Your Well-Done Guide to Troubleshooting a Grill That Won’t Stay Lit
The side dishes are ready, the drinks are served, and everything is all set for your big cookout. Now all that’s left to do is fire up the grill and throw on the meat — except your grill isn’t staying lit! Fortunately, with a little bit of troubleshooting, you should be able to get your grill going in no time. Check out a few common reasons why your grill may be giving you grief and how to troubleshoot them.
Why Won’t My Charcoal Grill Stay Lit?
First on the list is a charcoal grill. The function of your charcoal grill is relatively simple. It relies on constant airflow to feed the charcoal and keep it lit, whether you’re using briquettes or hardwood lump charcoal. A charcoal grill that isn’t staying lit is likely not getting enough airflow from the underside of the grill.
Before lighting your charcoal grill, check to ensure the bottom and top air vents are open to allow airflow. If either of your vents are rusted or stuck closed, it may be time to replace your charcoal grill to ensure that it is operating safely.
My charcoal won’t stay lit.
While charcoal needs air to stay lit, it also needs enough heat to burn properly. You can douse your charcoal in lighter fluid to light it. However, lighter fluid can be toxic if consumed and may leach chemicals into the air while first burning off.
For a safer method, use quality charcoal and a chimney starter to light it. Once the charcoal is hot enough, pour the charcoal into your grill and ensure the vents are open enough to continue providing airflow.
My Gas Cooker Grill Won’t Stay Lit
Just like a charcoal grill, your gas grill needs fuel to stay lit. If your gas grill lights but won’t stay lit, first check the amount of fuel in your propane tank using the gauge on your grill or propane tank. If your grill or propane tank doesn’t have a level indicator, you can remove the tank and pour hot water down the side of the tank. Run your hand down along the outside of the tank until you feel cold. The propane inside the tank will absorb the heat, keeping the outside of the tank cold to the touch. If your propane level is too low and your gas grill isn’t staying lit, it’s time to refill your propane tank.
My propane tank is full, but my grill still won’t light.
If your propane tank is full but your gas grill won’t light at all, there may be an issue with your pilot burner or spark plug. Once propane is pumped through the lines and out of the grill burners, the pilot burner ignites the fuel to get the grill lit. If this component is broken, you can use a match or a lighter to light the propane. If this does the trick, it’s time to replace your grill’s pilot burner.
Be aware when using this method, however. If the gas has been on for some time while you’ve been trying to light it, it may have built up inside the grill, which could cause a burst of flame when you light it manually. To be safe, turn off the gas for a couple of minutes to let the gas dissipate around the grill, then turn it back on and manually light the grill.
My propane tank is full, but my grill isn’t staying lit.
Your tank is full, and your pilot burner is working, but your grill won’t seem to stay lit. Perhaps it dies when you close the lid or just slowly fizzles out while you’re cooking. Either way, it’s frustrating! A grill that won’t stay lit for long could be caused by a clogged burner, a stuck regulator, or a faulty regulator valve or hose.
To check for clogged burners, remove the grill grates and flavor bars or burner covers to expose the burners. Check for food debris, grease, etc., that has built up inside the holes of the burners. Remove any buildup by scrubbing the burners gently with a wire grill brush.
The grill’s regulator keeps too much propane from pumping to the burners. If the regulator is stuck, it will stay closed and keep enough propane from making it to the burners. If this is the case, it’s best to have a professional repair a faulty regulator to ensure your grill operates safely. If your grill’s regulator valve or hose is faulty, you may need to have it replaced.
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