Low BTU propane regulator attached to a bottle

Propane Bottle and Grill Regulators

Bottles and cylinders attached to portable propane cooking appliances such as barbeque grills and fish fryers use regulators designed for this specific purpose. These bottle and cylinder regulators are known as low BTU regulators, single stage regulators, grill regulators or outdoor cooking regulators. Although they are used for outdoor appliances, they shouldn't be confused with appliance regulators. These low BTU regulators are used strictly for outdoor appliances and function to regulate pressure between the bottle and the line or hose.

Low BTU LP Gas Regulators

A low BTU regulator is not the same as a low pressure regulator. Although bottle regulators do in fact work with lower propane pressures, they are designed to work with low BTU appliances such as gas grills, fish fryers and outdoor propane patio heaters. Typically, low BTU bottle regulators deliver 11" water column to appliances of less than 100,000 BTU/hr and although delivery pressure is the same (11" WC) as that of household appliances in a residential LP Gas system, bottle regulators shall not be used. Using low BTU bottle regulators or single stage regulators in a fixed piping system is illegal and unsafe. Low BTU and bottle regulators are for cylinder applications only and are not designed to withstand the inlet pressures of a bulk propane tank and nor are they designed to deliver appliance pressure in a residential "whole house" piping system.

Propane Grill and Bottle Regulator Safety

Regulators for gas grills incorporate a vent into the unit and like any other LP Gas regulator, the vent should be protected from debris and blockage. This includes making sure that the vent is pointed down. An improperly positioned grill regulator is susceptible to grease entering the regulator through the vent, which can cause serious internal damage to the regulator resulting in an extremely unsafe situation. Ensure that the vent is pointed vertically down before turning a grill on. Malfunctioning bottle regulators can cause flames to be excessively high and orange in color or they can freeze up allowing no gas to enter the burner.

The regulators discussed here are the only regulators that can legally be installed by the end user. Hardware and outdoor stores regularly stock low BTU regulators for cooking equipment and grills that use propane bottles as a fuel source. Make sure to thoroughly read the manufacturer's instructions that come with the regulator prior to installation. This is one area that although your propane company can assist you with, you need to be sure you follow the regulator manufacturers directions precisely. People can be burned because they choose to take on the "do it yourself" attitude with no direction when it's readily available. Ask the manufacturer and if they can't provide you with the answer that you understand or think is right, ask your propane company. Regulators installed incorrectly on a grill, fryer or other portable propane appliance can lead to dangerous circumstances.