Don’t Throw That Grill Out

Don’t Throw That Grill Out

A few weeks ago we were having some serious problems with our grill. We were trying to make some salmon burgers, and flames from the grill kept shooting out through the temperature knobs. It seemed pretty dangerous, and it was also damaging the grill.

After a little research online, I found out that this is called “flashback” and is actually pretty common with gas grills. It’s caused by some sort of blockage in the fuel lines. Usually, it’s the result of spiders getting in there and setting up a web. It seems sort of unlikely, but I guess the gas can’t get through the spider webs if they are thick enough. The gas pressure then points backwards, towards the knobs and not towards the actual grill. If that gas lights, you’ve got a serious problem of the flames pointing the wrong way.

Luckily, it’s also pretty easy to fix. All you need to do is clean out the fuel lines. Obviously you should turn off the gas tank before getting started, and disconnect the tank as well. Then, after taking the grill plate off, you should see everything locked in with some screws.

Once all the screws were out on mine, the gas tubes slid right out. I got out a flashlight and confirmed that the tubes did have some spider webs in there. Not as many as you’d think would be necessary to block up the gas flow, but they were in there.

The instructions I found online suggested three ways of clearing them out: a flattened out wire coat hanger, a wire brush, or a can of compressed air. We went with the coat hanger. After a few swipes, another peek with the flashlight confirmed it was clear. We screwed everything back in and reconnected the gas, and had no more issues with flashback.

Over the past two days we’ve made hot dogs and more salmon burgers, and have had no issues. What started as a pretty scary problem (flame shooting out at me through the knobs!) turned out to be a really easy fix.

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