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Safety -- Make sure you are safe!

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Old 2005-07-13, 12:01pm
arrowsprings's Avatar
arrowsprings arrowsprings is offline
Join Date: Jul 12, 2005
Posts: 34
Default Connecting Pressure Regulators

Connecting Pressure Regulators

Improper installation and use of pressure regulators can be dangerous and may cause damage to the regulators. Before connecting pressure regulators to their respective tanks, position the tanks in a safe location away from flame and out of walkways. The fuel tank, usually propane, must be in its upright position sitting on its intended bottom. Fuel gas is usually pressurized to a liquid. The tank valve must be positioned above the liquefied gas, for the pressure regulator to work properly. However the oxygen tank can be positioned in any position, but it is usually best to stand it up. Before removing any safety caps, secure the tanks to a wall or the workbench, if it is stable enough to give proper support. Some states such as California require the tanks to be secured to meet earthquake or other safety standards.

Remove the caps from the tanks and connect the pressure regulators. Connect the torch to the output side of the pressure regulators with proper hoses. Propane must only be used with a Grade T hose. Regular welding type Grade R hose, which is fine for acetylene, will rot with propane. Be sure that there is not any oil, grease or debris in or around the tank valves, hoses or on any part of the pressure regulators. Grease and oil are explosive in the presence of oxygen. Debris on the fittings will not allow for a proper airtight seal.

The thread pattern on the oxygen tank valve is right handed. The thread pattern on the fuel tank is left-handed. A notch around the fastening nut on the pressure regulator and the hose indicates left-handed threads. The fittings on both pressure regulators and the hoses are flair fittings and only require moderate tightening. All fittings are made of brass and are easily destroyed if the wrong tools are used to tighten them. Only use the proper size open-end wrenches or quality adjustable jaw (Crescent) wrenches. Vise Grips or channel lock wrenches will quickly destroy the fittings and will not tighten them properly. It is not necessary to use a thread sealer. Test for leaks with soapy water.

Before opening the tank valves it is important that the pressure adjusting handles are backed off to a zero pressure delivery. This is done by turning the handle counter clockwise until the resistance of the handle turning becomes easy. It is alright if the handle comes off the pressure regulator. Just screw it back on one full turn. If the pressure-adjusting handle is not backed off when the tank valve is opened, the fast inrush of gas will damage the diaphragm inside the pressure regulator. Check that all torches connected to the regulators are off. Before opening the tank valve, stand next to the tank, positioning the tank valve between you and the pressure regulator. If the pressure regulator is damaged it may blow off the tank when the tank valve is opened. Standing behind the tank valve is the safest location.

The oxygen cylinder is under high pressure and uses a special double seat valve. The valve only seats with an airtight connection when it is fully closed or fully open. Any position in-between will slowly leak oxygen from around the valve stem. Open the oxygen tank valve slowly for the first turn, then fully and firmly. The fuel tank is usually under much less pressure and uses a different kind of valve. Open this valve slowly for the first turn, and then only one or two turns additional turns. This makes it faster and easier to turn off the propane tank’s valve in an emergency situation.

Turn the pressure adjustment knob clockwise to allow gas to pass through the pressure regulator. The more the handle is turned, the greater the delivery pressure will be. The pressure gauge closest to the tank valve indicates the tank pressure. The other pressure gauge indicates delivery pressure to the torch. To reduce delivery pressure, turn the adjusting knob counter clockwise. The delivery pressure gauge will not indicate a lower pressure until the pressure is relieved on the output side of the pressure regulator. You can do this by having the torch running while turning the handle counter clockwise. To shut down the system, close the tank valves; burn off the pressurized gas in both gas lines by lighting the touch. As the flame goes out turn off the torch. Back off the pressure adjusting handles as described earlier.

We recommend the following pressures:
· 20 to 25 pounds for oxygen

· 10 to 15 pounds for propane
Using these pressure settings will make the pressure regulators perform better and have a longer life. Some propane pressure regulators have a red danger zone on the delivery pressure gauge. This only applies when the pressure regulator is used with acetylene. Disregard it when using propane. Many torches give suggested pressure settings that are lower than what is stated here. The suggested pressures are actually the minimums for best operation. Supplying higher delivery pressure does not affect the torch or increase gas consumption, as the actual operating pressure of the torch is what you manually set using the torch’s valves.

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Old 2017-12-10, 4:29pm
LampLani LampLani is offline
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Join Date: Dec 10, 2017
Location: Texas
Posts: 1
Default Many thanks

This was very informative. I appreciate the post. This is my first time setting up my regulators in my work at home set up without my boss doing it first. I'm super nervous. Going to reread and give it a shot. Let's all hope I don't blow up the carport!
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Old 2019-03-04, 4:53pm
AngelaS AngelaS is offline
Formally ZiggyS
Join Date: Nov 25, 2011
Location: St. Petersburg
Posts: 42

A belated thank you for this information. I'm trying to figure out why I have zero pressure with a new propane tank. Bad tank or bad regulator. Ugh!
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