Grilling season is upon us. I get all sorts of questions from customers, and would be thrilled to share some common do’s and don’ts when it comes to your outdoor gas grill.
1) Most common grill repairs
Q: Why is my grill not getting hot enough?
A: Debris/grease clogged burners, corroded out burners, debris clogged orafice, bad regulator hose.
Q: Why is the grill hot in spots but not in others (uneven flame/heat)?
A: Rusted out burners, grease clogged burners, flavor bar/heat shield corrosion, ceramic briquette deterioration
Q: Why has my ignitor stopped working?
A: Battery needs replaced, corroded collector box and/or electrode, spark button fails
Q: Why did the fire come back through the knobs/control panel?
A: Cob web debris in burner, grease clogged burners
2) Average grill repair costs
Quality Grill charges $75.00 for a service call, which would include clearing out debris from burners, valves, and orafices, checking regulator hoses and testing and verifying all gas passageways.
Burners come in all different shapes and sizes and range from $55-$200
Replacement ceramic briquettes are $15.00 a bag
Cooking grids, heat shields, burners and ignitors are all parts that will likely be replaced every few years. The life of the grill can be greatly extended with annual inspection, cleaning and parts replacement.
Quality Grill charges $125-$175 for a total grill service. This service includes the above mentioned grill inspection, burner cleaning, valve and orafice cleaning, cleaning entire grill including cooking grids, racks, rotisserie, shelves, tank inspection, regulator hose inspection/natural gas hose and connection inspection.
3) Common mistakes made by homeowners
• Not using oil and grill brush.
We want to grill the food, not char the food. Keeping the cooking surfaces lightly lubricated with olive oil, and always brushing grids before and after grilling ensures clean, non-stick surfaces. Excess food and grease fall naturally into the grease tray below, rather than sticking to the cooking surface.
• Improper propane tank handling.
Propane tank use is very common with gas grills. The tank should be turned off when the grill is not being used. When changing the tank, always be careful not to twist or kink the hose. All gas control knobs on the grill should be off when the tank is engaged, one knob in the “on” position can throw a regulator off and result in a substantially lower gas output. Also, it is imperative to turn off the grill after each use. A grill accidentally left on overnight or for a period of days can be catastrophic to the interior parts, and grill body itself.
• Replacing ceramic briquettes.
When briquettes work and perform they are great. They retain and radiate heat, they provide some flavor from past cooking. But once they become brittle, they need to be replaced. A good test: if you can crumble a briquette or break it with your hand, its time! A nice way to extend the life and get more flavor – flip the briquettes every 5 or 6 grillings.
• Not using a grill cover
This one is a no-brainer. The cover protects the grill, paint etc. But the most important thing it protects is valves and nuts and bolts from weather and rain. Its not always necessary to break the bank on a cover either, a simple grill cover with a drawstring can be found at kmart walmart and the like for about $20.
4) Fire up the grill
Q: Its time to dust off the grill, any do it yourself tips?
A: My top five would be: empty out the grease tray, turn all knobs and controls – if anything seems tight lubricate with oil, top off or exchange for new propane tank, replace old deteriorated briquettes, grill brush top and bottom of cooking grids.
Q: We need a new gas grill, the old one is seen its last days …
A: There are lots of gas grills to choose from. The best logic when shopping gas grills – 3 things. Buy a brand that will be around awhile. Look for good warranties on parts, like I mentioned you will be replacing parts, its a fact. Go for quality, not quantity. You dont need 3 side burners, lights, 8 burners, and 10 drawers. Quality, think stainless steel not porcelain coated, pay the extra the first time and invest in your grill, it will return the favor and the flavor everytime. Happy Grilling!