Spring has arrived and it is time to pull out the grill to get ready for delicious and tasty meals for both you and your family and friends. Over the years, propane grills have gained in popularity to become near ubiquitous all across the country, with more being sold every day.
Hooking up a propane grill is simple and easy but there are some important aspects that should be remembered by even the most seasoned griller. The same properties that make propane perfect for outdoor cooking are also the properties that make it dangerous if not handled properly or connected correctly to the grill.
No Pain Propane
Propane is a gas at regular atmospheric pressure but it can easily be compressed into a liquid and stored in pressurized bottles or tanks. It is a derivative of processing natural gas and thus it is a by product from this processing and thus it is inexpensive to produce. While it is a hydrocarbon chain like natural gas, it is chemically different.
Residential propane is usually a high concentration of propane, with small amounts of propene and other chemicals including chemical additives that function as an odorant to alert people to the presence of the gas. When burning, propane produces slightly more BTUs of heat than natural gas and it is heavier than air, unlike natural gas. This property is one of the contributing dangers of the gas, especially in grills.
Open The Lid and Keep It Open
When hooking up the gas tank or canister to the grill, make sure the lid is open. It needs to stay open all through the connection process. If there is a leak or some of the gas escapes while hooking up the tank, it can accumulate under the lid and when the grill is ignited cause an explosion.
Since the propane is heavier than air, it will seek the lowest section of your grill and it will remain until dissipated by the air.
Check First and Check Again
You now know to keep the lid open while installing and then lighting your grill but before you make the physical connection be sure to check your burners and hoses for any problems or corrosion.
Make sure the regulator is clear of debris and that all connections are solid with no pits in the metal and no rust. Check your burners for rust spots that might have eaten through the metal and make sure all lines are free and open with no kinks, bubbles or rough spots.
It is always a good idea to run your finger around the threads on both the regulator and the tank connection and make sure there are no metal burrs or slivers of metal that can get into the regulator. If any of the connections appear rusted or corroded, then they should be replaced.
If your hoses and burners are in good working order, you can attach the regulator to the tank or canister. Make sure the tank or canister valve is in the off position before making the connection and no gas is leaking from the tank.
Most regulators screw on to the tank thus it is easy to just screw the regulator onto the tank connection. Make sure it screws easily and does not require forcing. Do not use tools to screw the regulator to the tank. If you absolutely have to use a tool, use a nonmetallic tool to make the connection in order to prevent a spark.
Once the regulator is screw on, check and make sure all knobs and control features are in the off position. When you are satisfied the connection is complete and solid, slowly turn on the gas.
Listen To Your Grill
When turning on the gas, in many cases you can hear the gas leave the tank and enter the system. Listen carefully to your grill. If you hear hissing or gas escaping turn off the gas to the regulator and search for the leak.
If you smell the gas, turn off the gas immediately and move away, allowing, at least, five minutes before checking your grill again. Repeat as necessary until any and all leaks are identified and corrected.
Importantly, you should be able to tell the difference between the sound of the gas moving into the burner and the sound of gas escaping. If you are in doubt, turn off the gas and make your checks before proceeding again.
Lighting Your Grill
There are different ways to light a gas grill and it is best to follow any manufacturer recommendations concerning lighting your grill. If the burner does not immediately start, turn off the gas and wait at least five minutes before trying again. This is to prevent the gas from building up to a flash point. Also, as mentioned before, leave your grill lid open.
All gas grills come with instructions for hooking up the gas and how to light the grill. Be sure to read and follow all instructions and warning that are on your grill. Additionally, there are warning typically placed on the gas hose near the regulator. Be sure to read those as well.
While gas grill shares a lot in similarity, each one also has differences and, therefore, it is important to understand all the instructions for your specific model. Propane is easy to use and an excellent way to grill food.
There is no reason to be fearful of hooking up a propane tank, just be sure to follow all the manufacturer guidelines and you will fine and on your way to a delicious meal.