Category Archives: Safety

Troubleshooting Low Heat or Weak Flame on Weber Gas Grills

Low temp condition in Weber gas grill

You fire-up your Weber gas grill and it’s not coming up to temp like it normally does and the flames don’t look right. Here are the things you should be looking at to troubleshoot and solve this problem.

Check The Fuel Level

If the heat and flame pattern in your grill seem low and you’ve got a propane grill, your first instinct is probably to check the fuel level of the tank. That’s a good start…maybe it’s time for a propane tank refill.

Clean Or Replace The Burners

Remove the cooking grates and Flavorizer bars and check the condition of the burners. They may be clogged with cooking debris or corrosion. The burner holes can usually be cleaned and cleared and returned to good working order. In the worst case scenario, the burners may need to be replaced. You should also check the spider screens to make sure nothing is blocking them.

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Protecting Your Grill From Theft

Bob Correll on The Virtual Weber Bulletin Board has an idea for protecting your high-priced Weber gas grill from theft that involves deception.

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But seriously, grill theft does happen and there are steps you can take to protect your investment in Weber quality.

I once lived in an apartment complex where my Weber Genesis 2 was situated on a patio in front of my unit, behind an unlocked gate just a few steps from a common walkway. I could just imagine someone rolling off with my grill while I was away at work.

As a deterrent, I drilled a hole in the concrete patio and installed a lag shield anchor and large eye bolt. I secured the grill frame to the eye bolt using a beefy bicycle cable and padlock.

My grill was never stolen. I know my solution wasn’t perfect, that locks and cables can be cut, but it did make theft more difficult and it felt better than doing nothing at all. And when I moved out of that apartment, it was easy to remove the eye bolt and anchor and no one noticed the hole in the concrete patio. If I’d been thinking, I would have filled the hole with concrete caulk and made it disappear completely.

So give some thought to your grill security situation and come up with a solution that’s right for you. It may involve simply moving your grill to a more secure location on your property. It may involve a cable and lock like I used. Or maybe you’ll come up with your own innovative solution. If so, I hope you’ll share it here and on The Virtual Weber Bulletin Board so we can all learn how to keep our grills safe and secure.

Checking For Gas Leaks

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Anytime you disconnect and reconnect a gas fitting in your Weber gas grill, you should check for gas leaks. Gas fittings include the connections between:

  • Propane tank or NG supply to regulator
  • Regulator to hose
  • Gas line to manifold and optional side burner
  • Manifold to control valves

To access some of these connections, you may need to disassemble part of the control panel. See your grill’s owners manual to identify each connection and learn how to access them.

To check for leaks, confirm that all burners are turned off, including any side burner. Turn on the propane or NG supply. Do not light the burners during the test.

Make a solution of dishwashing liquid and water. Using a brush or cloth, wet each gas fitting with the soapy solution. If you see bubbles forming, there is a leak. Turn off the gas supply, tighten the connection and retest with the soapy solution. If the leak persists after tightening the connection, do not operate the grill and contact a Weber dealer for assistance or call Weber Customer Service at 800-446-1071.

With the testing complete, turn off the gas supply and carefully rinse each gas fitting with clean water to remove any soapy residue that might corrode the connections.

Replace Your Old Grill Brush

Weber 6493 21-inch 3-sided grill brush
Weber 6493 21-inch 3-sided grill brush

In July 2012, the Centers for Disease Control published an article about injuries resulting from the ingestion of wire bristles from grill brushes. The story was reported widely in the press at the time and caused quite a bit of concern about the safety of grill brushes, and rightly so, since wires can become lodged in the throat or intestines and cause severe pain.

It’s important to check the condition of your grill brush often. If bristles are coming off the brush head, or you’re finding stray bristles inside the grill, it’s time for a new brush. It’s common to not notice anything until you clean-out the inside of your grill and find the bottom filled with little pieces of wire.

Also, after preheating the grill and brushing the grates, spend a few seconds examining the grates. If you find stray bristles on the surface, carefully remove them before placing food on the grill…and then toss that old brush in the trash!

Just to be safe, Weber recommends that you replace your grill brush each spring to avoid any problems. The Weber 6493 21″ 3-Sided Grill Brush is one of the best and is highly recommended by members of The Virtual Weber Bulletin Board.

The Weber 6493 21″ 3-Sided Grill Brush is available at Amazon.com

Recycling A Propane Tank

Recycling a propane tank at a hazardous materials center
Recycling a propane tank at a hazardous materials center

As a conclusion to my posts Turn Off The Gas Supply and Expired Propane Tanks, I wanted to say a few words about how to properly recycle a propane tank.

You cannot just toss that tank in the trash. It’s bad on two counts. One is that it’s considered hazardous material. Another is that it contains a lot of good steel that can be recycled into your next propane tank or gas grill!

