How To Fix A Gas Grill That Won’t Light Or Stay Lit


It’s a beautiful day out. You have your meat seasoned and prepared. Your family is looking to you, Grillmaster, to feed them a delicious grilled meal. But then the unthinkable happens. You go to light your grill, but the flames and heat elude you. Or, worse yet, the burners stay lit for only a few minutes and then go cold. Before cursing the grill gods and sitting on the phone for 3 hours with customer service, try these options detailing how to fix a gas grill that won’t light or stay lit.

Check The Gas

Yes, I know. It’s probably the first thing you did, but I’ve got to be thorough. If your grill has a gas gauge, check it and then give the tank a lift, to make sure your gauge isn’t malfunctioning. If it doesn’t have a gauge, give the tank a lift—empty tanks weight around 16 pounds. Full tanks are around 37 pounds.

If your tank has gas in it, move on to the next step. If it doesn’t, well, you know what to do. 

Note: If you do have gas, make sure the tank is fully open. Maybe you closed it last time and forgot about it. Turn the tank valve counter-clockwise until it stops to open the tank fully. 

If your burners still don’t light, it could be a problem with the gas flow or the ignition. Start with the easiest thing first: gas flow.

Check for Gas Flow

To see if your burners are getting gas, you can light them manually. To do it, get a long match or lighter and put the flame near your burner with the gas on. Make sure you open the lid before you turn on the gas, please!

If your burners light, then it’s the ignition switch or the wiring. If the burners won’t light, you either have a clog or a problem with your regulator or gas line.

If your ignition switch works, but not all of your burners light, you most likely have a clog on the unlit burner. Or, if you have an independent ignition system, it may be the igniter for that burner. Either way, read on to find out how to check. 

Related Article: How To Fix A Gas Grill That Won’t Light Or Stay Lit 

Check the Ignition

There are two types of common igniters. The first is battery-powered, in which case you’ll hear a series of clicks when you push the ignition button. If you do have a battery-powered ignition system, try replacing the battery first.

The second type is a piezo-electric system, in which case you’ll hear a single click. If you have a piezo-electric system and none of your burners will light, you probably have a button or wiring problem. Unfortunately, it typically requires that you replace the button or wiring, which can be tricky.

However, if some of your burners will light, with either system, you probably have a clogged burner or a faulty igniter at the burner. 

Determining a Faulty Igniter or Clogged Burner

First, you should turn off your gas and detach it from the regulator before working on your grill. Next, you’ll want to remove the cooking grates, burner plates, and flavor bars. Once you can visually inspect your burners, you can troubleshoot the problem. 

Faulty Ignitor

If you have an independent ignition system, all of your burners will have igniters next to them. The igniters should spark when you press the ignition button or turn your knobs to the correct setting. If one or more of your igniters does not produce a blue spark, it is probably faulty. You can carefully clean around the igniter and try again if you think debris is causing the defect. If cleaning it doesn’t do the trick, you’ll probably have to replace it. 

Some grills have a single igniter that lights a pilot burner, which lights all the others. You can inspect the single igniter using the method above. If the igniter is fine or the pilot burner lights but fails to light all the others, you’ll want to check for clogs. 

Clogged Burner

If you suspect you have a clogged burner, you’ll have to remove the grill rack, flavor bars, and burner plates to inspect the burner visually. Remember to turn off the gas and remove the tank before working on your grill.

A clogged burner will have food, grease, or other debris visible blocking the gas flow from reaching the igniter. You can carefully clean the clogged burner out with a wire or brush. 

If you see damage to a burner that won’t light, the best thing to do is replace it by following the instructions in your owner’s manual. 

Gas Grill Won’t Stay Lit

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If your grill won’t stay lit or the flames don’t seem to get as big and hot as they usually do, you probably have a gas flow problem. First, check to make sure your tank still has fuel in it and that the valve is fully open. If neither of those is the issue, you’ll want to reset the regulator. 

How to Reset Your Regulator

A relatively common problem is the bypass valve inside the regulator getting stuck closed or half-closed. It limits the amount of gas to the burners, causing the grill to go out or not heat properly. To reset your regulator, follow these steps. 

Step 1

Open the lid of your grill and then turn all burners to the off position.

Step 2

Turn the valve on the propane tank clockwise to shut off the gas to the regulator.

Step 3

Unscrew the regulator valve (the thing that looks like a metal disc) from the propane tank by turning it counter-clockwise until it is free from the tank.

Step 4

Turn all of your burner knobs to the fully open or “high” position. This releases any pressure in the gas lines of the grill. Wait a minute for the pressure to release and the regulator to reset.

Step 5

Turn your burner knobs back to the off position. 

Step 6

Re-attach the regulator to the propane tank. 

Step 7

Open the valve on the tank slowly until it is fully open. Your grill should operate normally now. If it still doesn’t light or doesn’t stay lit, you may have a faulty regulator valve or hose that needs replacing.

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In Conclusion

Now you know the basics for troubleshooting a gas grill that won’t light or stay lit. Of course, the instructions above are a guideline that works for most gas grills.

Usually, it’s something simple like a clogged burner or a faulty regulator. On occasion, it can be a safety mechanism or bad wiring, which are each a little more challenging to fix. Consulting your owner’s manual is always a good idea when troubleshooting your grill. If you don’t have one, most owner’s manuals are available for free online. 

Thanks for reading. Happy Grilling!

Justin

Justin Childress is the creator of Sunshineandplay.com. He is also a devoted husband and father of his 1 year old son Gabriel. Justin enjoys spending time with family, reading, and, of course, contributing to Sunshineandplay.com.

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