Troubleshooting Common Grill Problems

Troubleshooting Common Grill Problems

Family and friends are gathered for a great evening which includes the star of the show – the food. You can see it on your guests’ faces. The excitement for burgers, franks and that perfectly grilled steak. Then something goes terribly wrong. The flames are too low, too high, erratic or non-existent.

Before you change up the menu at the last minute and serve steak tartare, we’re here to help troubleshoot some common problems when it comes to grilling.


Follow these tips to keep your grill running smoothly all year round:



Does the grill start but not heat up past 200-250 degrees?  When this happens, there is one common reason that involves a safety feature added to gas grills since 1995.  Gas grill regulators have a flow restrictor that easily trips upon sensing a gas leak.  But, it can also be triggered by turning the cylinder valve on too quickly or turning the cylinder valve on when the knobs are in the “on” position. Also, if you’ve installed aftermarket burners, they often don’t generate the same amount of heat as what came with the grill.



  • Reset by turning the cylinder valve off. 
  • Turn all burner knobs off. 
  • Remove regulator from tank. (It is now re-set) 
  • Reconnect regulator to tank.
  • When preparing to grill, always turn the cylinder valve on very slowly for the first ¼ turn. Turning the cylinder valve on too quickly releases an initial burst of pressure that can trip the system and activate the flow control safety device. 
  • Check for insects or nests that could be blocking the burner tube. 
  • Ensure the burners are properly attached to the grill.


The most common cause of the burners not lighting is a problem with the ignitor itself. In many cases, you can probably light the burners with a match but not with the ignitor. 

Some grills have an independent ignition for each burner and some have a single ignitor that lights all the burners at once. There are also two different types of ignitors; push-button or battery powered. If you have the battery type, try replacing the batteries.



  • Ensure push button is not broken or wet.
  • Check to see if the propane tank is empty.
  • Check to see if any wires or switches are broken or frayed.
  • Check to see if the ceramic electrode is broken, blocked, or out of alignment.
  • Ensure batteries do not need replacing.
  • Check for obstruction in the venturi tubes.
  • Ensure all burners are sitting flat and level in the barbecue and the venturi tube (tube that extends from the burner to the control valve) is properly seated over the orifice on the valve.
  • Ensure the ignitor isn’t clogged. 
  • Ensure all burners have been thoroughly cleaned.
  • Ensure the cylinder valve is turned on and the regulator assembly is fully tightened to the cylinder valve.


Sometimes the burners will light just fine, but partially through the grilling process, the flames extinguish without warning. 



  • Ensure the grill is sufficiently preheated
  • Ensure all venturi tubes (tube that extends from the burner to the control valve) are properly seated over the orifice on the valve.
  • Ensure all venturi tubes and orifices are clear and clean. Check for insects that have made a home in the tube.


If there isn’t a proper gas/air mixture coming into to the grill, you’ll end up with a black soot coating your food and unintentional smoke signals for the entire neighbourhood. 



  • Check and clean venturi tubes.
  • Check air shutters on venturi tubes for proper gas/air mixture. Note: Many air shutters are now pre-set at the factory and are not adjustable.
  • Check condition of the burner port holes.


Similar to the above problem with black smoke; the problem is likely a blocked venturi tube.



  • Check to see if the venturi tube is obstructed.
  • Check to see if the burner is obstructed or leaking.
  • Check condition of the burner port holes.
  • Check air shutters on venturi tubes for proper gas/air mixture. Note: Many air shutters are now pre-set at the factory and are not adjustable.


These are often caused by the venturi tube getting clogged with, yes spiders - and the webs they leave behind.  Spiders and other insects are attracted to the smell of propane and natural gas. Flashback signs include higher than normal flames from one or more burners (orange in colour), flames not evenly distributed across the entire burner, control knobs that are hot to the touch and flames visible at the control panel of the grill.



  • Immediately, and safely, shut off the gas supply at the cylinder valve for propane or gas shut off valve for natural gas.
  • Let the grill cool. 
  • Remove burner and check venture tubes and orifices for obstructions.
  • Clean out the tubes using a venturi brush


Humming noises aren’t uncommon with gas grills.  Alarming? Yes. Dangerous? No. The sound is caused by the vibration of the rubber diaphragm inside the regulator which occurs due to numerous factors including outside air temperature, humidity, barometric pressure or even the gas level within the tank. 



  • Check to make sure there are absolutely no leaks. 
  • Use up some of the gas inside a full tank. 
  • Warmer weather will allow the propane to travel easier through the restricted pathway, reducing the vibrations.


Heat is important to achieve the perfect sear and grill marks. But when the heat reaches the level of Hades, we need to bring it down a notch. Grease buildup is usually the culprit, but damaged parts or a faulty regulator can also cause high heat. Too many rock/ceramic briquettes too close together can also generate an excess of heat.



  • Clean out the grill and remove the build-up of grease. 
  • Inspect any damaged or missing pieces/regulator. 
  • Remove some of the rocks/briquettes and move them slightly further apart.


You like having eyebrows, right? Let's keep them there and reduce flare-ups that are caused by excessive grease either already in the grill or added to the grill.



  • Clean the grill, including the guards covering the burners. 
  • Drain excess marinade from food before putting on the grill.

If you continually deal with these problems while grilling OR followed these troubleshooting tips and you’re still experiencing grilling issues, give us a call at Barbecue Country.  Our experts and fellow grilling enthusiasts are here to help.

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  • Taylor Mitchell