Here’s the right way to lose that old tank:

  1. Contact your local garbage hauler. They can tell you where to drop-off your old tank.
  2. Contact your city or county hazardous materials department. Where I live, the county sponsors free drop-off locations where they accept old propane tanks along with other hazardous household materials.
  3. Go to the place where you have your tank refilled and ask if they will accept old tanks for recycling.
  4. Contact the tank manufacturer. They may be able to tell you about a recycling location near you.
  5. Contact a scrap metal recycler to see if they will accept old tanks for recycling.
  6. You can drop-off tanks for recycling at any Blue Rhino exchange location. Just write RECYCLE on the tank. They will collect and refurbish the tank, is possible, otherwise they will recycle it.

Expired Propane Tanks

I recently posted an item called Turn Off The Gas Supply in which I discussed the importance of doing just that each time you finish grilling. In that post, I showed this photo of a typical 20 lb. propane tank that I got from Wikimedia Commons:

20lb propane tank

Notice anything special about this tank? Let’s take a closer look.

Close-up of expired propane tank

See that number “01-99” stamped into the valve guard? That’s the manufacturing date of this tank—January 1999.

Propane tanks can be refilled for up to 12 years after their manufacturing date. For this tank, that was until the end of January 2011. After that date, reputable propane dealers will not refill the tank unless it has been recertified. You can get tanks recertified for a fee at larger commercial propane dealers. Recertified tanks get an additional stamp or mark on the valve guard and can be used for an additional 5 years, at which time they need to be recertified again.

What causes a tank to fail recertification? Extensive rust is one thing. And if valve requirements have changed by law,  you may need to have the valve replaced in order to recertify.

Why do I know anything about this subject? Because last year I took a tank to the A-1 Rental Center near my home for a refill and was told that they would refill it one last time, but next time they would not because it had expired. Surprise!

Of course, this issue is not relevant if you do the tank exchange thing at the supermarket, gas station, or big box store. Tank exchange is very convenient, but at least where I live, if you do the math, it’s cheaper to own a tank and refill it over 12 years than it is to do tank exchange, so that’s the route I have chosen.

But when my tank expired, I decided it wasn’t worth the hassle of trying to find a place to recertify it and pay the fee, so I just bought a new tank.

Now…how to get rid of an old propane tank? That’s coming up in a future post.

Turn Off The Gas Supply

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You do turn off the gas supply when you’re finished grilling, don’t you? If not,  you should. Weber says so.

Why? It takes the pressure off the hose, valves, and connections inside your grill. If any of those parts were to fail, you’d have a potentially dangerous gas leak on your hands.

“But my grill is well maintained,”  you say. When was the last time you used a soapy water solution to check each valve and connection for leaks? When was the last time you examined every inch of the supply hose for cracks or wear?

“But I don’t turn off the gas supply to my kitchen stove after each use, and that’s inside my house,” you say. Your kitchen stove and other indoor gas appliances are designed to operate under continuous gas pressure. Your grill is not.

Remember, the manufacture is recommending that you turn off the gas supply after each use. Maybe you should follow their advice. Why take any chance at all when it’s so easy to reach down and turn a knob?

Is there a proper sequence for turning off the gas? Weber says to turn each burner control knob to the OFF position first, then turn the gas supply off at the source. The next time you cook, follow the safe lighting process by reversing those steps.

How To Safely Light A Gas Grill

Push button gas grill ignitionThere was a story in the news a few days ago about a gas grill explosion in Florida that injured two people and scared many more in the surrounding apartment complex. We see stories like this every year as we approach summer and the peak grilling season.

It’s probably been a while since you read the owner’s manual that came with your Weber gas grill. (You did read it…right?) Here are some generic instructions for lighting a gas grill. Please consult the owner’s manual for your grill for safe lighting instructions.

  1. Open the lid.
  2. Make sure all burner control knobs are turned OFF.
  3. Turn on the gas to the grill. Wait a few seconds before proceeding to allow gas to fill the valve system.
  4. Turn the appropriate burner control knob to the START/HIGH position (Terminology may be different for your particular grill).
  5. Push the ignition button to light the grill. If your grill has a mechanical button, you should press it several times so it clicks each time. If your grill has a battery-operated lighter, just hold the button down.
  6. Check that the burner is lit.
  7. If the burner does not light, turn all burner control knobs to OFF and wait 5 minutes to let the gas clear before you try again or try to light with a match.

Failure to open the lid while lighting, or not waiting 5 minutes to allow gas to clear if the grill does not light, may result in an explosion that can cause serious bodily injury or death.

I strongly recommend that you find your owner’s manual, dust it off, and familiarize yourself again with the safe operation of your grill. If you can’t find your manual, you can download a copy at Weber.com.