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Reduce, Re-Use, And Recycle | Keep Your Old BBQ, Give It A Tune-Up
Do You Really Need A New BBQ?
In today's age of disposable goods, it is just easier to run out to the hardware store, buy a new BBQ and dump the old one by the curb. Unless your BBQ is in really rough shape, why not try to salvage it? It would save you money, and would not encourage the "disposable everything" illness we all seem to be afflicted with.
Burners rust and eventually disintegrate. The burner begins to develop large holes on the side where the gas escapes. This results in a very uneven flame, which can be very dangerous. I can imagine that if the burner disintegrates at the right moment it can possibly cause an explosion. Even if your propane tank has a regulator, which "pressure locks" the flow of gas in the event of a sudden demand for gas, why take a chance?
You should now evaluate your BBQ.
I still like my BBQ, it's still nice on the outside and the body of the BBQ is still in very good shape. So I've decided to just replace the burner.
My original burner was a 19" H-burner, I decided that while I was replacing it I'd upgrade and go with the 22" burner. If you decide to do so you should first measure your BBQ to ensure that it will fit.
I found a 22" on sale for $24 at my local grocery store, and brought it home.
I shut off and disconnected my propane tank. I then proceeded to removed the old burner (actually just kind of broke it off in pieces). Installation was very straightforward. The instructions were very clear and all the necessary hardware was included.
Being a universal burner there were two mounting options for the location of the gas feed.
Once installed the gas was turned back on and the BBQ was lit. Better than new! Flames higher than the original.
Replacing The Igniters
The igniters on a BBQ are the first thing to go. For under $10 you can buy a new pack of them and just replace the old ones for the new. Easier than replacing a burner and super simple. The trickiest part of the job is placing the metal tip close enough to the strike plate so that it creates a spark when the button is pressed.
Another useful tip is to ensure the wire is covered by the supplied fireproof mesh. Sometimes you don't even need new igniters, it's often the wire that is burned off. Simply repair the wire and you're back in business.
If you like excitement in your life (as I do) you can simply turn on the gas and throw in a few matches or use a long neck BBQ lighter. A word of caution, if you cannot successfully light the BBQ within ten seconds of the gas running... abort mission. Shut off the gas, wait a few minutes and try again once the smell of the gas is gone.
Clean Out The Venturi Tubes
It is very important to clean out the venturi tubes that are found between your burner and the burner control knobs.
Spiders are attracted to the smell of propane. During a long period of inactivity spider webs will build up in these tubes and they will need to be cleaned out before the grilling season begins. If not cleaned out propane flow will be restricted causing poor flame.
Venturi tubes can be cleaned using a venturi brush. A venturi brush is a long flexible round brush that will follow the contours of the tube. Alternatively, you can use a garden hose and blast the material out of the tubes with water.
Use A Propane Regulator
A propane regulator is a recent safety device sold with BBQ's. As it's name states, it regulates the propane to a steady flow. If a sudden surge of gas is demanded by the BBQ, the regulator can automatically "pressure lock" the flow of gas to your BBQ using a diaphragm device which is located inside the unit.
You can verify that your regulator is working by turning all the knobs on your BBQ to the on position (high), then quickly opening the valve on your propane tank. The sudden demand of gas should be enough to activate the regulator.
To reset the regulator, shut all the valves and remove the regulator from the tank. Wait 30 seconds to allow the regulator to reset and re-install it on the tank.
In conclusion, be safe.
If you're not comfortable with this type of DIY work then don't do it!
The combination of liquid propane gas and fire requires a certain level of understanding on the user's part.
If you are not knowledgeable or confident enough to do any of the above mentioned repairs, then do not attempt them. Play it safe, treat yourself to a new grill, and enjoy your summer BBQ season worry free! However keep in mind even a new BBQ requires that you follow the same safety precautions as any BBQ that uses liquid propane.