Leak Testing your Grill

Leak testing your Grill:

Leak testing your grill is important and only takes a second to do, and all you need is a little water and dish soap. We recommend that you get in the habit of checking this every time you disconnect your cylinder or hose and regulator.

Leak testing must be carried out outdoors in a well ventilated area. Manufacturer instructions should always be followed.

After installing your gas cylinder:

Turn all gas controls to ‘OFF’ and open the gas cylinder valve 1 turn (anti clockwise).

Check all connections with a soap solution of 50% water and 50% liquid detergent. Brush the solution on each gas connection.

Make sure to check the connection at the regulator, which controls the flow of propane to the grill’s burners. These tend to easily get clogged in many modern gas grills.

Soap bubbles will be formed if there is a leak of gas from an improperly sealed connection. Tighten the fitting, re-check, and you’re done.

How to Maintain your Rocks and Briquettes

Rocks or briquettes? The fundamental difference is lava rocks need to be replaced every season or two (depending how long you use them). Briquettes, while more expensive can be turned over and reused. You can buy lava rocks or briquettes here.

Rock & Briquette Maintenance:

  • Remove the rock and rock grate they rest on

  • Lightly brush residue off with a wire brush

  • An easy way to clean briquettes on an ongoing basis is to periodically turn them upside down and cook on the opposite side, which will gradually burn off and clean the underside of the rock
  • Reinstall the rocks, make sure they are distributed evenly across the Rock Grate surface. This will help the grill cook at an overall even temperature

  • When replacing uniformly shaped briquettes, arrange the rock to have a minimum amount of space between them.
    - This will reduce the grease drippings directly onto the burner flame and help reduce flare-ups

What do I need to know about Lava rocks?

  • If your grill uses lava rocks, you should replace them every season or two
  • Lava rocks absorb grease over time and can cause flare ups if they become saturated
  • Make sure you buy a quality rock that won’t fall through the rock grate opening
  • Purchasing a high quality briquette may be better value for money, it’s important to know that briquettes do not normally need to be replaced as regularly as lava rocks do.

Heat Plates:

  • Heat Plates can also work in place of briquettes. It’s important to buy a high quality cast iron flare guard if you decide to take this route, as the cheap thin porcelain metal alternative will burn out quickly, and provide a hot and uncontrollable heat source.

How to Maintain and Clean your Cooking Grid

Cooking Grid General Maintenance:

Cooking grids, when properly maintained, should last for many years. It’s a quick job to maintain it, and should be part of your normal grilling routine.

Ultra-Fast Grid Maintenance Routine:

  1. Preheat gas grill on high for 10 minutes before each use
  2. Scrub with a brass bristle brush
  3. Carefully wipe grids with a paper towel before use

Cooking Grid Cleaning

  • Remove and inspect the cooking grid(s)
    - Most grills have either chrome or porcelain coated cooking grids
  • If the chrome grid is not excessively rusted, soak in a hot soapy water solution to loosen the accumulated grease
  • Scrub with a steel wool pad or a stiff nylon pad

  • Rinse thoroughly and lightly coat with cooking oil before use
    - Porcelain grids may be cleaned in the same manner, special porcelain cleaning brushes are ideal for this job, as they will minimize chipping and other damage

If you find broken welds, cannot adequately remove rust, or have excessively chipped or missing porcelain, you may opt to replace the cooking grid

Maintaining and Replacing your Grill Hoses

This is always an interesting topic.. You’re all ready to fry up some juicy looking steaks on the BBQ, when you discover your hose has been chewed up due to one hungry animal or another trying to get the tasty fat drippings from your grill.
Repairing or replacing specific parts of your hose assembly will depend on your grill, you may want to browse our hoses and fittings section. If you are still  not sure you may always contact us for help.


A damaged LP gas hose can be easily replaced yourself:

  • Remove LP hose from your valve assembly
  • If permanently attached to the valve, you will need to remove the assembly
  • The regulator may have to be replaced if you are experiencing spurts or no gas flowing to the burners. Sometimes these can be removed independently from the hose while in other cases, the hose and regulator must be removed and replaced as one unit
  • You may want to install hose protectors which fit around the outside of your LP hose
Pressure regulators have been manufactured with bleed holes on the side. If gas is leaking out of these holes, you will need to replace your regulator. Again these can possibly be replaced separately or in combination with hose, and valve depending on your grill.

How to Maintain and Clean your Grill Valves

Valve knobs

  • Valve knobs should depress, turn and pop up freely
  • If they are a bit sluggish, remove knobs and carefully spray a small amount of WD40 or similar lubricant onto the valve stem area (Fig. 1)

  • Work knobs a few times to distribute the lubricant
    - Valves that bind severely should be replaced

Valves:
Spiders have a habit of spinning webs inside the gas jets (also called orifices) which will restrict gas flow. Debris in the lines may also clog these tiny holes. Here are some guidelines to maintain your valves.

