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Why are regulators used in natural gas distribution?

by | on | in Natural Gas | 2 Comments

In this back to basics entry, I discuss why natural gas pressure regulators are used in a delivery system.

After natural gas makes its way out of the well, into gathering and transmission systems, and gate stations, it ultimately enters distribution lines (or “mains”).


B31 residential regulator

While gas is in the distribution system, regulators control the flow from higher pressure to lower pressure. Regulators sense if the pressure in a line drops below a specified set point and opens, allowing more gas to flow. On the other hand, if pressure rises above a set point, the regulator will close so that the downstream pressure adjusts.

When natural gas leaves the main, it travels through a “service line” to reach homes or businesses. This service line is likely to be polyethylene, perhaps an inch or less in diameter and ranges from about 60 PSI to ¼ PSI. Once the gas reaches the home or business meter, it passes through another regulator to reduced the pressure under ¼ PSI and is measured in water column.

Throughout the gas delivery system, from the well to the stove burner, regulators are used to adjust the pressure to ensure safety.

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About The Author

Susan Bender started selling to the natural gas industry in 1980. In 1990 she founded Linc Energy Systems, where she remains as President and CEO. She attributes her success to her philosophy, “The customer is king (or queen),” which remains part of her company’s mission.


  • Guest
    Russell Wednesday, 31 August 2016

    What happens if high pressure regulator is used on low pressure setting

  • Guest
    Tom McDougal Thursday, 15 September 2016

    As long as the inlet pressure is higher than the outlet pressure the regulator will function, but the amount of natural gas that will flow through it will be greatly reduced and the outlet pressure will tend to drop off sooner.

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Guest Sunday, 23 February 2020
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