Gas pressure regulators are generally low-maintenance pieces of equipment, but it’s important to know that on occasion they can freeze up, so a little bit of maintenance and prevention is important to avoid this issue. Read on to learn how to check if your gas pressure regulator in Minneapolis, MN is working correctly.
The presence of water is what is most likely to cause issues with a pressure regulator. Freezing water can clog up the inlet, which would prevent gas from being able to flow. It could even prevent the regulator from shutting off. This problem can be eliminated by using dry fuel, and by keeping that fuel free of water until it’s fully passed through the regulator. However, that’s not always something you can control.
Water affecting the pressure regulator can come from a range of sources. The fuel itself could be water saturated, or it could result from hydrostatic testing, or simply from empty cylinders being left in a humid environment with the valve open. And, of course, when it gets cold enough, this water can and will freeze.
There are some simple steps you can take to avoid some of the issues with freezing regulators. Here’s a quick overview:
- Methanol: If you suspect water in the system or have experienced freeze-ups, you can add a little bit of methanol—a pint should do for 100 gallons of fuel. This will be the most effective method to prevent freezing of your regulators and often the first step recommended by technicians.
- Choose the right regulator: Make sure you’ve chosen a regulator to ensure the typical demand falls between 30 and 70 percent of its capacity. If your regulator is too large it will barely open even during normal use, and if it’s too small, you’ll overwork it and be much more likely to experience issues like freezing later down the road. Using a regulator sized correctly for your needs will go a long way toward reducing and preventing potential issues.
- Consider climate: Climate can have an effect on the kind of pressure regulator you use. If you are in a moderate climate with occasional lower temperatures, you might consider two stages of regulation, which will be more resistant to freezing. If you are in a very cold climate or expect long periods of heavy demand, you might consider using an intermediate 2 psi service or a 5 psi regulator for much greater freeze protection.
- Proper installation: Make sure the equipment is installed properly. Ideally, you’ll have the regulator and pigtail set up in such a way that condensation will drain back into the cylinder. You should also make sure to keep all cylinder valves closed when those cylinders are in storage to avoid any humidity from the surrounding environment getting inside the cylinder, which could cause some issues later on.
This is just a brief overview of some of the steps you can take to avoid freezing in a pressure regulator. For more information about how to check if a gas regulator is working and what to do if your heat isn’t working in Minneapolis, MN, contact an experienced contractor at Air Climate Control, Inc. today.