If your gas grill won’t get hot, it’s time to troubleshoot. There’s nothing more frustrating than having all your food set up and ready to cook, just to discover that your grill isn’t even hot. After experiencing this ourselves, we started looking for a solution. As it turns out, several issues could cause a low flame in a gas grill. Let’s dive into troubleshooting right away.
How to troubleshoot a gas grill that won’t get hot
If your gas grill doesn’t get as hot as it used to, you’ll have to inspect the grill to determine the cause of the problem. Multiple things could cause a low flame, and it’s important that you get to the bottom of this. Maybe there’s a leak somewhere, or the burners are no longer attached properly.
In this guide we focus on general troubleshooting, and it should work for most gas grills on the market. If in doubt, we recommend calling the manufacturer.
#0 Safety first
The user must observe proper safety measures prior to troubleshooting. We strongly recommend that you turn off the tank valve and disconnect the tank, before doing any work on the grill. If the grill has been turned on, make sure it’s completely cooled down before taking it apart. Give it five minutes for the gas to dissipate before troubleshooting, and never turn it on while inside.
#1 Check for gas leaks
Checking for gas leaks is an easy task that doesn’t require a big pile of equipment.
Step 1 – Inspect all hoses on your grill. Look for any signs of wear and tear: Cracks, holes, or tears. Anything that looks out of the ordinary, should give you a reason of concern.
Step 2 – Inspect your gas cylinder for dents, rust, punctures, or any other type of visually identifiable damage to external parts. If your gas cylinder is old and shows signs of wear and tear, it could be leaking.
Step 3 – Mix equal parts of water and liquid detergent, and use a soft brush to apply the solution to the gas tank, valve, and hose. Make sure the valve is turned on and the system pressurized while applying the solution. If any bubbles are produced, you may have a gas leak.
Step 4 – Turn off the valve, and avoid using your grill until you’ve received a proper spare part for the system.
#2 Avoid windy areas
Although gas grills are strictly to be used outside for obvious reasons, they may not function properly under windy conditions.
One way to determine if the area is too windy for your gas grill to get properly hot, is by listening to the flames. If your flames sound like they’re flickering, it’s a sign that strong winds are entering the grill and cooling it down.
A strong wind gust could even cause the flames to go out. If the flames go out and you’re unsure how long your grill has been turned off, gas could have built up and cause a small explosion if you turn it on immediately. We recommend shutting off the grill for a few minutes and letting the gas dissipate, before turning it on again.
One way to keep your gas grill going on a windy day is by moving it to another part of the yard with less wind, or setting up a wall to shield the grill from strong wind gusts.
#3 Inspect the regulator and try resetting it
If your gas grill is in perfect condition but still doesn’t get as hot as it used to, it may have gone into “bypass” mode. This is a safety mechanism designed by Weber, but the mechanism has been federally mandated since 1995. The purpose of this mechanism is to detect gas leaks, which is why the gas flow will be reduced to about 10 % of the normal volume.
Although your gas regulator may have gone bad for one reason or another, it’s worth inspecting it instead of tossing it. First, go back to step #1 and perform a gas leak check on your regulator. If no leaks are detected, try resetting it.
Resetting your gas regulator is actually very easy:
Step 1 – First, you want to open the lid of your gas grill. Then check the control knobs. They should all be turned off.
Step 2 – Turn on the gas supply by opening the valve on top of your tank.
Step 3 (and this is important) – Wait for 10-15 seconds for pressure to build up in the hose. When pressure starts building, the safety mechanism is pushed back into place to allow a full gas flow.
Step 4 – Now you can light the main burners and set them to high, then close the lid. After 10-15 minutes, your gas grill should be scorching hot.
For a video guide, check this video tutorial from Weber.
For additional information, check this article: How to Tell if a Propane Regulator Is Bad
#4 Check for rust and damage on components
If you’re like me and live in an area with cold winters and hot summers, your gas grill is probably not used much during the winter. Over time your burners may develop rust, or components could get damaged during storage/transportation.
