Grill Repair: Regulators & Hoses

Gas Grill Fuel Regulators & LP Tank Valves

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Regulator malfunctions in gas grills? Well, folks, they’re not exactly your everyday barbecue party crasher, but they do make the occasional appearance.

Gas Pressure Regulators: All LP (liquid propane) grills are equipped with a pressure regulator which attaches between the grill control valves and the LP cylinder. The pressure output of the tank is much greater than the pressure required to operate the grill and the regulators job is to reduce input pressure to a workable, engineered level.

Low or weak flame issues? Check for these villains first!

Before assuming your gas grills regulator has malfunctioned, take a look at these possibilities:

gas grill regulator bypass valve and vent hole
  • Low flame? Is your grill trying to operate in Bypass mode? (fig. A) Turn off gas supply, then make sure all of the gas control heat knobs are in off position, especially side burners. Once verified, turn the gas on 1/2 turn (maximum), then try to light your grill as normal. Read more on Bypass mode below.
  • Is the Regulator Vent Hole clear? (fig. B) Locate the vent hole on top of the regulator. Check that it is clear of dirt and debris. If the hole is plugged, erratic and dangerous burning may result.
  • Has anything changed since last use? Have the cooking properties of the grill changed? new burners not attached correctly? new lp tank?, different outdoor temperature?, or is it possible the thermometer has failed?
  • Is there enough propane in your tank? Do you have gas in your propane tank, and is the gas hose and regulator properly secured to the tank and grill?
  • Knob Position error? The "start" position that you use to light the grill is also the "high" position. The further you turn the knobs the lower you are setting the grills temperature. Is it possible you are setting the grill temperature to low instead of high after starting it?

What could happen to a Regulator to kill performance:

32in. stainless hose guard for gas grills
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  • Gas Leaks: Check your gas line for cracks, rodent tooth marks and potential leaks around fittings. If there is a gas leak somewhere in the system, it can affect the regulator’s ability to maintain consistent pressure.
  • Wear and Tear: The diaphragm inside the regulator can become damaged or weakened. Over time, regulators experience wear from exposure to heat, weather, and general use.
  • Contaminants: Check the vent hole on top of the regulator. Make sure it is clear of dirt and debris. If the hole is plugged, erratic and dangerous burning may result.
  • Damage: Hey, accidents happen. A drop, bump or a tumble, and your regulator might be singing a different tune.
  • Freezing: In cold weather, the regulator can freeze, leading to a drop in gas pressure and reduced performance (more common with LP Tanks).

Scroll down for troubleshooting your Regulator or Gas Supply issue.

Troubleshooting your Grills Gas Supply Issues

Low or Weak Flame-Bypass mode

Only open your propane tank 1/2 turn max Problem: Since the mid 90's, regulators for propane tanks have had a federally mandated safety device which restricts the flow of gas to approx. 10% if the valve senses a higher than normal release of propane. This feature will tend to trigger into “bypass mode” if: 1, during start up if all of the gas control knobs are not fully in the off position (including the side burners!); or 2, the propane tank valve has been turned too many turns or to fully “Open”.
Solution: To reset the internal valve turn the tank valve off and disconnect the hose/regulator from the tank. Make sure all heat control knobs, including side burners are in the fully OFF position. Wait 5 minutes. Hook the grill back up and slowly open the valve on top of the tank 1/4 to 1/2 turn only. Do not open all the way! Light up your grill as you normally would.
Here’s another helpful write-up about this issue from Weber.

Regulator Adjustment

The regulator is factory set at a specified outlet pressure and is generally factory sealed and not adjustable. Do not attempt to adjust. The regulator can be checked by measuring the pressure (typically 11 inches of water column) with a manometer, which you can find at your local hardware store for around $30-50.

Valve O-ring

Propane tank O-ring inspection

Before attaching the regulator to the cylinder, inspect the rubber O-ring inside the throat of the propane tank. Do not operate the grill if the O-ring is damaged or missing. Cracks, splits or distortion will allow gas to escape. Additionally, the seal should be soft, pliable, and protrude slightly from the brass.

Look for gas line damage

Critters like good barbecue too! The hose should be kept clean of grease and food drippings which attract squirrels and other animals. The animals will often eat the drippings on the hose and chew into the hose lining trying to get the last taste. Try cleaning the hose with an ammonia cleaner solution to minimize the attraction.
We suggest a stainless-steel rodent guard/hose protector. Easy install, simply slide the guard over the propane hose. Helps to prevent rodents from chewing on your propane gas hose and also protects the hose from hot surfaces on your BBQ.

Gas Grill LP tank fuel gauge
Got gas? Try a Propane Fuel Level Indicator
Get a Gauge

Fresh fill? Check for Leaks

  • Mix a 50/50 solution of liquid dish soap and water
  • Connect the LP cylinder
  • Make sure the control valves are OFF
  • Brush the soap solution over the POL valve and all piping and hose connections
  • Turn on the cylinder valve and listen for leaks, and look carefully for soap bubbles being formed at the connections which indicates leaks

More about LP (Liquid Propane) Tanks

Tank Age

Propane exchange station

Problem: If your tank is old, chances are that your local gas supplier will refuse to fill it. The date manufactured is stamped into the guard surrounding the cylinder valve. (This guard also acts as the carrying handle.) Cylinders should be re-certified after 12 years from this date.
Solution: Re-certification can generally be done by a local propane distributor. The charge is $10-20 and the tanks are tagged and certified for another 5 year period. Another great way to get a newer tank is to trade your old tank in at a store that offers Propane Exchange, such as Blue Rhino, Amerigas, or other.

Using Modern Tank with an Older Model Grill

You can use a new style tank with an older model standard POL fitting. The new style tank valves have internal threads which allow you to connect the standard POL fitting in a counter-clockwise rotation.

Ugly, Rusty Tanks

Even if you have the prettiest barbecue grill on the block, an ugly, unkept tank will take the whole appearance down a notch. Propane cylinders can be repainted with a rust preventative type paint. Remove loose rust with sandpaper or steel wool and clean away any grease or oils. Do not paint valve assembly and do not paint over warning labels. Mask off valve assembly and warning labels if using spray paint. Use white, or off-white paint with the color specified for propane tanks. Light colored paints will help reflect heat when exposed to the sun.