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A long-time contributor to SeriouslySmoked. Jim has had a lifelong relationship with the art of grilling, passed on from his father and grandfather to him.
A long-time contributor to SeriouslySmoked. Jim has had a lifelong relationship with the art of grilling,
passed on from his father and grandfather to him.
Having an outdoor barbecue is one of life's greatest pleasures. Many people use charcoal to light a barbecue for its smoky flavor and intense heat, but this method can be expensive and time-consuming.
Gas grills are a convenient and quick alternative. While it can take close to half an hour to start a barbecue with charcoal, it takes no time to get meat cooking with a gas grill. Most modern gas grills run on propane tanks, which can last a whole summer if you tend to grill only on weekends.
Installing a propane tank on a gas grill or in propane smoker is easy and simple. However, there are a few things you need to know about how to connect a propane tank to a grill. These are safety considerations that also prevent damaging the grill.
1. Things To Do Before Connecting the Tank
Take safety precautions
It's crucial to make sure the propane tank isn't damaged. When using a brand new tank, there isn’t much to worry about, but it's still safer to do a quick inspection.
Many people use the same tank and refill it with new propane. In this case, it's essential to check that the tank is still in good condition.
The rubber gasket inside the tank's valve should be checked since the gaskets can get worn over time. A tank gasket in good condition should be round and without cracks or splits. Point it toward the sun, so there's enough light to see it clearly.
How to check if there's enough propane in the tank
Before learning how to connect a propane tank to a gas grill, you should make sure there is enough propane in the tank. Without this crucial step, you run the risk of running out of gas during a barbecue, leaving meat partially cooked.
The easiest and most accurate way of checking the amount of propane inside a tank is with a pressure gauge. Once the pressure gauge is connected to the tank, it will show how much gas there is left. If your tank is almost empty, you should have an extra tank ready before grilling.
A simple pressure gauge that connects directly to the valve is best. There are also magnetic gauges that work by placing them on the tank's side. They work by detecting the temperature of the propane. However, these types of gauges often malfunction and do not last long.
2. Connecting the Tank to the Grill
Placing the tank on the grill
The tank must be installed correctly on the grill. Different grill models offer different ways of securing the tank below the grill. Some grills have an open space below, while other grills have doors that hide the tank behind them. Many grills have a hole near the bottom where the tank can be placed. The grill's manual instructions will show how to place the tank correctly.
This is important because it prevents someone from kicking or knocking down the tank. Also, installing the tank differently than recommended by the manual, such as further away from the grill than normal, could cause stress on the regulator connection, causing a gas leak.
Connecting the grill hose and the tank
There are a few key parts of the grill and the tank to get to know for those who have never used a gas grill. The easiest to identify is the valve, right on top of the tank. Also, every gas grill has a hose that connects the grill to the tank. On the end of the hose, there is a metal regulator and a black plastic connector.
The regulator is essential to control the gas flow from your tank to the heating mechanism in your grill. It is recommended that the regulator should be changed every 15 years. If you are using a new propane tank, but the grill isn't working, it might be that the regulator has to be replaced.
To connect the gas grill to the tank, take the hose and connect it to the tank. The black plastic connector at the end of the hose is the part that connects to the tank. Turning the connector to the right will tighten it, and it should be as tight as possible.
Simple gas leak test
Making sure your grill isn’t leaking gas is an integral part of learning how to connect a propane tank to a grill.
Before turning on the grill, it's a good idea to do a quick gas leak test. To start the test, the tank should be already connected to the hose. Most importantly, the grill should be completely off. Keep a spray bottle with a mixture of water and a bit of dishwashing soap nearby.
Once the hose is connected to the tank, turn the valve on, allowing the flow of gas. Then, spray both the connector and the regulator with soap water. If bubbles appear on the water, it's an indication that there is a gas leak.
In this case, try tightening the connector again, but if there continues to be a leak, either the connector, the regulator, or the hose should be replaced. The same test should be done where the hose connects to the grill, usually right beneath the grilling area.
The only thing that's left now is turning on the grill. A useful tip is to press the igniter button before turning the knob on the grill. This prevents gas accumulation. If there is no igniter button on the grill, use a long lighter. There is a hole on the side of most grills where you can safely insert the lighter.
3. After Using the Grill
Of course, the propane tank valve should be closed when the grill isn't being used. You don't have to disconnect the tank from the grill, but the valve should be closed. This is very important for safety reasons, as minute amounts of gas can escape from the tank presenting a serious fire hazard.
In addition to safety reasons, leaving the valve on can damage the grill. It can create a state known as bypass, where the gas won't flow well. When this happens, the grill might have difficulty in reaching a proper cooking temperature.
Practice Grill Safety at Your Next Outdoor Cookout
Connecting a propane tank to a gas grill is a simple task, but it is critical to take the necessary safety precautions: check the rubber gasket inside the tank’s valve and secure the tank correctly below the grill. Once the hose and the tank are connected, do a quick water and soap test to see if there is any gas leaking. And don’t forget to turn off the valve after using the grill!