A gas grill regulator that is leaking is a very serious issue. Leaking propane gas can easily cause explosions and even death. From 2004 to 2008, fire departments in the United States responded to an average of 7,700 home fires each year caused by outdoor grilling, according to the National Fire Protection Association. There were 13 deaths, 120 reported injuries and $70 million in property damage.
Gas grill regulators are a part of your grill. They attach to propane tanks to allow gas to flow to the grill through a hose. Leaks anywhere along the system, including in the regulator itself, are a potential fire hazard. Stop using your grill immediately if you know that it leaks. Contact a trained technician for replacement or repair.
Gas grill regulators manufactured since 1995 have built-in safety devices that restrict the flow of gas if your grill system detects a gas leak. However, the device does not completely shut off the gas. All propane leaks are potentially dangerous even if the amount of gas leaking is small.
You should make visual tests of your system regularly. Mix soap and water in a spray bottle. Confirm that the grill is cold. Then spray the solution on the regulator and all hoses and connections. Twist the release valve to allow gas from the propane tank to flow to the regulator. A leak exists if you see bubbles from the hoses, connections or regulator.
Keep your grill at least 10 feet from your house. This minimizes damage to property if there is an explosion. In 2011, one man in Corpus Christi, Texas, escaped injury when a propane tank attached to his grill exploded. However, the blast caused a fire that did extensive damage to his home and minor damage to the house next door.
Ask about safety features when shopping for a grill. Upgrade to a new grill or regulator if yours was manufactured before 1995 and does not have modern safety features. Never leave grills unattended. Keep a fire extinguisher close by.
- Photo Credit Chris Clinton/Lifesize/Getty Images