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How Does An RV Propane Regulator Work?

Why Do I Need A 2-Stage RV Propane Regulator?

Propane systems are found all over the place.

They are used in RVs, homes, industrial buildings, restaurants, basically anywhere there is an LP gas appliance is being used.

Related Product: Did you know RV Propane Detectors (click to view on Amazon) need to be replaced every 5-10 years? Make sure yours is still up to date before your next camping trip.

Propane regulators are a necessary part of any propane system and those that fuel appliances like what you find in your RV require 2 stages of regulators.

The best way to understand how an RV propane regulator works is to first understand what each stage does.

See Also: 7 Signs That Your RV Propane Regulator Has Gone Bad

Propane stove burning in a camper with a 2 stage propane regulator keeping the LP gas psi correct
2 stage RV propane regulators keep the LP gas appliances, like the stove, in campers working correctly.

Stage 1

The first stage regulates the pressure directly from the propane tank.

In a situation where the propane tank is located far away from the appliance (like a house propane system), the first stage regulator will be placed by the tank and the second stage is placed closer to the appliance.

On an RV the propane tanks are located near the appliances that need them so the first and second stages of the regulators can be built together in one unit.

See Also: Propane Tank Recertification: How & Where To Get Recertified

To put it in simpler words the first stage takes the pressure from the propane tanks down to a manageable level for the second stage of the regulator to do its job.

Usually, it’s 10-15 pounds of pressure.

portable camping stove using a 1 stage propane regulator
Portable propane appliances like camping stoves need only 1 stage propane regulators because the tank is nearby.

Stage 2

The second stage of the RV propane regulator takes the smaller amount of pressure provided by the first stage and turns it into the standard propane pressure for appliances (normally measured at 11″ on a water column) in a regulated unchanging stream.

You must have both regulators on a propane system in order for it to work. They also need to be a matching set and compatible with each other.

You cannot place the second stage regulator before the first, it must come after.

See Also: Best 2 Stage Dual Adjustable RV Propane Regulators

RV propane regulators are very simple to install and use.

Some aren’t even adjustable because the propane system in an RV is simple and doesn’t need a lot of tweaking.

The only thing you really need to watch out for is leaks.

If you need to change your RV propane regulator there are detailed instructions on how to do it and what you will need here.

Have any questions about how RV propane regulators work? Leave a comment below.

by Jenni
Jenni grew up in a small town in Idaho. With a family that loves camping, she has been towing trailers since a very young age.

2 thoughts on “How Does An RV Propane Regulator Work?”

  1. I bought a used RV that does not have a cook top installed. There is a gas line in the countertop to allow for use of an outdoor camp stove. The pressure is not high enough to operate our outdoor stove (per RV code regulations). If I had an adjustable regulator on the tank, could I just increase the pressure on the tank when I needed to use the stove and back to low when I needed to use the heater?
    Also, there is currently a fixed 2 stage regulator on the tank. Do I need a 2 stage regulator? I can’t find an adjustable 2 stage regulator on the market.

    • Hi Lauren,

      The standard propane pressure for an RV should be more than enough to run an outdoor stove. Lots of RVs have propane quick connects on the outside you can use to run an outdoor stove and everything goes through the propane regulator. It sounds like the regulator that is on the RV now might be the problem. You shouldn’t need an adjustable one to get it to work.

      I suggest getting a new 2 stage RV propane regulator like this one (click to view on Amazon) if you have two propane tanks. It can output up to 190,000 btu which should be more than enough for any propane stove.

      I hope this was helpful, I’m not a professional but that’s what I would do.


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