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Why Is a Grill Humming, Whistling, Popping, or Clicking?

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After the summer we’ve had, I’m sure you’ve spent a lot of time outside on the grill. From cooking juicy steaks and burgers to chicken and classic hotdogs, it probably had quite the workout. But what do you do when your trusty grill starts to make strange noises?

A grill may start humming, whistling, popping, or clicking as the temperature rises or drops. It could be the pressure regulator vibrating, the cooking grates expanding and contracting, or the gas connector becoming loose. Though likely harmless, it could also be a sign that something is broken. 

If your grill has started to make unusual noises, don’t panic. First, ensure it’s switched off and cold, and then read on for a simple guide to all the noises your grill could make and what you can do to fix the issue.

Noises Your Grill Can Make

There are all kinds of noises your grill can make. Some of them are more worrying than others, but most have easy fixes. 

Humming, whistling, popping, and clicking noises are the most common noises you’ll hear from your grill, and though some of these develop as your grill ages, others can emerge based on specific situations. 

It’s essential to make sure that you have carefully examined all causes and ruled out significant issues before making your next move.

Humming Noises

If you hear a humming noise from your grill, it can be caused by an air bubble that is caught in the regulator hose. These are mostly harmless (though they are annoying) and can be solved easily.

 To remove the noise, all you need to do is remove the hose and refill it. 

If there is an air bubble, the humming noise will be created when the gas passes the air in the hose. The gas moving by air causes the hose to rattle and vibrate around. 

The regulator’s internal vibrations can also cause humming. These can be caused by many things, including air pressure, humidity, or the amount of gas in the tank.

You could also be hearing the gas hose coming loose. If the nut is loose, it could be rattling or vibrating around as the grill operates. Make sure that all parts of the gas system are secured and do not need repairs.

Whistling Noises

Whistling coming from your grill can also be very alarming and startling. Whistling is one of the harshest noises your grill can make, and you need to make sure that everything is in working condition.

Sometimes, the whistle is due to gas escaping the tank. If there is a fault with your tank, you should hear the gas running when the grill is powered off. 

If this is the case, you need to remove the tank and not operate the grill while solving the issue.

You can listen carefully and look for any visible holes or damage.

If you can’t find the specific spot where the hole is, you can use a soapy mixture to find it. Mix dish soap with water and gently apply the mixture to the tank. 

As gas escapes, you should see tiny bubbles forming where the hole is. Wipe the tank clean and circle the spot you found so you can show it to a technician. If you still don’t see bubbles, your tank may have lost all of the gas. Clean up the tank and prepare it for transportation.

You should take the tank to your nearest hardware store or RV center. These places should be able to get you a new tank and adequately dispose of the faulty one to prevent it from becoming a hazard. 

Failing to replace it can put you and anyone else who uses your grill at risk of injury. One stray spark or the gas cloud getting too close to a flame could cause a massive fire or explosion. 

It is crucial to make sure that you are not dealing with a hazardous situation. You should take it very seriously if you think your gas tank leaks. 

Popping Noises

Popping noises from inside your grill can be very concerning to hear. However, they usually have simple explanations.

Some popping noises occur naturally during the cooking process. For example, as fat cooks and melts out of the meat, it can catch and pop as it cooks or burns.

Your grill’s burner could also be partially covered or clogged. Make sure your grill is cool, and take a peek under the hood. It could be as easy as cleaning out the casing.

However, popping is another story entirely if you don’t use a gas grill. Depending on the material you’re using, you could be hearing popping from the combustion materials. For example, wood and charcoal can make popping noises as they burn. 

Clicking Noises

If you hear clicking noises from your grill, it can mean several different things.

Some clicking is regular, such as when you are turning on the gas and igniting the burner.

If the clicking is slower during ignition, your ignitor could have issues, or the battery used to ignite the gas is failing. 

To see if this is the case, manually light the gas. If the gas lights properly, then you know it’s an ignitor issue.

