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What to Do When My Gas Burners Won’t Stay Lit?

Many of us probably have had this issue. Preparing dinner to grill, going outside just to find your grill won’t light! Don’t freak out, there can be many issues. Here we will troubleshoot most of the issues you can encounter and how to handle them safely. Gas burners are convienient but sometimes need a little attention.
First and foremost, you should check the tank. Most grills have a tank reader that shows the amount of gas remaining.
If your grill is older or doesn’t just give the tank a lift. An empty tank is light. Stamped somewhere on the collar of the tank is how much it weighs empty, usually about 16.5 pounds. Full it should weigh around 37 pounds.
Changing the tank is easy, close the gas valve, disconnect the tank and remove it from the direct area of the grill.
Hot Tip
Make sure the burners are off before connecting a new tank!
If your tank is not empty the issue is elsewhere.

How to Perform a Quick Troubleshoot

If your tank isn’t empty and your grill isn’t lighting the next step would be check the ignitors. Most grills these days have automatic or manual ignition. Either by turning the knobs to a certain position or by pressing an ignite button.
Bic makes a handy grill lighter with a long stem, to keep those hands out of the fire. You can find this lighter design at most stores that sell lighters. They are perfect at getting next to the burner and igniting the gas. My grill has a small hole on the side that leads to the pilot burner. I simply turn the pilot burner on and then stick the lighter in the hole and pull the trigger.
If your burners have no gas coming out then your issue may be the valve on the tank. Make sure all the valves are in the open position.
Some grills also have a gas valve separate from the gas tank.
Any time the burners won’t light turn off all the control knobs and wait five minutes to allow any trapped gasses to safely escape.

Why Won’t My Gas Burners Stay Lit?

If you have ever experienced this problem, you know it’s a big one. There is nothing worse than putting food on the grill to come back and find it cold five minutes later. Like before, check your gas, it may have run out while cooking.
Another issue could be the burners are dirty. It’s always good to give your grill a thorough cleaning, burners included. Don’t do this prior to cooking. Sometimes grease or other foreign material can build up on the burner which would cause it to have a weak stream of gas.
Another issue may be those control valves we talked about before. Ensuring each one is fully open prior to lighting your burners will give you a strong consistent flame.
If your valve needs to be adjusted turn off all burners, close the valve all the way and then open it.
You may have an obstruction in one of your gas lines if the above-mentioned fixes don’t work. Take a flashlight and check the tubes. Grills sit outside and can be prone to the elements if not taken care of properly.
If nothing else seems to work you may have an issue with the gas regulators. If you bought your grill used the last owners may have installed parts incorrectly. Check to make sure everything is in its correct place. Almost every grill has the owner manual online for free. Search for your brand and model on Google.
Any time you are working on your grill make sure your tank is disconnected!

How to Prevent Gas Burners from Going Out.

Preventing the burners from going out is super easy! Most grills design the burners to be encased in the grill stopping wind and other elements from damping your flame.
Keep your grill closed! Besides the fact an open grill loses valuable heat, keeping your grill open can cause your flame to go out. It just takes one big gust of wind or a spilled drink.
Also ensuring all the connections are secure and valves properly opened will ensure the grill stays lit and strong while cooking.
Lastly, a low flame is a weak flame. Any disturbance to a lower flame could extinguish your burners. You don’t always need to blast the flames too high but keeping them on a medium-low can help keep your burners lit.

