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Gas Grill Burner Cleaning and Repair

Courtesy Appliance Factory Parts

This article should help you through the majority of possible gas grill burner problems. At any time if these cleaning procedures did not work, or if the burner has rusted through,  replacement is necessary.

The burner is the "guts" of your grill. But over time, the combination of high heat, salts, fats, and basting solutions that fall on it will cause it to fail.

Now you must perform the dirty job of removing the cooking grids, briquettes/rocks, grate, and finally the burner from the grill. So lets get to it!

Get ready to take the "guts" out of your gas grill...

  • Spread some newspaper to lay the gas grill parts on.
  • Remove and set the cooking grids on this paper.
  • Move the briquettes towards the center and away from the edges of the coal grate. This way you can lift the grate and lava rock or briquettes out together and set it on the newspaper
  • Remove the burner.  The burner may or may not be locked to the bottom housing. If not, simply pull the venturi tubes away from the valves and gas jets (also called orifices) and lift out. If the burner is secured, look for a spring dip, cotter pin, or a stud with a wing nut holding the burner to the bottom.
  • If your grill is equipped with an ignitor and collector box attached to the burner, the wire must be also disconnected before burner removal.

Cleaning and troubleshooting your Venturi...

The venturi tube on your gas grill mixes air with the propane to allow proper combustion.

It is extremely important to clean the venturi tubes of any obstructions such as spider webs, etc. If possible, do this at the start of the grilling season or any other time the grill has not been used for a while. Even a small spider web can restrict the air/gas mixture and cause poor burner performance or a flash-back fire.

A venturi brush (also called a "spider" brush) should be used to clean the venturi tubes. Special care should be taken to make sure the brush passes through any curve in the venturi tube.

You may also flush out the tubes with a strong flow of water from a garden hose. While you are doing this, pay attention to how the water exits the burner port holes as clogged holes (as well as other leaks) are easily spotted this way!

If the venturi tubes are rusted and/or broken, you will need either new tubes or a new burner, depending on the assembly of the two and how the manufacturer sells replacement parts.

Cleaning and Troubleshooting Your Gas Grill Burner

Clogged holes in your burner can cause your grill to have hot and cold spots, which not only make it difficult to cook evenly, but can be dramatic enough that they may increase the chance of a shattering your grill's glass window!  Follow these troubleshooting steps:

  • Check out the burner's gas outlet ports around it's perimeter for splits or separations of the top and bottom halves. A burner damaged this bad needs replacement, if no obvious external damage is present you can continue to clean the grill
  • Brush the outer parts of the burner with a wire brush, especially the ports
  • Using a flexible wire, an open paper clip, or a drill bit, probe each port to clear it of grime and rust.
  • Caution: Do not use anything larger in diameter that the port itself, this will cause damage to the burning operations of your grill
  • Now, lightly tap the burner, this will help cause any of the residue to fall out of the ports and tubes

Too many excessively obstructed ports, or ports that are showing damage indicate that it's time to replace the burner. But if you can clear the ports and the previous inspection and cleaning processes did not indicate burner failure, we can continue:

  • Check the gas jets at the end of the valves for spider webs, dirt, or dust. Clean them if necessary
  • Assuming that the valves are turning and you have gas, the burner should be reinstalled into your grill and tested to see if the cleaning process helped.
  • While you have the bottom of the aluminum casting exposed, take the opportunity to clean it the best you can by removing any gunk out with a putty knife, garden tool, etc.

Replacing your burner...

So your burner needs replacement?  Before you throw it away, you need to do a few things:

  • Measure it from left to right, front to back.
  • Look for the label that is required by the American Gas Association that will list the model number, manufacturer, and the type of gas specified for use
    This label should be near the controls, or on the cart... not on the burner itself.
  • The venturi tubes should also be measured if you cannot find the label information.  If the venturi tube has a bent mixer or a slope in it, then measure from the top to the center line of the tube, after the bend, and from the end to the center line of the tube. If dealing with a straight tube, just measure from top to bottom

In addition to stainless steel burners, you should consider buying "better than original" cast iron burners. Cast iron burners heat up and become their own heat radiant source, cooking your food better. They also have a longer life span than stainless steel burners because of their heavy construction.

About the author:  Appliance Factory Parts is a one-stop shop for your grill needs.  They have parts for 12,000 BBQ models and 40,000 BBQ parts, including gas grill burners, grids, and grates

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