Ready, set, grill!

Farm Forum

It’s Memorial Day weekend, and people are likely pulling out their portable grills for cookouts.

If your gas grill won’t light on the first try, there are many reasons why that might happen.

Joe Ludwig, sales manager for North Star Energy in Aberdeen, said it’s important to make sure everything is working properly before grilling for the first time after winter.

Bugs, including spiders, are attracted to the propane or natural gas smells. That causes grills to malfunction.

“They’ll start laying eggs in the lines,” he said. “That’s what creates plugs.”

That’s the most common problem North Star Energy staffers encounter when they get calls about grills not firing up.

Turning on the gas blows the spider eggs right up into the orifice, which controls gas flow into the burners.

“It creates a lot of problems because you don’t get the pressure that’s needed,” he said.

When a gas grill is stored for a long time, it’s possible that the igniter in the grill will rust or become defective in some way. That also keeps the grill from lighting.

Ludwig said it’s important to have the hood open when lighting the grill.

Over the winter, gas might have collected inside the grill, and igniting it could mean setting off a small explosion.

“That’s how people get hurt,” Ludwig said.

That means that the grill should be lit with the hood open, even in windy conditions. If the grill doesn’t ignite immediately, Ludwig suggests leaving the hood open to air out excess gas, then trying again.

Continuously hitting the automatic button won’t do much, he said.

If there are still issues, North Star Energy offers a grill tune-up service.

After grilling, he said to remember to always turn off the tank before putting the grill away. Ludwig said another key thing to note is that a standard 20-pound propane tank should not be stored in the garage because it could void home insurance.