sure that you are doing it correctly. Check for leaks as much as possible and ensure that each connection is correct and snug.
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