Regulator VS a Valve, whats the difference? - Home Brew Forums
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Old 03-16-2012, 07:22 PM   #1
Feb 2012
West Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 202
Liked 14 Times on 11 Posts

So i was trying to build something cheap to use a paintball tank to pump c02 into my keg. I put something toghether that would just release the CO2 using a valve instead of a regulater. It did have a PSI gauge on it before the valve. I asked the guy at the homebrew store why i couldn't just do that. He told me a valve would not work because it is not sensitive enough let out just a little bit of co2 and i would end up with all foam. With that, I scratched the idea but I would still like to know what exaclty a regulator does that a valve would not ? What the heck is going on inside those things.
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Old 03-16-2012, 08:19 PM   #2
Jul 2007
Flourtown, Pennsylvania
Posts: 499
Liked 8 Times on 7 Posts

The regulator is the piece of the system that guarantees that even though your CO2 tank might be at 500 or 1000 or 1500 psi, only somewhere between 0-30 psi will be allowed on the keg side. You can dial it in to the exact number you want (for example, I generally use 12-14 psi in most of my ales held at 45-55 F.)

Opening a simple valve from a fully pressurized bulk CO2 tank directly into your keg would blow you and your keg to smithereens (if it weren't for the pressure relief valve built into the keg.) A paintball canister might not have enough gas in it to do that, but you still need to have some sort of precision in the amount of pressure on the keg side of the system or you'll end up with beer that's overcarbed, undercarbed, flows too fast, or doesn't flow at all. You can't just guesstimate.

On a garden hose, you can use the hose bib as a regulator for the water thats flowing through it, but when it comes to extremely high pressure gases, it's a different story altogether. You need an actual regulator--no real way around it.
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Old 03-16-2012, 09:28 PM   #3
Feb 2012
Lubbock, TX
Posts: 11

I like to think of it as though a regulator is a valve that can automatically shut itself off when the desired pressure is released.

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