One dead giveaway that your gas grill lacks maintenance, is if the flames turn yellow. Gas burners are not supposed to have yellow flames, instead they should have blue, uniform flames with little to no sound.
We know that rust develops from moisture as well as food residue, especially if you’ve been grilling acidic foods. Follow the steps below to check for rust and damage, and learn how to prolong the life of your gas grill.
Step 1 – Remove your grill grates, and inspect your burners. They should be clean and intact with no cracks or flaky surfaces.
Step 2 – If your burners are covered by heat plates to protect against flare-ups, make sure to check those as well. They should at least be clean and free from dust/dirt/ashes.
Step 3 – Brush off the components using a nylon brush, and make sure every component is installed properly.
Step 4 – After completing the inspection of the burner components, we recommend igniting the grill and letting it heat up for at least 10 minutes. This step should be done after each use, in order to burn off any leftover grease and moisture.
Step 5 – While the gas grill is still hot, you can brush off the charred remains with a wire brush.
#5 Check for blockage in orifices and burners
If part of your gas grill won’t get hot, it’s time to inspect the orifices and burners close-up. A spider may have chosen to move into the burner tubes, or dust found its way into the ports and restricted the flow of gas. Nonetheless, a blockage lowers the performance and could ultimately reduce the temperature inside your gas grill.
Below is an easy way to check for a blockage in orifices and burners.
Step 1 – As a safety precaution, we recommend turning off the gas tank and valves before disconnecting the tank completely.
Step 2 – Make sure to check the user’s manual for tips on how to properly take the burners apart and put them back in.
Step 3 – Use a special burner cleaning rod or a small nylon bottle brush to clean out any dust and debris inside the burner tubes, and clean out the burner orifice as well.
Step 4 – Scrub the outside of your burners as well, to loosen and remove any dust and dirt that may have clogged the little holes and limit the gas flow.
We recommend doing this at least 3-4 times every year, especially during months where your gas grill hasn’t been used much.
Things you might need
Troubleshooting a gas grill that won’t get hot doesn’t require a lot of tools. A few household items are still required though, and below is a list of things needed.
- Liquid dish soap (+ water mixed 50/50. Useful when inspecting for a leakage).
- Spray bottle (useful when applying the soapy solution).
- Orifice cleaning tool or small wire (for cleaning the orifice).
- Small diameter bottle brush (for cleaning the burner tubes).
- Nylon brush for cleaning and removing dust and debris.
How can you get more heat out of the gas grill?
If your gas grill just doesn’t get hot enough although you’ve done proper troubleshooting, you might have to make a few adjustments or modifications to increase the heat. Doing so is at your own risk, and should be done with caution.
Option 1: Seek advice
Asking the manufacturer for advice should always be your first priority. The manufacturer is likely able to help you with your problem, and they may have a solution for your problem that doesn’t involve any semi-dangerous “hacks”.
Another great idea is to join a Facebook group about gas grills (or grilling in general), and seek advice from experienced members.
Option 2: Use lava rocks
According to Chowhound, a bag of lava rocks could increase the heat to a constant 500 degrees Fahrenheit or more (source).
Obviously lava rocks can get VERY hot, and they’re great at retaining heat. They’ll add more mass to your gas grill, and more heat will be radiated towards whatever you’re cooking.
If your gas grill doesn’t get properly hot, this could be worth trying before getting a completely new grill.
Option 3: Use grill bricks
Grill bricks work the same way as lava stone, but they’re easier to organize due to their size and shape.
Grill bricks are great heat conductors, and they’ll radiate a lot of heat from the burners below and straight towards your meats and other foods placed on the grate above.
With this solution you’ll not only distribute the heat better over the entire surface of your gas grill, but also retain heat after the lid has been opened.
This is great news for those of us who like to lift the lid once in a while to check on our food.