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What is a changeover gas regulator?

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Five different changeover gas regulators Changeover gas regulators are used in many situations where more than one cylinder is required, such as caravans, holiday homes and boats. They usually control between two and four cylinders.

The regulator is normally mounted on the bulkhead (side wall) of the gas locker and is connected to two or more cylinders. When one cylinder is empty, a changeover regulator will switch to the reserve supply to ensure a continuous flow of gas.

Automatic and manual changeover gas regulators There are two types of changeover gas regulator:

  • Manual – you make the change yourself using a lever
  • Automatic – the regulator switches itself over to the other cylinder
Manual changeover gas regulator with hose With the manual version, when one cylinder is nearly empty you turn a lever yourself to switch the supply to the other one.
Red automatic changeover regulator The automatic type of changeover regulator senses when the gas is running low and will switch itself over to the new cylinder at that point.

Manual or automatic – which is best?

Coins being fed into money pig equalling saving money A manual regulator lets you control the cylinder changeover yourself. This means you can save money by ensuring the tank is completely empty before switching.

A manual regulator is also cheaper to buy than an automatic one. However, there is more risk of running out of gas than with an automatic system.

Money being burnt, equalling wasting cash An automatic changeover regulator will make the switch for you, which is particularly convenient if the gas runs low in the middle of the night, or in bad weather.

On the other hand, many people find the regulator switches over too soon, wasting some of the gas left in the first tank. And if you forget to keep an eye on your usage, you could simply end up with two empty cylinders instead of one.

Automatic changeover valve head adaptor If you already have a manual changeover regulator, you may be able to convert it to an automatic one by adding an auto changeover head which screws on to the existing fittings. This will depend on the make and model of your regulator.
Changeover gas regulator on caravan bulkhead In caravans and motorhomes, changeover regulators used to be attached directly to the cylinders. However, in 2003 the law in the UK changed and they now have to be fixed permanently to the bulkhead, or wall.

The regulator must be positioned above, rather than level with, the cylinders. This is to reduce the risk of any condensed liquid gas, oily residue or other contaminants being drawn down into the regulator from the tank.

Official Gas Safe logo Although you can connect cylinders to a changeover regulator yourself, or add an auto changeover head to a manual system, under UK law only a qualified Gas Safe engineer is allowed to install or repair this kind of regulator.

This is because it’s a permanent fixture and all the gas pipes have to be pressure tested after fitting.