  • Check the hose connection at the valve for tightness (Fig 2). This can be checked with a soapy solution if needed

  • Remove the hex head from the gas jets (orifices) with the appropriate size wrench, and make sure the hole is completely clean
  • Check the inner portion of the valve from where the gas jets (orifices) was removed.
  • Webs can be removed with a small piece of wire or toothpick (Fig. 3)

  • Reinstall the gas jets (orifices) and tighten

How to Maintain your Grill Ignitors

Ignitors have heavy wear inside a gas-grill. Because these miniature “spark plugs” must be located on or at the burner they are in the fire when the gas-grill is in operation.

As the grounding surface of the burner becomes coated with grease and residue, the porcelain insulator on the electrode can crack from the heat.

If this occurs, the spark being transferred through the insulator will “bleed” from the crack, and ignition will occur only after a build-up of gas or not at all.

For safety reason, ignitors should be replaced when this occurs, and burner surfaces cleaned up in the ignitor area.

Burner portholes in this area should be kept clean and open. The spark gap between electrode and burner is about 3/16″.

An ignitor sends a high voltage along the wire to the ignitor electrode inside the collector box. The collector box collects gas which sparks the light.

If your grill has an ignitor that no longer works:

  • Check the connections at the push button itself, and at the spark collector box. These connections can become corroded (Fig. 1)

  • Now check the insulator in the collector box for cracks. Cracks collect moisture and reduce the spark, in which case will require replacement

  • Sand electrode tip inside the collector box
  • Clean electrode with alcohol

  • Lightly sand the inner roof of the collector box

If this information did not help you fix your ignitor, replacement will be necessary. Need further assistance? Please contact us.

How to Clean your Burner and Venturi


It’s a messy, but important job.

Regular cleaning will help your burner and venturi to last longer – because of the very high heat a burner is exposed to; salts, fats, and basting solutions that fall on it will wear it out.

In order to clean the burner and venturi you must remove the cooking grids, briquettes/rocks, grate, and finally the burner from the grill.

Preparation:

  • Spread some newspaper down to lay the gas grill parts on
  • Remove and set the cooking grids on this paper
  • Move the briquettes towards the center and away from the edges of the coal grate. This way you can lift the grate and lava rock or briquettes out together and set it on the newspaper
  • Remove the burner
    - The burner may or may not be locked to the bottom housing. If not, simply pull the venturi tubes away from the valves and gas jets (also called orifices) and lift out.

    - If the burner is secured, look for a spring dip, cotter pin, or a stud with a wing nut holding the burner to the bottom

    - If your grill is equipped with an ignitor and collector box attached to the burner, the wire must be also disconnected before burner removal


Cleaning your Venturi:

IMPORTANT! It’s extremely important to clean the venturi tubes of any obstructions such as spider webs, etc. This is most important at the start of the grilling season or any other time the grill has not been used for a while. A small web can block the gas flow and cause poor burner performance or a flash back fire.

  • A venturi brush should be used to clean the venturi tubes.
    - Special care should be taken to make sure the brush passes through any curve in the venturi tube.
  • You may also flush out the tubes with a strong flow of water from a garden hose.

TIP: A garden hose is a great way to check if the holes are clogged. Pay attention to how the water exits the burner port holes.

  • If the venturi tubes are rusted and broken up, then you will need new tubes or a new burner (depending on the assembly of your gas grill).

Cleaning your Burner:

Clogged holes can cause a grill to have hot and cold spots, which not only make it difficult to cook evenly, but also increases the chance of a shattering your glass window.

  • Check out the burner’s gas outlet ports around it’s perimeter for splits or separations of the top and bottom halves. A burner damaged this bad needs replacement, if no obvious external damage is present you can continue to clean the grill.
  • Brush the outer parts of the burner with a wire brush, especially the ports.
  • Using a flexible wire, an open paper clip, or a drill bit, probe each port to clear it of grime and rust.

    Caution: Do not use anything larger in diameter that the port itself, this will cause damage to the burning operations of your grill.

  • Now, lightly tap the burner, this will help cause any of the residue to fall out of the ports and tubes

Too many excessively obstructed ports that you cannot clear is a sign to replace the burner.

If you can clear the ports and the previous inspection and cleaning processes did not indicate burner failure, we can continue:

  • Check the gas jets at the end of the valves for spider webs, dirt, or dust. Clean them if necessary.
  • Assuming that the valves are turning and you have gas, the burner should be reinstalled into your grill and tested.

TIP: While you have the bottom of the aluminum casting exposed, take the opportunity to clean it the best you can by removing any gunk out with a putty knife, garden tool, etc.


