Gas grills are wonderful tools for making delicious, quick and easy meals. A grill is a simple piece of equipment, but when it malfunctions, it can be difficult to troubleshoot and can put a damper on your picnic or cookout. If you notice declining function or a lowered level of propane gas in your tank, your grill might have a leak.
Check Grill Hoses
If you suspect a gas grill leak, the first things to check are the grill's hoses. Make them tightly connected to the grill itself, and check if they are brittle, bent, kinked or cracked. Any holes or abrasions can cause a leak, as well. If any of these problems are present, you can replace the gas hoses yourself. Close the tank and turn the grill off before disconnecting the hoses. You can purchase replacement hoses at a home improvement store or from the grill manufacturer.
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Check the Tank Valve
The valve of the gas tank may also be the cause of a grill leak. Since propane gas is invisible to the eye, you will need a simple mixture of water and liquid detergent to test the valve. Apply a small amount of this solution to the valve of the gas tank with a soft-bristled brush or a spray bottle. Slowly turn on the gas. If small bubbles appear in the solution, the valve may be leaking. Try tightening the connections and repeat the test. If you observe bubbling once again, you will need to replace the tank valve or get a new tank. This is something best left to a professional, so don't try to repair a tank valve yourself.
Check the Gas Tank
Problems with the gas tank itself can also be at the root of a gas grill leak. Examine the exterior of the tank for signs of rust, dents, bulges, corrosion punctures or other damage. You should not attempt to repair the tank yourself. Instead, bring it to a propane gas supplier for maintenance or replacement.
Natural Gas (Plumbed) Grills
If you have a natural gas grill connected directly to a natural gas source, rather than a traditional gas grill using a propane tank, you need to troubleshoot a leak a bit differently. Be sure to turn off all natural gas supply lines before beginning your investigation.
You can check the regulator for your natural gas line, usually attached with an o-ring with a small vent hole in the center. At times, this vent hole may become clogged. If this occurs, gas can flow unevenly to your grill and cause reduced performance. Simply blowing air into the hole with your mouth should be enough to clean out this vent hole.
The fuel hose may also be faulty in the case of natural gas grills. To check this connection, repeat the water and liquid soap solution test as outlined above. Apply the solution to the entire hose and to any valves. Once again, if small bubbles appear, you likely have a leak.
If these tests do not reveal the source of the leak, you should call in a professional to examine your grill. Elevated levels of both propane and natural gas can cause severe health problems if breathed in, so leaving repair work to an experienced maintenance technician is a good idea. You can mitigate issues like leaks by having your grill serviced annually by a professional.