What Size Regulator For Propane Generator

What Size Regulator For Propane Generator

Hey! This post is very important for the people who are operating their generator on propane and they want to know what size regulator for propane generator required.

This post will provide you with the following knowledge:

  • Propane regulator facts
  • Propane facts
  • Propane 101
  • High pressure and low pressure
  • Types of propane regulators
  • A word about propane tanks

When propane tanks get hot in the sun, the pressure can rise to as much as 100-200 psi in the tank, whether the tank is small or large. It is important to reduce the tank pressure and regulated if you want to use it in a home, motor home, camper, or outdoor gas appliance.

The gas pressure will need to be reduced to 6 ounces (10.5 inches water column) for residential use. Low-pressure regulators are usually located near or on the main tank of the home, motorhome, or camping trailer.

Outdoor gas appliances, which can receive low-pressure propane gas through a gas convenience outlet, may either find this gas in a propane tank at a nearby store or get it directly from a portable tank. This kind of tank is frequently found at big-box hardware stores, such as Home Depot or Lowes.

Propane pressure regulation is required for portable tanks. It is important to know, some low-pressure regulators are built directly into gas appliances, but most of the time, they are found on portable tanks.

It’s an easy way If you want to find out the required propane pressure for your appliance, you should contact its manufacturer.

The high-temperature cast iron burners are examples of outdoor gas appliances that require a high-pressure regulator since they need more gas than a low-pressure regulator can handle and depending on the output pressure, high-pressure regulators can range from 1 to 60 psi.

Regulators with high pressure come in various designs. There are some regulators for high pressures are often come "preset". This means that the propane pressure is fixed to a certain pressure, i.e., 10 psi or 20 psi.

Attenuation of gas delivered to the appliance is accomplished through the use of an inline ball valve or needle control valve located on the hose or integrated into the appliance.

If we talk about it, the other common type of high-pressure regulator is an "adjustable" high-pressure regulator. 

You can easily get adjustable high-pressure regulators in 0-20 psi, 0-30 psi, and 0-60 psi versions and they have an output pressure adjustment control built directly into the regulator.

What Size Regulator For Propane Generator

In the following sections, we will answer all questions about generator regulators.

Should I buy the highest pressure propane regulator to insure sufficient gas delivery?

If you have a propane regulator that has a higher Btu/hr output than you need, there is no benefit to having it. 

When choosing a propane gas regulator, you will need to consider how many Btu/hr your gas appliance(s) require, and then you will have to choose the propane gas regulator which delivers the required amount of Btu/hr. And also make sure the propane regulator you pick fits as closely as possible.

As you choose higher pressure propane regulators, the propane regulator valve's effect on gas output will decrease. As an example:

Turning a 0-60 psi propane regulator by an eighth of an inch 1/8 makes lots more of a difference than turning a 0-20 psi propane regulator by an eighth of an inch 1/8.

so, you have to select the high-pressure regulator that matches your Btu/hr requirements the most closely.

How long will my portable propane tank last?  

Basically, it is very easy to find the number of pounds of gas that is in your full tank and the btu/hr demand of your burner or other gas appliance.

The value of a pound of liquid gas in your tank is 21,591 btu/hour of fuel and also known as a 5-gallon tank. You would typically find this type of tank at a Home Depot, Lowes, etc.

Now below we are going to show an example if you have a low-pressure burner:

your maximum power output is 40,000 btu per hour, so you can run it for 10.8 hours at full blast: (a 20# tank contains 431,820 btu which is equal to 40,000 btu per hour, so 40,000 btu per hour * 431,820 btu equals 10.8 hours)

If we look on the other side, For instance, you can run a high heat, high-pressure burner with a maximum output of 160,000 btu/hr for only 2.7 hours at full blast.

Everyone knows that running a propane burner at full throttle for such a long period of time is not typical; no one wants to run out of propane so quickly.

Whenever you want to develop the heat continuously, you need to plan for extra propane storage, and every chef or other experienced person always keeps extra propane tanks on hand.

There are no empirical figures in these figures. Manufacturer of 20-pound propane tanks, Blue Rhino's 20-pound tank contains just 4.1 gallons of liquid propane, weighing just 17 pounds.  In this example, we have a full propane tank that weighs around 37 pounds after adding about 17 pounds of gas in an empty 20-pound tank.  

