What are gas regulators and hoses?
A gas regulator, also known as a gas pressure regulator, is a mechanical device used with cylinder gas. It’s designed to slow down the compressed gas rushing out of a cylinder and release it in a controlled and steady stream to the appliance it's connected to.
Without regulators we wouldn't be able to safely cook on camping stoves, enjoy barbecues or use heaters, fridges and cookers on caravan or boat holidays.
|Gas cylinders are available in a wide variety of makes and sizes and contain either propane, butane or a mixture of the two, depending on their intended use. Regulators aren't always compatible between the different brands, but you can buy adaptors to let you mix and match.|
Propane and butane are both variations of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG). For more information see: What is Liquefied Petroleum Gas?
Regulators used with small cylinders for appliances such as portable heaters, camping stoves, patio heaters and outdoor grills are called single stage low pressure regulators.
They are also known as low BTU regulators. BTU stands for British Thermal Units and is a way of measuring heat output. Anything less than 100,000 BTU per hour is considered a low rate.
What is pressure?
Pressure is a physical force acting against an area. It's the force that pushes gas, water, oil and air through pipes.
Gas pressure is measured in units called bars and millibars. A bar is a European unit of pressure measurement that is roughly equal to the atmospheric pressure on earth at sea level. It's where the word barometer comes from. A millibar (mbar) is 1,000th of a bar.
What is a low pressure gas regulator?
A low pressure gas regulator is defined as one that delivers an outlet pressure of less than 500mbar; that is, less than half a bar (or 0.5bar) above atmospheric pressure at sea level. This is the pressure of the gas as it comes out of the regulator and into the appliance.
Regulators used with portable outdoor appliances are much less powerful than this and usually have a pressure of between 28mbar and 37mbar.
They are the only type of low pressure regulator that members of the public can legally buy and fit themselves.
Who can fit gas regulators?
All permanently attached regulators, for instance those fitted to the bulkhead (side wall) or gas locker of a caravan, motorhome, boat or holiday chalet, can by law only be installed and maintained by qualified Gas Safe engineers, as the entire system has to be pressure tested after fitting.
What is Gas Safe?
Gas Safe is the official body regulating gas engineers. Under UK law, anyone carrying out work on gas appliances in the UK, Guernsey and the Isle of Man must be on the Gas Safe Register.
The organisation replaced CORGI (Council for Registered Gas Installers) in 2010. It carries out regulator inspections of completed work, tracks down and prosecutes rogue traders, and seeks to educate the public about gas safety.
Although we'll tell you how to use some of these fixed regulators that you might come across, this guide will focus largely on the type of small, low pressure regulators available from DIY stores, outdoor equipment suppliers and campsites which can be legally installed by members of the public. These are for use with mobile appliances only.
What are gas hoses?
Hoses connect regulators to the appliances they serve. They are available in various colours and sizes, and can be made of pure or synthetic rubber, plastic, stainless steel or a mixture of these materials.
For more information see: What are gas hoses? and What gas hose accessories are available?
You have to attach your regulator to a hose before switching on the gas supply. Hoses for regulators serving small portable appliances are usually secured using special stainless steel clips.
For more information see: How to attach a gas hose to a regulator