A Serious Warning About Gas Grill Fires

Imagine you have guests over for a dinner party and you walk back out with your steaks to find your Grill shooting flames all over. You sense that something's not right, the grill looks to be on fire, and all you were doing was preheating it. You quickly go to turn the grill off and the knobs are melting, you realize it's too late and even worst the fire has started to take your deck around you...

Welcome to my Blog. My name is Ed McDonald and I am the owner of Casual Furniture and Grill Services. I have worked in the patio industry since 1982 and my service company repairs patio furniture and gas grills.

I started this blog in the hope of sharing my vast experience with our customers and hopefully future customers in understand how problems with their patio furniture and grills can be mitigated or resolved simply and easily. 

As time permits I will post weekly on problems I see or reported to me by my staff of service technicians. In addition, I will try to answer as many questions posted by consumers about their grill and patio furniture as time permits. 

The first of my postings will deal with one of the more dangerous problem, gas grill fires. (This does not cover flare-ups from cooking fatty food). 

Two problems cause most grill fires.

  1. First is a buildup of grease in the grease tray or inside the grill’s firebox (Grill Head)
  2. The other the burners have become misaligned, separated from the gas valves or insects have built a nest inside the burner tube. 

All Gas Grill Manufacturers recommend emptying the grease tray at every 3-5 uses. Grease can ignite just from the high temperatures while cooking or from flare ups while cooking very fatty foods. In addition grease will buildup on the surfaces of the firebox (Grill Head) grease can be a hazard to your grill. I recommend going online and viewing some of the great videos about cleaning grease off your grill.  

Flashback fire is where flames a shooting out from under or inside the control panel also you might see flames coming out from the burner portals inside the firebox.  Here are some causes: 

  • If you live in a very wood area check for insects woven nests.
  • Most freestanding grills are on wheels, make sure they are lock to prevent rolling and falling over
    • If your grill has fallen over, most manufacturer’s recommend having your grill inspected

Share your story of a grease fire and if possible a picture of the damages. My staff will select the best story and that person will receive a free Preventive Maintenance service call.

Rules: 

  • Gas Grill must be functioning. 
  • The Gas Grill must be on the list of grill manufacturers we service (That’s a lot of grills)
  • The grill must be in our service areas
  • Gas Grill cannot be inside the home
  • No Commercial grills

Grill Maintenance Tips

After fixing client's grills for so many years, we created a helpful list of grill maintenance tips:

  • Read your Owner's Manual before using your grill.
  • Never place aluminum foil on the grates; this will restrict airflow and damage the grill.
  • Brush olive oil on the grates before placing food on them to help keep food from sticking.
  • Clean the drip pan or grease tray often to prevent grease fires or flare-ups.
  • Burn off any fat left on the grates by running the grill on high for about 10 minutes.
  • Insure that your grill is level; grease can run into one corner and overflow.
  • Tie your grill down during windy conditions if it is on wheels.
  • Cover your grill when not in use, but not if it is still hot.
  • Clean the electrodes on the igniters about once a month.
  • If your grill has been dormant for the winter, make sure to clean out the Ventura tubes (the first part of the burners).
  • Use a pipe brush for cleaning and always make sure that the gas is off beforehand.
  • Check often for Spider Webs in the burners if you live in a wooded area.
  • Never store Propane Tanks indoors, in your garage, or in an enclosed porch.
  • If switching to a larger LP tank, have a Professional Gas Technician do the setup.
  • Make sure all the knobs are turned off before removing and replacing an LP tank.
  • Natural Gas Grills should have a cutoff valve on the outside of the house.
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