Also, many people ask: "What is the pressure inside my portable tank?"  NFPA58 states that a tank of 20 pounds of gas has 145 psi of pressure at 70°F, 180 psi at 90°F, 235 psi at 105°F, and 315 psi at 130°F.

These are all the common questions and situations people have with their propane generator regulators, we hope you will be able to understand all of the points so that you can fix your problem.

Also read about how-much-propane-does-a-generator-use-per-hour

My propane tank and regulator ice up and the propane output is dropping [Situation]

A large percentage of times, the problem stems from water in the portable propane tanks, so it's important not to have any water in the tanks.

As you know within the tank, propane is liquid in nature. In a state of vaporization, propane leaves the tank. So, it is tough to avoid this situation and It takes a considerable amount of heat to change from liquid to gas.

Only metal tanks containing gas can only provide the heat needed for vaporization. Propane tanks and regulators get noticeably colder if there is a high demand for gas. During times of high demand for gas, the amount of vaporized propane delivered will decrease. 

As a result of water being stored in the tank along with propane, the water vapor can freeze at the valve of the tank, and even within the regulator itself, and it can prevent propane from flowing to the tank or reduce the flow.

There is a greater impact when demand for propane is at a high level and when there is a lower quantity of liquid propane remaining in the tank. In the tank, both propane and water have vapor pressure, but water does not mix with propane and if you are changing the tank or shaking it will not help.

Now the next point (Question) is very important for you.

When the propane tank and regulator freeze, what can I do?

How can you help? If you can, purchase the biggest tank you can lug around, Because the metal cylinder has a greater heat reserve, as the internal surface area increases, the heat sink also increases.

The retail gas supplier might also be able to help you.  It would be nice if they got their propane gas from a gas wholesaler that added some methyl alcohol into it. It can act as an antifreeze. In colder climates, propane gas wholesalers often do this in the winter.

It is also possible to periodically wash the propane valve and regulator with hot water, and make sure that the propane tank and the gas regulator are kept in a warm place, both of things will help you. 


During high propane demands, propane tanks and gas regulators will be more vulnerable to freezing as the temperature drops. Also, you should keep a spare propane tank on hand at all times so that you can switch if the flow of the gas decreases.

The simple turn of a valve is sometimes preferred by caterers to quickly switch to a warm, full tank and it helps them in their work efficiently.

If you change the tank, you can wait and let the other tank heat up or you can change the empty tank if you want.

You should also know a propane freeze-up occurs more frequently in smaller 5-gallon propane tanks than in larger propane tanks when the propane tank is less than half full or near empty. That’s why all the experienced caterers keep a spare propane tank nearby and use as much propane as they can.


By using a twin-stage regulator, we can definitely reduce the chance of these freeze-ups since the expansion process is utilizing two regulators, rather than just one, and, additionally, a twin-stage regulator keeps the gas supply steady and even.

What is a BTU?   

Btu (British Thermal Units) are defined as the amount of energy in order to raise one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit.

  • The amount of energy in one gallon of liquid propane is 91,502 btu.
  • The energy content of one pound of liquid propane is 21,591 BTU.

I have a low-pressure regulator but it does not seem to supply enough gas for my appliance [Situation]

Many of the preset low-pressure regulators available in the market and you can get easily, use 1/4"ID black hose and most of the units have only a 1/4"ID NPT (National Pipe Thread Taper) outlet.


When using low propane pressure of 6 ounces, there is a limit to the amount of gas that can be pumped through this small ID hose.

Why does my grill have no or little flame?

Several reasons have been suggested by the Coleman company, including:

1- In the first place, it is possible that the propane tank was not filled properly.  Before gas is pumped into a tank, the air must be purged from the tank.

2- It involves filling the empty space with a few cubic feet of gas and then emptying it again. In an empty tank, the propane will push out the air since it is heavier than the air. 

3- Once the gas is filled, the process can begin.  It is the air that leaves the tank first and the grill will have either no flame or very low flame for over an hour until the air does fully exit the tank if the tank has not been purged.

Another possibility is the automatic activation of a surge protection device that is built into the propane regulator.

A surge protector could sense a leak if you turn the tank valve on before turning off each burner knob in the grill. There will be a reduction in fuel flow.  Ideally, everything should be turned off, the tank disconnected, everything reconnected, and then everything washed all over.  

Thirdly, the tank might have been overfilled. Overfill Protection Devices (OPD) are now installed in all propane tanks to prevent them from overfilling. By shutting off the valve, the OPD feature prevents the tank from overfilling.

