Home Heated by Propane? How to Tell If Your Regulator Needs Replacing

If your home is heated with propane, you have an on-site propane tank, which means you also have a tank regulator. You probably know that your tank requires routine maintenance and that you need to monitor it for leaks and visible damage. However, you might not realize that the tank regulator also needs to be monitored on a regular basis. Unfortunately, if you're not monitoring the regulator, you could be putting your tank—and yourself—at risk. Here are four signs you should be watching for. If you recognize any of these issues, it's time to have the regulator replaced on your propane tank.

Your Flame Height Is Fluctuating

Your tank regulator is responsible for regulating the propane that flows through to your heater and household appliances. When the regulator isn't functioning properly, you'll experience something known as incomplete combustion. You can tell that this is occurring by watching the flames on your stove burners. If the flames do not remain a consistent height, meaning they're fluctuating during the cooking process, you have a problem with your regulator that will need to be addressed as soon as possible.

You Smell Propane Near the Regulator

As propane tank regulators wear out, the seal can fail. When that happens, propane will begin to leak from around the regulator. A leaking regulator can pose serious safety risks for you and for those who live near your home. If you smell propane, which smells like sulfur or rotten eggs, you need to have your tank inspected as soon as possible. If the odor is coming from the regulator, chances are good that you'll need to have it replaced.

Your Tank Was Exposed to a Flood

If you live in an area that has experienced recent flooding, and your propane tank was submerged in water, you need to have the regulator replaced immediately. Water and chemicals can cause corrosion on your regulator, which will increase the risk of malfunction and regulator failure. Not only that but debris, such as silt and sand, can get inside the regulator and prevent proper functioning.

Your Regulator Has Expired

If it's been several years since you had your propane tank installed, your regulator may have expired. Propane tank regulators have a specific life expectancy. Once they pass that time limit, they need to be replaced. If you're not sure how old your regulator is, take a look at it. Most regulators will have their expiration date marked somewhere on them.