What are gas regulators used for?
|Regulators are grouped according to how fast they release gas to the appliance, and vary widely in size and shape.They have many different uses, but there are two main types:
High pressure regulators
|High pressure regulators are able to cope with gas entering from the cylinder at great force.
They bring the pressure down to a suitable level for the appliance and are used with devices that require a powerful, concentrated heat output.
|These can include, for instance, commercial outdoor grills and barbecues, gas torches for metalwork, roofing or road surface repairs, blown-air heaters for use in warehouses or barns…|
|and mobile grain dryers, which have spread from the United States to become a popular way of getting crops dry and dust-free in a short space of time.|
|High pressure regulators are also used to control gas furnaces and generators.|
|Gas-powered vehicles are becoming more common. Cars, vans, buses, lorries and even lawnmowers are being converted to run on LPG as an alternative to oil.|
|Many forklift trucks run on propane-fired engines, which unlike electric ones don’t need recharging. Regulators are usually attached directly to the LPG cylinder on the back.
Operators either buy the gas in cylinders individually or, if they use their forklift trucks heavily, store it in a bulk tank and refill the cylinders themselves as required.
|One of the most widely used industrial applications is oxy-fuel welding, which mixes oxygen and acetylene to produce an intense flame for cutting, melting, shrinking or joining together pieces of metal.
As such a high heat output is required, two stages of regulation are normally used: the first regulator reduces the pressure to an intermediate level, and a second one takes the pressure down to the right level for the welding torch.
Low pressure regulators
|Low pressure regulators are used where a steady heat output is needed. This can be, for example, a portable indoor heater…|
|a camping stove, greenhouse or conservatory heater…|
|a patio heater or gas-fired barbecue.|
|Gas-fired appliances such as cookers, heaters and fridges are widely used by caravan and motorhome owners.
Before 2003, regulators on caravans varied according to the type of gas used, but since then regulator capacity for caravans and motorhomes has been standardised across the UK and EU at 30mbar for both propane and butane gas.
|Regulators are sometimes used by people making their own beer or lager. Gas can be used in two aspects of home brewing:
|They are also attached to gas meters to control the central heating supply in our homes and businesses.|
|Another function is to control the heating supply in commercial poultry and game bird rearing units.|
|Regulators have been used for many years to control the air supply for divers…|
|…and are also an essential part of medical equipment such as cylinders of oxygen and anaesthetic gases used by doctors and dentists.|
|Carbon dioxide regulators are popular with many fish-keepers, who pipe it into their aquariums to enrich the water quality. This boosts plant growth and improves the environment for the fish.|
|Regulators are equally vital for astronauts. All parts of their breathing equipment – from the regulators and air cylinders through to the gas hoses – have to be specially made to ensure they won’t fail in the depths of space.|
|Regulators are also used on boats with gas-fired cookers, heaters and fridges.
Since 2001 marine regulators have had to conform to a European standard which ensures that their bodies, coatings and inner components are tough enough to withstand the corrosive effects of salt water.
|As well as using gas for cooking and heating, many boat owners are adding LPG fittings to their diesel engines to make them dual fuel.
Propane is much cheaper than diesel so this cuts costs, as well as extending the boat’s range so it can make longer voyages between refuelling stops.