Propane is used in homes and businesses across the country every single day. But for propane to get from the tank to a burner tip where its energy can be put to work requires some specific equipment and accessories.
One of the most important accessories in any propane system is the propane regulator. The propane regulator actually controls the flow of propane gas from the tank, and lowers the pressure of the propane from the tank, to the appliance where it’s used. There are different types of regulators you should be familiar with.
The POL fitting is one of the oldest types of fittings. Because the POL valve’s threads are on the inside of the connector, this type of valve requires a wrench to tighten it. For transporting or storing the propane tank, a plug is screwed into the valve.
Acme fittings are typically found on newer propane containers, and differ from POL valves in size and their use of external threads. Acme fittings can be hand-tightened. They also have a built-in safety mechanism that prevents propane from leaving the tank unless it’s attached to a device.
Overfill Prevention Device (OPD)
The Overfill Prevention Device is easily recognized by its triangle-shaped handwheel. OPD valves feature an internal float that prevents overfilling of the tank with propane, which is a crucial safety feature. Propane smaller cylinders made today will have OPD valves. Many propane tank exchange businesses will only accept propane tanks with OPD valves.
Propane hoses can only be used for certain applications, such as gas grills. The hose is the connection between the propane tank regulator and the propane appliance. There are multiple types of propane hoses, with different fittings on the end meant to work with different types of regulators and appliances. Any hose used for propane service must be approved for that use, and can be made from plastics or rubber, and sometimes are covered in a steel mesh for added durability.
Propane tank gauges for consumer use give you an approximate measure of how much propane is remaining in a tank. Propane tank gauges have moving parts located both inside the tank and outside. Inside the tank is a stem with a float, that rises and falls with the level of the propane in the tank. The stem connects to a gear that causes the dial of the gauge to turn. You can then convert the percentage of gas remaining into gallons by multiplying the number displayed on the tank gauge (50 means 50 percent) by the water capacity of the tank. For example, if your 5-gallon tank shows a gauge reading of 60 percent, that means you have three gallons of propane remaining in your tank (5 x 0.6 =3).Propane Burners
The propane burner, often called a propane burner tip, is the last key component. This is where gas is released and ignited, producing the blue propane flame. The type of propane burner tip can vary, depending on the type of flame needed (space heating vs cooking, for example) and the temperature of the flame required.