An appliance regulator is required on all natural gas barbecues. It controls the pressure in the grill. It's a good idea to have one on an LP grill with a high BTU output. The regulator should be located near the burner and connected by a black or white wire to the control panel. If it's not attached to the control panel, look for another way to connect it up.
How does a regulator work? A regulator reduces the gas pressure coming out of the cylinder while allowing the fuel to flow continuously. This allows the gas to burn more completely and prevents small leaks from building up over time which could lead to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide being released into the home.
What type of regulator is used with natural gas? Most regulators used with natural gas are diaphragm regulators. They consist of two parts: a valve body that attaches to the grill and a valve head that screws onto the end of the valve body. When gas is turned on, it enters the valve body through a spring-loaded needle valve and moves into the valve head. The rubber diaphragm inside the head creates a seal when the gas comes in contact with it. This keeps gas from flowing back into the tank through smaller holes in the valve body.
Because not all propane grills can utilize natural gas, check your owner's handbook. Many LP grills include "dual-fuel labeling" indicating that they may be converted to NG. You will need to purchase a natural gas barbecue. In our natural gas grill reviews, you can see different models and their prices. There are also affordable alternatives if you cannot afford a new model.
Natural gas is a clean fuel that comes in a liquid state under pressure. It is available at most major home improvement stores and some local hardware stores. Like propane, it must be stored in a tank outside of the house until you need it. The gas then flows through a regulator which controls the temperature. This simple system provides heat for cooking just like an electric stove does.
Natural gas is used as a replacement for electricity in certain parts of the world where it is available. It is considered a more environmentally friendly fuel than electricity because it does not produce greenhouse gases or electromagnetic radiation.
The conversion from dual-fuel to natural gas is easy. First, turn off the gas supply to the house and call the gas company to have them shut off the line. Next, go inside and turn off the pilot light on a propane grill or leave all the burners off an electric grill empty. Finally, connect the natural gas pipe to the grill's burner control valve. It should take only five minutes to install this connection.
Normal natural gas service pipe has a pressure regulator near or at the location of your gas meter. Regulators are not required for stoves, hot water tanks, fireplaces, or grills. These appliances should have a working shutoff valve nearby to prevent overpressuring of the line.
If your house was built after 2009, there's a good chance that its piping system is made of CPVC (chlorinated polyvinyl chloride). This type of pipe is less likely to burst under pressure; however, if it does, the damage will be immediate and any residue from the rupture will be toxic. Do not eat anything in the area or wash anyone in the household with CPVC piping system up until professional help arrives. Call 911 immediately before doing so anyway just in case.
Here are some other things to consider when deciding how to regulate the gas supply to your stove:
Does your stove have separate pilot lights for each burner? If so, you'll need one pressure regulator for each leg of the gas supply line feeding those pilots. Otherwise, all the gas will go into one place where it can cause damage.
How many people live in your home? More people means more pots and pans being heated at once which requires more gas to keep them warm. You'll need more regulators too!
Whether you have a huge propane tank or a little 5 gallon propane cylinder, practically all applications necessitate the use of a pressure regulator. One word of caution: one size does not fit everyone. One regulator may be adequate for a gas grill but insufficient for a house heating system. If you have any kind of fuel-driven equipment, especially if it's older, you'll probably need one.
The number of regulators required depends on how much pressure the gas comes in at and how much relief you want from it. For example, if the propane supply is 15 pounds per square inch (psi) and you need to reduce it by half, then you will need two regulators in series. Each regulator can only reduce pressure by about 7 psi so you'll need two of them.
This isn't very practical because most regulators are designed to work best at certain pressures. A good regulator should be able to reduce high pressures without damage but reducing too much pressure can cause your components to fail prematurely.
For general purpose use between 10 and 20 psi is enough protection for most applications. If you have any type of fuel-driven equipment such as a stove, heater, or oven, go with a regulator that is rated for at least 20 psi. This will give you better protection against damage caused by high pressures. Also, look for regulators that have integral shutoff valves.