Common Gas Grill Problems and Solutions

First, let’s make sure your grill is operating properly. A grill’s burners should have a consistent flame on the entire length of the burner. The flame should also be blue in color close to the burner with an orange or yellow color on the top of the flame.
An inconsistent flame can be very frustrating. It can also be easily fixed! Check the gas valves and make sure you have gas. Check to make sure the burners are not obstructed.
Sometimes the problem can be in the gas regulator. If you have already checked for obstructions in the lines, give the regulator a couple light taps while trying to ignite.
About 3 years ago I bought an after market gas gauge that was supposed to be attached between the tank and the gas line. My grill was not preforming well and as soon as I removed the gas gauge it worked properly. If you have any add on gas gauges try removing them to see if they have been obstructing the flow of gas.
Most burners will also get clogged over time. It happens with use, don’t worry. If you are unsure of how to clean the burners another easy fix is letting the burners burn on high for 15 to 20 minutes. This step should clear any obstructions in the burners and bring your flame back to life.
Most ignitors just create a spark, but the creation of that spark varies. Some use battery power and some are just a button. Change the batteries and try again. If that doesn’t work most ignitors can also get blocked with use. Take the grates off and examine the ignition. Most obstructions can be seen and are also easily cleared. Make sure the gas is fully off before messing around with the igniter!
If you can’t figure out the issue or are hesitant to work on your grill find a local grill maintenance shop, or technician. Most of them are great people who want to get your grill back into working order.
REMEMBER – Always ensure the gas connections are closed prior to any work on your grill.

Benefits of Using a Gas Grill

Gas grills have many upsides. They are easy to use and simple to turn off. They require no prep work to get going and have some of the most consistent cooking flames out of all grilling options. Gas grills can be very helpful for new grillers.
Another great reason for using gas is for health benefits. Gas powered flames will reduce any harmful carcinogens. Charcoal and wood tend to let fats sit on the surface of the heat and release harmful smokes.
The levels are carcinogens released have not been deemed harmful by medical experts.
Gas powered grills give you great control over temperature. You can control the exact strength of the flame meaning you can choose whether you want your food to be cooked low and slow or super-hot. Other methods won’t give you this level of control.
Gas is also considered a safer grilling alternative. Some homeowners associations ban the use of charcoal entirely. The ashes and embers from charcoal can get picked up by wind and blown into plants. Gas does not have that issue.
Above all else, gas is a cheaper option. The price of tanks versus the price of a bag of charcoal and the fuel required to ignite it, gas wins. Plus the time aspect of starting a gas grill you save time and time is money.
Hot Tip
Most gas tank vendors give you a discount for returning an empty tank!
Lastly for beginners’ charcoal may seem to be complicated. It requires a constant monitoring and has no direct heat control. Gas offers an easy way to grill safely and cheap!
If you’re looking for a good gas grill recommendation, head on over to my Best Gas Grill page. You’ll see the gas grill I used for several years, and I still recommend it.
It’s been with me through thick and thin (steaks), and it’s got a nice electronic igniter, so tinkering with the flames won’t be necessary.
Finally, this gas grill (the Char-Griller 3001) is a good introduction to grilling in general, as it’s easy to work with and allows you plenty of grilling space.

Gas Grilling Tips

There is nothing worse than running out of gas when you want to grill. I always have two tanks; this allows me to change one and continue cooking without having to drive to get a replacement.
Keep all backup tanks in a cool dry spot away from cooking area.
When cleaning your grill heat it up first. Allow it to smoke for 15 to 20 minutes. Then take the grill brush and clean the grates. This softens up any gunk stuck to the grates making cleaning a breeze. Also, ensure your brush is clean too!
If your grill has multiple burners you can create different areas or zones for heat. Keeping one part as a searing zone with a higher heat and one part as a finishing zone allows you to cook perfect meats. You can also have a zone with a low heat for keeping foods warm until they are ready to be served.
Don’t overpack your grill. An overpacked grill loses heat and could begin to boil food instead of searing it. Give your food room to breathe.
Before any food touches your grill make sure you preheated it. Just like an oven grills should be preheated to ensure the food sears the moment it touches the grates.
When searing foods, you want to keep the lid open if they are thin foods, such as shrimp. For thicker foods like thick steaks, you want to close the lid. A good rule is any food thicker than half an inch, close the lid to sear.
When searing foods, sear on a higher heat but finish on a medium or low heat to get those perfect centers!


Following these tips you should be able to solve most gas grill problems. Now get out there and enjoy your grill and some time outside!