The tank must be 20% empty to prevent large amounts of propane from being emitted when temperatures rise.  When moving a very full tank, the OPD can also be activated inadvertently.

What can I do if my preset low pressure regulator is not supplying enough gas?  Can I increase the pressure of the gas?

What do I do if my low-pressure regulator is not supplying enough gas? How can I increase the gas pressure?

It is not possible to increase the pressure. Normally, low-pressure regulators are set at 6 ounces of pressure, which is 10.5 WC or Water Column inches. Your regulator apparently has a 1/4" ID outlet and your Thermo rubber handle, which is 1/4" ID, also has the same ID. As a result, you will not be able to use as much gas.

You should know that, gas can be increased by using a low pressure regulator with a 3/8"ID gas outlet and a (light grey) gas hose with 3/8"ID. It is now possible to deliver 2.26 times as much propane to the appliance, so you are minimally at risk of starving the appliance. 

Because of this reason, you have to buy low pressure gas regulators with only 3/8"ID low pressure hoses.

The grey hose (3/8" ID) has been approved by UL (Underwriters Laboratories), CSA (Canadian Standards Association), and AGA (American Gas Association) for propane gas supply up to about 100,000 btu/hour.

Get a 3/8"ID gas outlet low pressure regulator with a light gray hose rather than starving your gas appliance.

An Interesting Fact

There are 8.33 pounds in one gallon of water.  A btu raises a pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit, while a gallon of water is raised by 8.33 btus. 

Knowing that, it is easy to determine how many BTUs are required to raise a known number of gallons of water to boiling (as long as the heat is transferred from the flame and the temperature of the water is known as the starting point).  It is helpful to know how long your gas tank will last based on this.

Is Propane a better fuel than Natural Gas?

The volume to volume energy content of propane is greater than that of natural gas. If you have a natural gas flow of one cubic foot per hour at 60 °F, you will receive 1030 btu/hr. If you have a propane flow, you will receive 2488 btu/hr, which is almost double the energy.  


This is all due to its carbon-hydrogen atom bound structure, methane (natural gas) has one carbon atom bound to four hydrogen atoms while propane has three carbon atoms bound to eight hydrogen atoms.

As part of the oxidation (burning), the propane molecule releases 2.5 times more heat because a greater number of chemical bonds are broken by the process. Natural gas molecules and propane gas molecules, both when burned completely, yield carbon dioxide and water as their end products. 

The propane burns differently, giving off more water and carbon dioxide, and of course emitting a lot more heat.  

Besides being cheap and dependable, natural gas is also a reliable source of energy. When it is available, people tend to choose it. 

Having a mobile cooking setup makes propane the better energy choice.  You can choose between cast iron burners, pipe burners, and jet burners, all of which can be set up with different orifice sizes based on the fuel you choose.

More propane 101 Knowledge

Despite the fact that a 20# LPG tank theoretically holds 4.72 gallons, in practice it may hold only 4.1 gallons when gas cylinders are usually not filled more than 80% full because it is important.    

A psi is equal to 27.7 inches of water column.  

These propane regulator facts, also known as propane 101 facts, will help you understand how to choose the right propane high pressure regulator or propane low pressure regulator.

Frequently Asked question

What kind of propane regulator do I need for a generator?

You can operate a portable generator using propane 20# cylinders and you can find them easily.

Are there different size propane regulators?

There are several types of propane gas regulators, but not all of them are created equal. Different types of gas regulators are available, including: A High-Pressure Regulator, a First Stage Regulator, a Second Stage Regulator, an Integral Twin Stage Regulator, or an Appliance Regulator.

Do I need a high or low-pressure propane regulator?

The use of high-pressure regulators is required for outdoor gas appliances including high heat cast iron burners because they use more gas than a low-pressure regulator can supply. The output pressure of high-pressure regulators can range from 1 psi to 60 psi.

What is a first-stage propane regulator?

During the first stage of the propane regulator, the system will compensate for differences in tank pressure and deliver propane gas at a pressure between 10 pounds and less. First-stage propane regulators have the purpose of supplying propane at the proper pressure to a downstream second-stage propane regulator.

Wrap Up

It has been our task to explain to you everything about propane regulators and all the other things involved. Now we are sure you can easily tell anyone what size regulator for propane generator they need. Please share this article if you enjoyed it and feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions.

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