Houses or buildings utilizing gas energy require a gas piping system to power heaters, ovens, and other heating appliances. One of the most important elements of a gas piping system is the propane service valve, which controls propane gas flow in and out of a building. While there may be many other valves within gas plumbing, this valve functions as an on/off switch and serves as the main point of control for cutting off or allowing for the flow of gas into a piping system. Brass Valve closed on a propane tank

How Does a Propane Valve Work?

Propane valves are simply used to turn gas on or off. Similar to that of a water faucet, propane valves consist of a handwheel that controls propane gas flow when turned. When the wheel is turned, a stem and seat mechanism located within the valve opens or closes to prevent or allow gas flow from the tank.

Using propane gas requires an LP gas regulator, which decreases the amount of pressure released into the gas line, keeping it at an acceptable and safe level while still meeting the needs of the application.

Propane Tank Valves

There are multiple different valves in any propane system, each of which have a particular job. At IPS Equipment, we provide some of the most common types of valves for propane systems, including:

Pressure Relief Valve

A pressure or safety relief valve is a safety mechanism that every propane system needs. It allows excess pressure in the tank to be slowly and safely released. Without this valve, pressure can build up and cause the tank to crack or rupture.

The relief valve has a pressurized spring. If the pressure levels within the tank grow too high, the spring forces the valve open just enough to return the pressure levels to acceptable levels. Once the pressure decreases, the spring relaxes, and the valve automatically closes.

Depending on the age of a tank, it may have an external pressure relief valve (found on older tanks) or an internal one (in newer models).

Filler Valve

This valve is where gas delivery personnel add new gas to a propane tank. Propane delivery trucks have hoses that can be attached to the filler valve so propane can be pumped into the tank. This valve is also pressure-activated, and it opens automatically in response to the pressure in the hose.

Filler valves have gaskets that operators can push the hose end against to avoid propane leaks. They also only allow for unidirectional fluid movement, meaning that once the tank is full, there is no risk of propane escaping when the hose is withdrawn.

Service Valve

This shut-off valve prevents gas from entering the building and any attached appliances. You can use this central point of control like an on/off switch to completely halt the path of gas in the system.

Vapor Equalizing Valve

This valve is also called a vapor return valve or vapor eliminator valve. It ensures that propane is delivered at the proper pressure levels from the propane delivery truck to a personal tank and returns any excess propane back to the delivery truck. This is similar to a safety valve, except the vapor equalizing valve ensures the propane is delivered at proper pressures for optimum use, not safety. This is especially crucial during hot weather or in warm environments, as that can increase the pressure.

Liquid Withdrawal Valve

This specialized valve is meant for use by propane companies only. It allows operators with the proper tools to drain liquid propane from the tank. Propane tanks must be drained to <5% capacity levels before they can legally be moved.

An infographic depicting the propane tank valves offered by IPS.

An infographic depicting the propane tank valves offered by IPS.

High-Quality Propane Valves From IPS Equipment

IPS Equipment specializes supplying propane marketers with reliable valves, fittings, regulators, and more for propane systems. Contact us today to learn more about our comprehensive products or services, or browse through our catalog to start your order.