Replacing your burner:

You should consider buying “better than original” cast iron burners. Cast iron burners heat up and become their own heat radiant source, cooking your food better. They also have a longer life span than stainless steel burners because of their heavy construction.

Are you ready for a shocker? Average grill quality you would buy in stores is actually declining! Each year grills are produced to meet a lower and lower price point. Quality is shaved off year after year. Burners are now aluminized steel no longer stainless steel, stampings replace heavy castings, large windows replace solid lids because glass is cheaper than aluminum. Gas grills produced 5, 10, or 15 years ago are actually worth 2 to 10 times or more than the original list price! Very few of the “bells & whistles” on newer grills are practical and can be added as accessories.

Finding Your Model and Manufacturer:

  • Look for the label that is required by the American Gas Association that will list the model number, manufacturer, and the type of gas specified for use. This label should be near the controls, or on the cart.
  • The location of this tag is generally on the body of the frame at ground level, it should be approximately at ankle height. However, if it is a built in grill the tag will most likely be on the post of your grill.
  • Additionally, you may also measure it from left to right, front to back.
  • You may order parts by browsing through our catalog or searching our site.

  • The venturi tubes should also be measured if you cannot find the label information.
  • - If the venturi tube has a bent mixer or a slope in it, then measure from the top to the center line of the tube, after the bend, and from the end to the center line of the tube. If dealing with a straight tube, just measure from top to bottom.

Why Do Glass Windows Break?

Have you ever had a glass window break for no apparent reason? Then replaced it, only to have it break again shortly after?

Unless your grill’s glass window has been broken due to an accident, you may be looking at a problematic burner. Due to gunk, rust, aging, or another reason, your burner holes can get corroded, causing a larger outlet of gas, turning into a hot spot in your grill. The problem is not only a safety hazard, but can also effect the quality of the cooking.

If your window breaks unexpectedly, always check your burner for corrosion or any other problems.

Important Tips on Grill Safety

If the grill has been stored for a period of time please read our maintenance posts especially the one on cleaning burners (checking for blockages) and checking hoses for signs of wear.

Grill Safety

If you smell gas, turn off the gas supply immediately. Extinguish any open flames. Check for gas leaks as described in our Leak Testing post. If odor persists, contact your dealer or gas supplier immediately.

  • Never attach or disconnect a LP cylinder, or move or alter gas fittings when the grill is in operation or is hot.
  • Never use an LP cylinder if it shows signs of: dents, gouges, bulges, fire damage, corrosion, leakage, excessive rust or other forms of visual external damage; it may be hazardous and should be checked by a liquid propane supplier.

When lighting a gas grill, always keep the lid open to prevent a flash off from gas build-up.

  • Do not lean over the grill when igniting the burners or cooking.
  • If a burner doesn’t ignite, turn off the gas. Keep the grill lid open and wait five minutes before trying to light it again.
  • If the burners go out during operation, turn all gas valves to OFF. Open the lid and wait five minutes before attempting to relight, using lighting instructions.

Keep children away from the hot grill, this also includes making sure children can’t grab utensils that are being used on the grill and may be hot or sharp.

  • The grill should have an adult by it at all times while it is in use, and while it is cooling.
  • The gas bottle should be removed from the grill when it is no longer in use; this prevents children accidentally turning controls on.
  • When changing gas bottles ensure that the valves on both bottles are turned to the off position
  • Do not attempt to move the grill while it is either still in use or still hot

To put out flare-ups, either raise the grid the food is on, or spread the coals out, or adjust the controls to lower the temperature.

  • If you must douse the flames with a light spritz of water, first remove the food from the grill.
  • Use baking soda to control a grease fire and have a fire extinguisher handy. A bucket of sand or a garden hose should be near if you don’t have a commercial extinguisher.
  • Do not use aerosols around the grill, as these may be flammable

Should electrically operated accessories (i.e. rotisseries, etc.) be used, be sure they are properly grounded in accordance with local codes. Electrical cords should be placed away from walkways.

  • Use long-handled grill utensils to avoid burns and splatters.
  • Do not wear loose or baggy clothing, wear a non flammable apron

Placement of the grill:

The grill should be sited on a stable, even surface, that is well ventilated and not underneath hanging branches or a roof, where heat and carbon monoxide fumes can build to dangerous levels,

It should be sited well away from the area in which children are going to play, so that it cannot be knocked over or run into by overexcited children.

Grills are designed for outdoor use only. Never grill in your trailer, tent, house, garage, or any enclosed area because carbon monoxide may accumulate and kill you.

Set up grill in an open area away from buildings, overhead combustible surfaces, dry leaves or brush. Be sure to avoid high traffic areas and always Grill in a well-ventilated area. Be aware of the wind blown sparks.

When using a grill be sure all parts of the unit are firmly in place and the grill is stable.