Many of you have just been itching for that first spring BBQ, and have been closely watching the weather for just the right weather to break out your grill. Others (you know who you are) are the intrepid grill warriors who could be seen outside in polar gear, faithfully turning your favorite cuts of mean in sub-zero temps. Regardless of which category you fall into, doing a thorough “spring cleaning” on your grill will help your favorite appliance last longer and provide you more outdoor culinary enjoyment!

Spring Cleaning Your Grill

Clear out debris. If your grill hasn’t been regularly used over the winter, or has been in storage, you may need to clear out spiders or other pests that may have called your grill home. There may also be other loose material you’ll want to get out of there. A good way to do this is with compressed air. If you don’t own an air compressor, you can purchase a can of compressed air at most office supply or computer retailers. If you have a charcoal grill, you may want to remove any left over ash before you apply compressed air. You could end up with a real mess!

Clean your grill inside and out.  You can use a commercial grill cleaner, but sometimes good old water and vinegar or soap and water will do the trick too. Start by wiping down the exterior and under the lid. If you have a stainless steel grill, you can polish with a stainless steel product once it’s clean. Remove the grates and scrub them with soap and water and wire brush. You won’t have to do this step for regular upkeep, but it’s good to start with clean grates at the start of the season. If you have lots of caked on gunk, spritz the grates with equal parts water and vinegar and let sit for an hour. Most of the gunk should scrub away. Oil the grates (olive oil or other food-safe oil) and heat them in your oven to cure – you may want to do this several times, especially if you cook a lot of fish. Clean any other internal parts, such as baffles, flavorizor bars, etc. Replace ceramic briquettes, if needed.If you have a charcoal grill, you are pretty much done here. If you have a gas grill, read on!

Additional Steps for Gas Grills

Check for leaks.  Safety first! Before you fire up that grill,  you want to make sure there are no leaks. Propane escaping a hose can lead create a fire risk. Inspect the hoses to make sure none are crimped or appear brittle. Inspect the propane tank for bulges, rust, or any other defects. You can exchange the tank at a certified tank exchange, if necessary.  To check for hidden leaks, hook up the propane tank, to the grill, but do no turn on the grill. Open the valve to allow propane into the hose. If you smell gas, there is likely a leak. Brush a solution of 2 tablespoons water and 2 tablespoons dish soap onto the hoses and connectors. If you see bubbling, this will confirm the leak. Replace any failed parts and repeat the test.

Test the igniter.  If you don’t hear a clicking sound or see a spark when pressing the igniter button, you may have a dead battery. It’s a good idea to change the battery at the start of every season, regardless. To change the battery, unscrew the lock nut at the base of the button or behind the control panel.

Inspect the burner tubes.  Remove the grill grate, baffles or flavorizer bars, if you have them. Keeping the lid raised, light your grill and inspect the burners. If you cold spots with no flame, you may have some clogs in the burner holes. You can use a bent paperclip or a piece of thin wire to clear the holes of any blockages. If that doesn’t do the trick, you may have to replace the burners. Your local home improvement store should stock replacement parts, or you can go on the website of the grill manufacturer and order replacements.

Fill your tanks: A griller’s worst nightmare is running out of fuel in the middle of a cookout! Make sure your tank is full, and invest in a spare tank so you always have plenty of fuel. There are several ways you can tell how much fuel you have in the tank. One is to invest in a gas level indicator. Barring that, check your fule reserve by using one of these methods:

  • Pour a cup of boiling water over the tank. Condensation will form on the outside of the tank at the gas level.
  • Weigh the tank. If full, it should weigh around ~37 pounds, for a standard 20 pound propane tank.
  • There’s an appf or that! Download an app, such as TankMeter. The app will estimate the amount of fuel you have left by the sound made when you tap on the tank.

We are so looking forward to BBQ season here in Northern Virginia, and we know you are, too! Enjoy a safe and flavorful BBQ by following these simple steps to keep your equipment in working order. Whether you are looking to buy or sell a home in Northern Virginia, we are always here to help with all your real estate needs! If you are unsure of your home’s value or if you are thinking about buying or selling, contact Jason at 703-298-7037 or Jason@JasonAndBonnie.com.