Where Is the Propane Regulator on My RV?
The RV propane regulator is going to be near your propane tank or tanks.
The regulator needs to be next to the propane tanks, because the first stage of the regulator needs to control the pressure right out of the tank itself in order to properly work.
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.
For more information on how RV propane regulators work, check out this post here.
The RV propane regulator is the heart of any LP gas system and if it isn’t working properly, you will notice problems with your propane appliances, especially the stove.
The stove is a great way to troubleshoot your RV propane regulator and a lot of these signs can be seen from a burner.
I recently had to change out a bad propane regulator on my travel trailer. And during the process, I learned a lot about regulators and how they function.
If you need to change out your RV propane regulator, check out this post for information on how to install the new one and what you will need.
If you have recently found oil in your RV propane regulator check out this post to find out what it means and how to prevent it from happening again.
7 Common Signs of a Bad RV Propane Regulator
1. Yellow Flames
The flame on any of your propane RV appliances should be a strong blue. It’s easy to see if you have lazy yellow flames by lighting one of the RV stove burners.
The flames should be mostly blue and almost level with the burner. If they are mostly yellow, you don’t have enough pressure in your LP gas system.
If they are blue but making a roaring sound and are very tall, then you have too much pressure.
It’s rare that an RV propane regulator requires adjusting. That means you either have a leak in your propane system or the regulator needs replacing.
2. Popping Noises
If you hear popping noises when you turn off the flames on your RV stove burner, then your propane regulator may have issues.
This was an issue I was having. All the burners were popping when I turned them off. Replacing the propane regulator fixed the popping.
Popping noises can also be a sign of a damaged burner. If it’s happening on one burner but not on the others examine the problematic burner. It may be dirty or askew.
3. Heavy Soot Deposits
Propane is a fairly clean-burning gas, it doesn’t normally have dark smoke, like wood fires, and a healthy propane flame shouldn’t put off hardly any soot.
If you notice dark black marks forming around your water heater or even in your RV kitchen by the stove, you either have something in the burner that is causing soot or you have a weak flame that is not burning cleanly.
You can adjust the flame strength on a water heater. Strengthening it might solve the problem. But if the heavy soot continues, you may have a bad RV propane regulator.
4. Venting or Leaking Regulator
If a propane smell is coming from your RV propane regulator, it may be damaged and not sealing properly.
You can test for leaks by using a dish soap water mixture. Dump or spray it over the regulator and look carefully for bubbles. If you see bubbles forming, that is where the leak is.
You can get premixed gas detector spray (click to view on Amazon). It’s a good thing to have on hand if you’re an RVer.
We recently got a small gas leak detector (click to see review) we use to check gas line connections in the RV and on gas appliances like our grill or propane heater.
It’s a quick, no mess way to make sure there are no leaks.
There is a vent at the bottom of all propane regulators.
The vent helps the regulator breathe while it is being used and is also a safety feature in case the propane tank was overfilled and the pressure is getting too high.
If you notice propane coming from the vent, make sure you don’t have an overfilled propane tank. If the tank isn’t the problem, then the regulator has gone bad and needs replacing.
5. No Propane Flow
It may seem obvious, but if no propane is flowing through the regulator, that’s a problem.
A common cause may be a safety feature that is inside the regulator.
If the regulator detects a high propane flow, it will engage the safety valve and shut off. The same feature is found on the valve of a propane tank.
You can reset the propane regulator by turning off the propane tanks and making sure all your propane appliances are shut off. The regulator should reset after a few minutes.
If that doesn’t solve the problem, your RV propane regulator isn’t functioning correctly and probably needs replacing.
Propane regulators don’t last forever. They have a life of about 10 years and a regulator can give out simply because it’s too old.
If the age of your regulator is getting to the double digits and it’s having issues, it’s time to replace it.
7. The Automatic Changeover Isn’t Functioning
This is only for those who have dual propane tanks and an automatic RV propane regulator.
The old propane regulator on my travel trailer was automatic, but after a while, it stopped switching over automatically and had to be changed over manually.
The tank level indicator started showing red all the time and wouldn’t reset.
Soon after, the regulator started having issues keeping the correct pressure and the burners on our stove started popping and the flames got weak.
Luckily, we were near a store that sold RV propane regulators and we could switch it out before the old one stopped working altogether.
If your automatic system malfunctions, it may be an early sign that your regulator is going bad.
RV propane regulators are a very important part of any camper propane system and they need to be working properly so your appliances will work right.
It can be a big deal if you are out boondocking and your fridge stops running because the propane regulator gave out.
Keeping an eye out for early signs of wear on your regulator and replacing it before it gives out completely is a good idea and can save you a lot of trouble in the long run.
If your RV propane regulator needs replacing, check out this review of some of the best regulators on the market today.
If you know of any more ways to tell if an RV propane regulator is going bad or have questions about them, leave a comment below.