Why Is It Important to Check Your Gas Lines Before Grilling

Posted September 21, 2022 by in Lifestyle

When it comes to summer events, barbecuing is often one of the most well-known activities that everyone loves. With just a bit of fire, you can create all sorts of great dishes, whether it’s vegan, vegetarian or even just a simple pork roast. And with the different kinds of grills and how each one works differently, no two steaks need to be the same.

Propane grills are often one of the most popular kinds of grills due to the main fact that they are much quicker to start and use. This also means that the grills are far more beginner friendly, allowing people with less experience with outdoor cooking get the hang of it first. However, gas grills are a little more prone to malfunctions or problems due to the complexity of the appliance. Due to the need for propane gas as a fuel source, the chance for leaks can increase. 

Though the chances are very rare, a small gas leak can lead to a fire or – in some occasions – an explosion. That’s why it’s important to make sure that there aren’t any gas leaks before you fire up your barbecue. If you’ve found a gas leak and need to get a replacement, or you just want to get a new grill, Dickson BBQ has everything you might need.

How propane grills work

Propane grills are a surprisingly simple appliance. In order to work, a tank of propane gas – as the name suggests – is connected with a tube to the grill’s burners or another part that directs the gas to them. In order to ignite the gas, many propane grills also have an igniter button and a knob that regulates how much gas is released. To ensure safety, both the tank and the grill’s knobs are shut to prevent any accidental ignitions or rare explosions.

To start the grill, the tank’s valve needs to be turned on, sometimes completely open. From there, it’s recommended to turn the grill on to the lowest setting and leave the lid open before pushing the igniter. If your grill is in great working condition, it should only take a single push for the flames to start and you can then increase the heat settings to what you need to cook at. In other cases, you might need to push the igniter a few more times before it does start.

Why you should check for gas leaks

Propane is a highly flammable gas, which makes it one of the best things to use if you want to make a grill that can quickly start and cook foods. However, this is only because propane grills are built to have a tight level of control over how much gas is being used.

Checking for any leaks is important for two different reasons, one of which is making sure that everything is safe and the gas is under control. If the propane leaks into the air, it should simply dissipate into the air. However, if a heat source gets too close to where the leak is coming from, the gas can catch on fire and even cause the tank to explode.

For a far less dangerous and deadly reason, the leak can also mean that you have less gas to work with. This is typically what happens with far smaller leaks, meaning that your only issue is likely your grill not working the way is should be without the leak. For instance, it may be something as simple as your grill taking far too many pushes of the igniter to start, and even then, the flames aren’t as strong as they need to be.

How to find a gas leak

If you suspect that you have a gas leak on your grill but aren’t sure where it is, there is a simple test you can do. In order to do so safely, you’ll need to make sure that the grill is set somewhere away from any open flames, heat or anything that can start a fire. Additionally, make sure that the spot is also properly ventilated, since you’ll need the gas to be on.

Start by making a mix of 50% water and 50% dishwashing soap into a spray bottle. With all the knobs in their ‘off’ positions, open the grill’s lid and open the propane tank’s valve by a single turn. If you use natural gas, turn that on instead. Spray the solution onto any hoses, connections, the regulator and the tank itself. Anywhere that the gas flows to or from and any connections should be checked. Finally, check for any spots with growing bubbles or rapid bubbling.

How to repair the leak

Depending on where the leak is coming from, the methods needed to repair them can change. A leak coming from the grill’s tubes can be patched with a self-fusing silicone tape or can just be replaced entirely. If the hose wasn’t properly connected, make sure to properly attach them before checking again

If the leak seems to be coming from the valves or the tank, tighten all the valves and connection points first. Often, a loose valve may be the cause of the leak. However, if you test it again and the bubbles still form, it’s important that you take it to a professional and get a new one if needed. Trying to repair the tank yourself is especially dangerous.

Propane, under the right and well controlled conditions, is a highly useful gas for grilling. When burned, it can reach high heat levels at a faster speed than charcoal or wood can. However, if anything happens to the connections or the tank itself, grilling can become incredibly dangerous. Propane is highly reactive to the slightest heat and the gas itself can be deadly if inhaled. Often, the leaks aren’t caused by anything too severe and a tightened valve or a replaced tube might be all you need. If it isn’t though, getting professional help is the best idea.

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