Last Updated on February 18, 2023
In this article we’ll show you how to fix a low flame on a gas grill in 2 minutes or less. (Hint – it’s probably just simple propane regulator problems).
You’re all set to grill up some frozen burger patties or a delicious steak for dinner. You’ve fired up your grill but you can’t see any flame or there’s no flame at all and your bbq won’t heat up past 200 degrees or so.
You shake your head and think to yourself, “Why does my gas grill have a low flame?”
Don’t sweat it.
If your gas grill flame is low, there are a few possible causes but they’re all easy to fix. Gas grill regulator problems are most often the culprit, as a safety mechanism inside the propane regulator can mistakenly think there’s a leak and shut off the flow of gas. Resetting the regulator and taking it out of safety mode is a simple process and takes less than a minute.
First Try The Obvious Fixes
Is your propane tank empty? Is the valve opened? Are the burners turned on?
You might think this sounds silly but you’d be surprised how often the most obvious solutions are what works. Just take minute and confirm there’s gas in the tank and everything is turned on. If you still can’t see a flame or it’s only a very low flame it’s likely that…
Your Propane Regulator Is In Safety Mode
So you’ve confirmed your tank has propane gas in it, the valve is open, and your grills burners are turned on high but you still can’t see any flame or the flame is extremely low.
The most likely scenario is that you’ve somehow tripped a safety mechanism in the propane regulator and it’s blocking the flow of gas to your grill.
A tripped propane regulator is actually pretty common and happens to grillers all the time, so it’s important for you to know how to reset or “burp” your regulator to take it out of bypass mode.
The good news is that the process only takes a couple of minutes and you don’t even need any tools.
How To Reset A Propane Regulator Step By Step
- Turn off all burners on your grill and turn off the gas at the propane tank.
- Completely open your grill’s lid.
- Disconnect the hose from the propane tank. You’ll usually hear a short hissing sound.
- Wait about 30 seconds so the regulator can reset. It should now be out of safety mode.
- Reconnect the hose to the propane tank and hand tighten it.
- Slowly open the valve a half turn at a time. You want to prevent a sudden surge of gas that could trip the regulator’s safety mode all over again.
- Turn the burners on one at a time and light according to the manufacturer’s instructions.[/snippet]
Is Your Propane Regulator Is Faulty?
What if you’ve used the instructions above to reset your regulator and you’re following the best practices for starting a gas grill discussed below and you’re still experiencing a low flame?
If you’re following proper lighting procedures and the regulator keeps getting tripped into safety mode, you might need to replace it.
But don’t worry, a replacement regulator is inexpensive and easy to replace.
It’s important to follow the right lighting procedures when firing up your propane grill.
- Step 1 – If your grill has a lid, open it completely to keep gas from building up and igniting when you light it.
- Step 2 – Slowly turn the valve on the propane tank counterclockwise to open.
- Step 3 – Turn the first burner on high.
- Step 4 – Push the ignitor button to light the initial burner.
- Step 5 – Turn on all burners and allow the cooking surface to heat before cooking.
When you’re finished cooking you want to follow the steps in reverse. Always turn off the burners first and then close the valve on the propane tank.
Following these simple steps will ensure a safe flow of gas to your grill and prevent you from accidentally tripping the safety mechanism on your propane regulator which limits gas flow and results in little or no flame.
How Do Propane Regulators Work?
The regulator is the silver piece near the end of the hose that connects to the propane tank and it looks kind of like a flying saucer. As its name suggests, it regulates the flow of gas into the grill.
It’s an incredibly important safety feature, and when it detects a surge in gas flow, it kicks into safety mode and restricts the flow of gas to about 10 percent of its normal flow. This is vital because if the hose ever leaked and the propane continued to flow it could cause a deadly explosion.
When your propane grill has a low flame even when the burners are on high, it’s likely you’ve tripped the safety mechanism. This often happens when you open the propane tank valve with the burners turned on as the sudden surge of gas tricks the regulator into thinking there is a leak.
Check out the best practices section below for the proper steps to starting your griddle or grill.
If your grill has a low flame and you’re stuck in safety mode, just scroll up and follow the simple steps listed above to reset the propane regulator and you’ll be cooking in just a few minutes.
How much does a propane tank weigh?
An easy way to tell if you’re out of propane is to simply lift it and see how it feels. A typical barbecue tank weighs about 17 pounds when empty. It can hold a maximum of 20 pounds of propane (or about 4.7 gallons) so a completely full tank would weigh around 37 pounds.
However, most tanks are not sold completely full. When you exchange your tanks at a gas station or a big box store they will only contain 15 pounds of propane and the label should reflect that. If you have your tanks filled by a local company they will usually give you the full 20 pounds.
It’s also helpful to purchase a fuel gauge so you won’t run out of gas unexpectedly.