BBQ Maintenance

19 March 2011 On The Menu

BBQ maintenance guide.
Few things are more enjoyable than a BBQ at the cottage. Here are some simple maintenance and troubleshooting tips.

Barbecue Maintenance

How do you clean and maintain a barbecue?
Simple maintenance and proper planning keep the BBQ in good condition and ready to use whenever you need it.

To extend the life of the cottage BBQ, keep it covered and out of the rain when you are not at the cabin. This not only protects it from rainwater that can cause early rusting, it also helps to keep the spiders and bees from making a nest in the BBQ. Removing an established hornet nest from the inside of the BBQ is no easy task.

Always clean the grill after every use to avoid attracting bears. Anyone who has been woken up in the middle of the night because a bear has just knocked over the barbecue can attest to the importance of keeping the grill spotless.

Periodically remove the burner and clean it with a wire brush to keep the gas ports clean. This ensures the gas flows correctly. Food, grease and spiders can quickly clog up the ports.

Keep a back-up propane tank. For the added cost of having a second tank it is good to know that you always have enough propane. You always run out at the worst possible moment which is inevitably when you are entertaining guests. If you are at the cottage, it is usually a big trip to go get the tank filled.

Place the BBQ in an open area away from trees. Pine needles, leaves, and bugs will fall into an open BBQ and clog the gas ports.

Ensure the BBQ is firmly supported.  A strong gust of wind when the top is up can blow the BBQ right off the deck. This is not only expensive if the BBQ is damaged, but it is also very dangerous if the BBQ is being used on a windy day.

Note: Pine needles are extremely flammable.  Do not place the BBQ near a pine tree.  A burner flare-up could torch the whole tree!

BBQ Troubleshooting

BBQ’s are notorious for having problems. Most of the time the BBQ won’t work because we have neglected to take the time to properly clean it or cover it.

Before doing any troubleshooting on your cottage BBQ, turn off the gas at the BBQ and the tank. Disconnect the tank from the BBQ.

When turning the propane tank gas back on, always do it slowly.

BBQ Will Not Ignite
If you have a battery powered spark system, change the battery. If the battery is good, or you have a manual spark system you need to check the BBQ igniter(s).

Single Igniter
Remove the grill and locate the igniter at the burner.  Push the ignition button and look for the spark.  If you don’t get a spark, the igniter is probably plugged.  Clean the igniter and try again.  If there is still no spark, the problem is likely with either the wiring or the ignition button and you will have to get new parts.

Burner Flames Are Weak Or Not Very Hot / Not Enough Gas Is Getting To The Burners
Check to see if the propane tank is empty. Check to see if the gas valve coming into the burner is partially blocked.  This requires removing the burner. Reset the pressure going through the regulator (the disc attached to the hose).

How do you reset the barbecue gas pressure?
Turn the propane tank off. Disconnect the hose from the tank. Open all the BBQ dials to full and leave them open for a couple of minutes. Close all of the dials again. Reconnect the hose to the propane tank. Open the tank valve slowly until it is fully open. Open one of the dials and attempt to light the BBQ.

If the pressure is still too low, the regulator may need to be replaced.

Some of the Barbecue Burners Are Not Giving Enough Heat
The gas comes through a small tube into the bottom of the burner and is then distributed evenly around the burner.  Sometimes the individual burner holes get covered with grease, food, or rust.

Remove the burner. Use a wire brush to clean the burner. Replace the burner and light the BBQ.

BBQ Storage
To extend the life of the BBQ, always keep it stored in a sheltered area when you are not using it. This helps keep the rain and dew from causing premature rusting. At the end of the season, be sure to clean the BBQ thoroughly before putting it away for the winter.

Go to the Cooking On The BBQ page for beginner tips on how to use the BBQ.
Go to the Cottage Meals and Recipes page for simple and tasty cabin recipes.
Go to the Planning Cottage Dinners page for general cabin cooking tips.