Grilling season is right around the corner so before you break-out that grill from winter storage or if your lucky enough to grill year round, you will want to do these checks periodically.
There are countless benefits to firing up the BBQ, including letting you cook delicious, healthy foods and offering an opportunity to spend time outside with loved ones.
However, one of the responsibilities of gas grill ownership includes regular maintenance and ensuring that your grill is operating properly. When you get a new grill, fire it up for the first time of the season, or swap out your propane tank, you’ll want to check for gas leaks.
How do you make sure your gas grill isn’t leaking gas, and what should you do if you find a leak? Let’s dive in and take a look at what you need to know.
Is there anything more enjoyable to do in the summer than grilling outside with your friends and family on a beautiful day? We certainly don’t think so. When you follow proper safety procedures, grilling is a safe and enjoyable activity that can bring the whole family together. However, it’s important to do some basic safety checks to check your grill for gas leaks and fix any leaks before your big cookout to ensure that your experience remains pleasant and safe.
In the U.S., gas grills are involved in a little under 9,000 home fires every year. This includes almost 5,000 outdoor fires and nearly 4,000 structure fires annually. One of the primary causes of fires from gas grills is leaks or breaks.
While this might make it sound like gas grills are inherently unsafe, that’s simply not the case. When you run the numbers on how many adult Americans own gas grills, it comes out to about 180 million. As you can see, gas grill fires are relatively uncommon when compared to how many Americans spend their free time grilling.
However, the occurrences of gas grill fires does drive home the importance of checking your gas grill for leaks. Checking for leaks and fixing leaks can be a relatively simple process, and it can help you avoid dangerous situations.
On top of the safety reasons why it’s good to check for gas leaks on your grill, having leaks or breaks can also impact how effectively you can grill. Below we cover everything you need to know about how to check and fix any leaks in your gas grill to get you grilling safely and effectively.
Checking your gas grill for leaks can sound intimidating and complicated, but it’s actually a fairly straightforward task. Performing the gas grill leak test only takes a little dish soap, some water, and a few minutes of your time. When you consider the fact that those are the only things you need in order to buy yourself a lot of peace of mind, you’ll see that testing if a grill is leaking gas can easily become a normal part of your grill maintenance routine.
Here are the steps you’ll want to take in order to test whether or not your gas grill has a leak. Make sure that you do not smoke, use a lighter, or otherwise have an open flame nearby while performing this test:
If there is a gas leak in the hose, you will see bubbles start to form. If you find that you have a gas leak either through performing the soapy bubble test or through noticing the smell and there is no flame, you will want to turn off the grill and the gas tank.
For help identifying the different parts of your grill, check out our guide to the anatomy of a gas grill. If after doing your gas leak test there’s still something wrong with your gas grill, but you aren’t quite sure what the problem is, use this handy troubleshooting guide.
The National Fire Protection Association recommends that you test your gas tank hose for leaks before you begin using it for the season. If you use a liquid propane tank to fuel your grilling habit, it’s best to test your tank every time you refill or exchange it. If you have gone a while without using your grill, it’s also a good idea to test it before use.
Here’s a complete run-down of when you should check gas grill for leaks:
Since running a gas grill leak test is fast and simple and fixing a leaking gas grill is so important for safety, it’s best to be on the safe side and complete this test more often than not.
If you tested your gas grill for leaks and you did, in fact, find one, it’s important to understand that it’s a fire hazard to continue using your grill in this state. Luckily gas grill leaks are typically easy to identify and fix. Whether your hose, connection points, regulators, or other grill part is the problem, fixing the problem should be easy and affordable.
So, you’ve done your due diligence and have determined that your grill is leaking gas. What now?
By using the soap and water bubble test described above, you can determine exactly where the leak is coming from. If the leak is on the hose itself, you will want to replace the hose before the next time you operate your grill.
What if you found a leak at one of the connection points?
If this is the case, you will want to first troubleshoot the problem by disconnecting the hose and reconnecting it. It’s important during this process that you ensure that the fittings aren’t cross-threaded.
Typically, you will want to tighten the connection between the manifold and the gas hose using a wrench, while the connection between the propane and the regulator should just be tightened by hand. You can then perform another leak test to make sure that your connections are properly secured and are no longer leaking.
If you have a grill that’s connected to the natural gas line of your home, it’s also important to check that connection with some regularity. Keep an eye out for any rust or corrosion. If you do notice any issues, you’ll want to call your gas company and have them come out to repair it.
It’s also possible that your regulator is causing you trouble due to rust, moisture, or old age. Problems with your regulator can result in a weak flame or leaking gas from the venting hole. Luckily, replacing a propane regulator is quite simple.
The other problem areas when it comes to a leak can be the tank or the control valves.
If you have found no leaks in your grill but gas still isn’t making it to your burners, it’s possible that you have clogged tubes. You can test this by turning on the gas and feeling the hose in order to determine whether or not you can feel a clog. You can then clean the tubes and the burners to see if that clears up the issue (after turning the gas off, of course).
To learn more about how to properly clean a gas grill, take a look at this guide.
If the hose of your grill is leaking, you will simply want to buy a new one and replace it. As described above, you will want to connect the hose to the manifold with a wrench and the hose to the regulator by hand.
The same goes for any other leaking grill parts that need more than a simple cleaning or adjustment. In the next section, we’ll discuss where to find these replacement parts.
Fixing your gas leak doesn’t have to be difficult, but it is incredibly important. Not only does a leak mean that your grill isn’t working as efficiently, but it’s also potentially extremely dangerous. Luckily you shouldn’t need a brand new grill to fix a gas leak. Instead, learn more about the affordable replacement parts that will get you grilling again in no time.
Replacing your fuel hose and regulator is quite simple and inexpensive. You can find fuel hose and regulator kits here.
If you are not getting gas to your burners but you don’t find a problem with your hose, regulator, or tank, it’s possible that you have gas valves that are malfunctioning. At The BBQ Depot, we have an extensive selection of gas valves for you to choose from. It’s important, though, to understand that valves are specific to each make and model of grill, so you’ll want to make sure you’re getting the exact same part. If there is a leak around the valve, you cannot replace the components of the valve. The entire valve needs to be replaced. Also, if the valve is a clamp-on, check the valve gromment is secure on the manifold.
You really don’t want to mess around with a faulty propane tank. You can replace a propane tank from home improvement stores, hardware stores, big-box stores, and gas stations. The cost of tanks varies with the price of propane and whether you use an exchange program or own your own tank that you get refilled.
If your gas grill has been having an increasing number of problems, you might be faced with the decision of whether to repair the gas leak or simply buy a new grill. To help you decide whether you should purchase a brand new grill or repair your old one, check out this guide.
While having a gas leak in your grill can be a serious safety hazard as well as impact the performance of your grill, it is luckily fairly easy and inexpensive to fix. Checking for gas leaks should be a part of your regular grill maintenance schedule, and you should do it whenever you swap out your gas tank for propane grills.
You can also help to keep your gas grill safe by performing regular cleaning and maintenance.
If you are searching for parts for your grill part, you’ve come to the right place. At the BBQ Depot, we have a huge inventory of grill parts, and we can even order parts that you need if we don’t have what you’re looking for in stock. Our team of BBQ experts is always ready and waiting to answer any questions you have, so don’t hesitate to drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (877)983-0451.
Is it time for you to increase your grilling I.Q.? If so, check out our I.Q. Learning Center today.by Tracy Hollander