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Grilling Safety: Propane BBQ Edition

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Grilled food can really hit the spot on nice Arizona days. Before you use your BBQ, make sure that you keep these grilling safety tips in mind. This helps ensure that you and your family can enjoy grilled dinners without any trouble.

Store Propane Tanks Properly

Grilling safety involves storing propane tanks properly. Tanks for gas grills can easily become a hazard. Store these tanks in a vertical and upright position. Also make sure they are kept far away from any heat or ignition sources, such as lighters or matches. If you have a gas line for your grill, you don’t have to deal with propane tanks at all.

Turn the Grill on Safely

Another important grilling safety tip is to make sure that you turn the grill on correctly. This involves opening the lid and turning the propane on. After this is done, turn the knobs for the burners, then push the ignition. Doing this the right way lowers the risk of fires and other accidents.

Never Use Lighter Fluid

Never use lighter fluid to ignite a gas grill. Lighter fluid is a major fire hazard when it isn’t used properly. You will avoid having to worry about this if you have a gas grill with its own natural gas line installed.

Check for Leaks

Gas leaks can occur when you use propane tanks for your grill. You should check for leaks by putting a solution of water and light soap on the gas tank hose. If you see bubbles, this means you have a gas leak that needs to be fixed by a professional right away. Grills with a gas line have a lower risk of ending up with these leaks.

Don’t Reignite Right Away

If your grill doesn’t ignite, don’t light it again right away. You could have gas in the air that needs time to clear out. Lighting it again immediately could result in a fire and serious injuries. Wait for 5 minutes before you try to ignite your gas grill again.

Keep Your Grill Clean

Grilling safety includes making sure that your gas grill stays in good condition. Grease and other debris can build up over time, which can increase the risk of a fire. Clean debris off your grill and from the tray under it. You should wait for your grill to cool before cleaning it. Getting into the habit of doing this after using your grill each time means you won’t have to scrape a lot of debris off later on.

Turn Your Grill Off Properly

When it comes to grilling safety, it’s important to ensure that you turn your grill off the right way. This reduces the risk of injuries and accidents. You’ll need to turn the gas tank off before shutting off the gas burners. Make sure that your propane cylinder valve is fully closed to prevent gas from leaking. With a gas line grill, all you have to do is shut it off without having to deal with any tanks.

If you’re ready to install a gas line for your grilling area, contact Forrest Anderson. We can ensure that this is done properly for your safety.

Common gas fireplace problems

Due to the nature of gas being dangerous, we don’t recommend you repair gas fireplace problems on your own. Fixing your gas fireplace problems on your own is very dangerous, gas can be deadly, so please call us if you need help. When working with natural gas, it’s often best to leave it to the professionals at Forrest Anderson.

Here are some common gas fireplace problems we see.

The Underlying Piping

If there is no ignition or if you smell something that you believe may be natural gas, this is not one of the gas fireplace problems you should attempt to fix on your own. Identifying natural gas is easy because it smells of sulfur or “rotten eggs.” If you see obstructions in the piping, they can cause little or no flow of gas. If there is an odor, immediately deactivate the valve and vent your home. Then call the professionals at Forrest Anderson Plumbing & Air Conditioning.

Gas Valve

If there is no ignition and you do not smell any natural gas, the problem may be as simple as a closed gas valve. You can usually identify if the valve is open because the handle will be in line with the pipe. Most modern valves are 90-degree valves, which means opening and closing them is done with a simple quarter turn.

Thermopile

A thermopile is a modern type of sensor that generates the voltage necessary to ignite the natural gas. This is similar to the spark plugs in a car’s engine. If the burner is sluggish, or if it does not ignite at all, your thermopile may not be providing enough electricity due to an issue with the wiring. Loose wiring, wiring of insufficient size, or wiring that is damaged may be the cause.

Thermocouple

In older systems, a thermocouple is a simple metal rod between the gas valve and burning pilot flame. When there is a need to ignite the gas, the thermocouple is the go-to part. In many cases, if the thermocouple is the source of a problem, it may need to be positioned correctly or replaced.

Burner

The burner consists of a set of circuitry with a set level of voltage, a pilot light orifice, and a set of burner jets. In some cases, the burner may simply have a bad thermostat setting or a dirty pilot light orifice. In other cases, dirt build-up may have gotten into the burner jets, and cleaning them may be the solution. Cleaning the burners is the general response if there is a roaring sound.

Sounds From the Blower

In some cases, your gas fireplace may emit bizarre sounds. The system can rumble, it can roar, or it can even grind or shriek. The blower may need replacement if there are sounds like grinding or shrieks.

