How to Hook Up Regulators to a Propane Heater: A Comprehensive Guide

Propane heaters are a popular choice for heating outdoor spaces, workshops, and other areas where traditional heating systems may not be practical. Properly hooking up the regulators to your propane heater is crucial for ensuring safe and efficient operation. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of connecting regulators to your propane heater, covering essential technical specifications and best practices.

Sizing the Regulator

The first step in hooking up regulators to your propane heater is to ensure that the regulator is properly sized for your specific appliance. The regulator should be selected based on the heater’s BTU (British Thermal Unit) rating and the capacity of the propane tank.

As a general rule, a 333,000 BTU pool heater would require a larger regulator than a typical BBQ grill regulator. To determine the appropriate regulator size, consider the following:

  • Heater BTU Rating: The regulator must be able to handle the maximum BTU output of your propane heater. Refer to the manufacturer’s specifications to determine the heater’s BTU rating.
  • Propane Tank Capacity: The regulator should be sized to accommodate the capacity of your propane tank. A single 100 lb (not gallon) propane tank can typically last approximately 6+ hours with a 333,000 BTU heater.

It’s important to choose a regulator that is specifically designed for propane use, as natural gas regulators are not compatible. A medium pressure regulator, such as the Maxitrol 325-3, is commonly used to reduce the pressure from the propane tank to the inches of water column required by the heater’s gas control.

Installing the Regulator

how to hook up regulators to a propane heater

Once you have the appropriately sized regulator, the next step is to install it as close to the appliance as possible. This helps ensure consistent vapor production, especially when using a large, buried propane tank.

When installing the regulator, consider the following:

  • Placement: The regulator should be installed as close to the propane heater as feasible, preferably with a large buried tank to maintain consistent vapor production.
  • Regulator Type: Use a medium pressure regulator, such as the Maxitrol 325-3, to reduce the pressure from the propane tank to the inches of water column required by the heater’s gas control.

Piping the Regulator

Proper piping of the regulator is crucial for protecting the system and ensuring safe operation. Follow these guidelines:

  1. Install an approved shutoff valve immediately upstream of the medium pressure (MP) regulator.
  2. Incorporate a sediment trap downstream of the shutoff valve to protect the regulator from particulates and condensate.
  3. Install another pressure tap downstream of the regulator to allow for shutting off the gas in case of a diaphragm blow.

These measures help safeguard the regulator and provide a means of isolating the system if necessary.

Measuring Pressure

To ensure the proper operation of your propane heater, you’ll need to measure the incoming and discharge pressures. This can be done in one of two ways:

  1. Incorporate pressure taps directly into the regulator, if the regulator is designed with this feature.
  2. Install separate pressure taps, such as a sediment trap’s cap or gas cocks with 1/8″ NPT taps, downstream of the shutoff valve.

These pressure taps will allow you to connect a manometer and accurately measure the pressures in the system.

Connecting the Manometer

To measure the pressures in the system, you’ll need to connect a manometer to the pressure taps. Follow these steps:

  1. Use a 3/16″ Allen wrench to remove the plug from the pressure tap.
  2. Screw the manometer’s 1/8 NPTx barb brass adapter into the pressure tap.
  3. Connect the manometer to the barb adapter, ensuring a secure connection.

This setup will allow you to monitor the incoming and discharge pressures, ensuring that the system is operating within the manufacturer’s specifications.

Leak Testing

After completing the installation, it’s crucial to perform a leak drop down test to ensure there are no leaks in the system. This step is essential for maintaining the safety and integrity of your propane heater setup.

To conduct the leak test:

  1. Pressurize the system with air or nitrogen to the maximum operating pressure.
  2. Use a leak detection solution or a gas leak detector to thoroughly inspect all connections and fittings for any signs of leaks.
  3. Repair any identified leaks and retest the system until no further leaks are detected.

Completing this leak testing process will give you confidence in the safety and reliability of your propane heater’s regulator setup.

By following these detailed steps and adhering to the technical specifications outlined, you can successfully hook up regulators to your propane heater, ensuring safe and efficient operation. Remember to always consult local codes and regulations, as well as the manufacturer’s instructions, to ensure compliance and proper installation.

Technical Specifications

  • Regulator: Medium pressure regulator, such as a Maxitrol 325-3.
  • Pressure: Inches of water column for the heater’s gas control.
  • Piping: 3/8″ OD Copper Tubing.
  • Thread Sealant: Pipe Thread Sealant, such as RectorSeal No. 5.
  • Valve: 1/2″ Gas Ball Valve.
  • Flare Tool: Flare Tool, such as a Ridgid 301-8.


  1. HVAC-Talk Thread on Propane Regulators
  2. YouTube Video: Propane Regulator Installation
  3. Green Tractor Talk Thread on Propane Heater Hook-up
  4. YouTube Video: Propane Heater Installation
  5. YouTube Video: Propane Regulator Troubleshooting