LPG Gas Changeover Valves
The Which, What, Why & How To
In Australia, you would typically have two 45kg LPG gas bottles on a home.
An LPG (propane) gas changeover valve controls which gas bottle is being used.
Here’s the important bit:
Used correctly, it keeps you from running out of gas.
Learn what changeover valves are, how they work and which type to choose…
Why Do I Need Two Gas Bottles in the First Place?
The simple answer is “So you don’t run out of gas” but even two bottles are no guarantee if you don’t know the “how” and “why”.
While you should have two LPG gas bottles, you only draw gas from one at a time.
There is a changeover valve installed between the gas bottles and your regulator. This valve controls which bottle is in use.
The concept is that you order your gas delivery as soon as the first bottle runs out.
This provides plenty of time to get your gas delivered with virtually no risk of ever running out.
Procrastination is a perilous practice!
The following short video (2:37) explains why you need 2 bottles, how the changeover valves work and how to tell how much gas is left...
The Truth about LPG Gas Deliveries
Even the best LPG supplier can’t be everywhere, every day.
They have schedules and routes that they follow.
The more remote your location, the longer the interval between route schedules for your area.
So, if you live near you supplier’s depot, you may be able to get a delivery on any day and within a day.
If you live quite a distance from your supplier, you might be scheduled for deliveries on one particular day a week or a similar arrangement.
However, the good news is that the largest LPG supplier has hundreds of branches, agents and distributors around the country, so you shouldn’t be too far from the source.
The bottom line:
None of this is a problem if you remember to order as soon as your first bottle is empty.
Gas Cylinder Changeover
Gas cylinder changeover is when you switch over from using one gas cylinder to another. This is normally done when the first gas cylinder runs empty. The gas cylinder changeover us achieved using a gas cylinder changeover valve.
How do Changeover Valves Work?
The two gas bottles are connected by tubing, called “pigtails”, to a changeover valve that controls which gas bottle is currently in use.
From the changeover valve, the gas goes through the gas regulator and then onward towards the home’s appliances.
There are two types of gas changeover valves:
1. Automatic changeover valves
2. Manual changeover valves
Which do You Choose?
It’s really a personal choice.
Have a read of the following and then you will know how they work and the pros and cons of each.
What is an Automatic Changeover Valve?
An automatic changeover valve automatically switch from one gas bottle to another, when one is empty.
To do this, both gas bottle valves are left in the OPEN position.
Several types of automatic changeover valves are available. All use a visual indicator to show you when a gas bottle is empty and it has switched over to the other gas bottle.
The indicator typically turns red when the first bottle is empty.
Whilst it still has gas it will typically be green or white (as shown in the accompanying picture).
Do not touch or turn the indicator. When it turns red, that’s your signal to call for a delivery.
The delivery driver will replace the empty bottle with a full one and reset the indicator.
If you have an automatic changeover valve, you do not need to do anything.
Here’s the thing:
You won't have the manual changeover process as a reminder to order more gas, so be sure to check your gas bottles regularly.
Once a month should be fine for most people.
What is a Manual Changeover Valve?
With manual changeover valves, you need to manually reset the valve when the first bottle is empty.
The changeover valve has a lever which must be set to point to the gas bottle in use. (See accompanying picture)
To use a manual changeover valve, you follow this procedure:
Manual Changeover Process - Three Simples Steps:
1. Turn the empty gas bottle valve clockwise to CLOSE the valve.
2. Move the changeover valve lever to point towards the second gas bottle.
This will hopefully be full, if gas was ordered on the previous changeover.
If not, call ASAP.
3. OPEN the valve on the full gas bottle by turning it anti-clockwise.
Don’t Run Out of Gas:
• Always Order Your LPG Right Away
• Don’t forget to order a replacement gas bottle when you switch over between bottles.
• This is the best way to make sure you never run out of gas.
What if the Gas isn’t Working?
1. Check to make sure the active gas bottle is turned on. The active gas bottle is the one pointed to by the changeover valve.
2. Check to see if either gas bottle has any gas left, using the hot water test. If so, you may need to switch to the full gas bottle with the changeover valve.
3. If both bottles are empty, you need to contact your supplier for a gas delivery and make sure you tell them you need 2 gas bottles.
Final Thoughts & How to Choose
I know, you may still be wondering “Which one do I choose?”
If you would have trouble remembering to regularly check the colour indicator on the automatic changeover valve, then go with a manual valve, as changing over bottles is a reminder you cannot ignore.
The downside is if it happens in mid-shower or on a cold and rainy night.
Automatic changeover valves prevent the mid-shower dash to changeover. You don’t have to do anything.
The downside is if you forget to check the indicator, you could find yourself with TWO empty bottles and no gas.
My Personal Choice & Reminder Tip
I went with the automatic model but I set my electronic calendar for a once-a-month recurring appointment to check my gas bottles.
My computer overcomes my absentmindedness, as I am easily and frequently distracted.
The hazards and solutions of our hectic e-lifestyles.
Comments, questions or feedback?
The information in this article is derived from various sources and is believed to be correct at the time of publication. However, the information may not be error free and may not be applicable in all circumstances.