Soot Build-up

If there is an abundance of soot built up, air flow may be the problem. You may need less gas flow and more air flow. There may be a mixing valve on your fireplace or a vent to allow in more air. Doing this every so often produces a bluish flame, but tends to remove the soot.

Pilot Light

In many kinds of gas fireplaces, the system does not require any electricity to ignite. However, the pilot light going out will cause the fireplace to stop igniting. You can easily relight the pilot if this happens.

Still, Have Gas Fireplace Problems?

At Forrest Anderson, we don’t service the actual fireplace. We’re often called where there is an underlying gas issue, or you want to run new gas lines. If you need assistance with gas lines or valves, call Forrest Anderson Plumbing & Air Conditioning.

 

How to Light Your Water Heater Pilot

Things around the home fail from time to time. Bulbs and batteries need replacing and drainpipes need cleaning. But what about when your water gets cold?

If you have a gas water heater with a flame driven pilot light, the fix can be as simple as re-lighting your water heater pilot.

While you certainly could call a plumber, for most homeowners, this is an easy-to-do DIY task you can complete on your own.

First, Check the Pilot

Before you start fixing things, you need to be sure that an unlit pilot light is an actual issue. Look at your water heater, near the bottom, for an access panel. Remove that to see if there is a small flame burning. If not, the pilot light has gone out, and you’ve found your problem.

Most newer models of water heaters don’t use a flame to ignite gas, instead using a sparker or a heating element to ignite the gas. If your water isn’t heating up, it’s possible this element has failed, requiring a call to Forrest Anderson right away.

Look for Leaks

Before you start adding flame to the fire, you want to ensure your water heater is leak free. If there’s gas leaking, you’ll end up with an explosion on your hands. Lighting your pilot isn’t important enough to risk your family, home, and life.

This is how you can complete a simple DIY test for leaks:

  1. Sniff around, high and low, near the water heater. While natural gas doesn’t smell like anything, the gas company will add a scent, so you’ll smell sulfur or rotten eggs.
  2. Listen for hissing sounds around the heater. It sounds like air leaking out of a tire: slow and steady.

Don’t take any chances. If you suspect your water heater has a gas leak, leave the area and call the gas company for your next steps.

Follow Instructions

Water heaters have affixed, printed labels on the outside.

If there are specific instructions you need to follow, they will be there. While many heaters are similar, you should always look at the detailed directions for your particular model.

Lower the Temperature

Before you start the relighting process, you want to make sure you’re not about to face a huge flame. Reduce the temperature control setting to its lowest temperature. Usually, you’ll find the control on the front of the box, outside of the heater.

Look for the Regulator Valve

Usually located near the temperature control, the regulator valve regulates gas flow to the pilot. Turn that valve to the off position. Once you’ve done that, wait 10 minutes to proceed so that any gas remaining in the line has an opportunity to clear.

Light the Pilot

The type of water heater you have will determine how you do this. Older units will need an external lighter, whereas newer versions have a pilot light igniter. If you need a lighter, then grab a long-handled one.

Now find the pilot, probably with the help of a flashlight (a second set of hands will come in handy here). Once you’ve determined where the pilot is, adjust the regulator valve to pilot and push down. Alternatively, you may see a red button to push to send gas to the pilot. If so, press and hold. This button starts the gas flowing, so it will catch when you add a flame.

Next, you’ll light the pilot. You’ll need another person to help: one to hold the button and one to light. If you have a self-igniting pilot, this step is a little easier. If not, have the person with the lighter get down and put the flame to the pilot. It should catch pretty quickly.

Hold down the gas valve for a full minute after igniting the pilot light. By doing so, you will eat up the sensor that turns off the pilot if not engaged.

Confirm the Light and Clean Up

After you let go of the pilot or gas valve, double check to be sure the pilot light remains lit. If it does, close all the access panels you opened. Turn the gas valve back to on and reset the temperature to your liking.

If you have challenges with lighting your water heater pilot, then contact the experts at Forrest Anderson. We are an approved contractor with Southwest Gas and can assist you in keeping your family safe and warm this winter.

Consider an Upgrade

If you have an old flame driven water heater, it’s likely you should consider an upgrade.

Modern water heater systems don’t use open flames to ignite the gas and are often more fuel efficient, heating your home and water for less money. You’ll also waste less water waiting for the cold water to get hot.

An investment in a new water heat can quickly pay for itself in gas, water, and electrical costs.

If you’re considering an upgrade, call your Forrest Anderson team today and we’ll help you get started.

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