Disconnect the gas and carefully check on each part of the ignitor. Make sure to check the wiring. Sometimes, clicking means that the ignitor wires are failing to transmit the charge. 

In newer grills, check to make sure that the ignitor battery is working as intended. If your grill is brand new, make sure you’ve removed the plastic separator. 

However, if you hear noises outside of the ignition processor while it is running, it could mean that there are other issues.

Sometimes, there are issues with your supply hose. Make sure that the hose is secured correctly and put together. Clicking could be because your ignitor is attempting to fire, but the wiring has failed. 

You could be having problems with cracked porcelain on the ignitor. If the porcelain has been damaged in any way, you could be hearing the crack worsen. Unfortunately, there is no way to repair this kind of damage, and you will need to order a new part.

These noises are also possible with either a charcoal or pellet grill, but gas grills tend to have unique issues, as described above.

Gas Grill Burner Making Noise

If you hear your gas grill burner making noise, you should stop using your grill and allow it to cool down. Then, remove any parts that cover it or block access and carefully begin to examine the burner. 

Sometimes, there can be clogs from char and other debris that prevent a flame from developing. That can be solved by simply brushing away the debris, reassembling the grill, and turning it back on.

You may also see bugs or other creatures that have made their home inside your grill. To avoid this, make sure you clear them all out before continuing to operate.

If there are enough bugs in there to make a noise, you should keep an eye out for how the bugs are getting in. If you find an access point, make sure to seal it.

However, there could also be more extensive issues. For example, you could have a piece rattling and loose that needs to be tightened down and adjusted. It’s a good idea to check each part of the burner and casing for any issues. 

Gas grill burners should make a small amount of noise during use from the gas flow. However, if it gets louder and becomes irregular, that is when you should take a look and make sure it’s not more severe.

When To Get a New Grill

It can be hard to decide to get a new grill and replace the one you currently have. However, many grills can last upwards of five or fifteen years with regular maintenance, proper covering, and regular cleaning.

Some issues are much easier to fix than others. There are many DIY repair guides out there on YouTube or through BBQ grill-specific blogs. 

Some, like this YouTube tutorial below, go through more in-depth refurbishing work that will help keep your grill at peak efficiency:

Others, like this post from Little Grill Collective, provide you with general help for other common issues.

Before you decide to put down money to replace your grill, make sure to look at all the DIY options.

Visit the Company Website

Most companies today are online, and many of them have transferred their most common helpline questions to their websites. These can be great resources for some of the most common issues grill owners face.

FAQ sections and support forums can be great resources to find solutions and shared experiences from other grill owners. 

You can also see if there are any common issues owners of your specific grill face. Finally, fellow owners might have some tips and tricks you can use to fix your problems.

Many grill companies will also sell repair parts so you can buy pieces that meet your grill’s specifications, even if they are out of warranty. 

For example, Coleman has a partner that sells genuine parts for products out of warranty that people may need to repair their grills. You can order through these partner companies and trust that they will provide you with genuine parts.

Contact Your Grill’s Company

Most modern grill manufacturers have help numbers you can call or forms you can fill out. You should be able to speak to a representative and get the answers you need fast. 

If they don’t have a call line, you can get more information from an email.

Here are some of the helpline details for the most common grill brands:

  • Coleman: They do not have a customer service line, but they have a form and an information page to help you contact them.
  • Char-Broil: 1 (866) 239-6777
  • Nexgrill: There is no customer service line here either, but they do have a form you can fill out to receive personalized information and care.
  • Weber: 1 (800) 446-1071

Before you call in, you should make sure you have all the relevant information. For example, make sure you know the make, model, and year of your grill. It can also be helpful to have the user manual at your side so you can refer back to specific parts or areas of your grill.

You should also look for a model number. Most user manuals will have diagrams showing you where the serial number and model number are.

Contact a Repairman

Sometimes, you won’t be able to repair your grill yourself. This is the case if you have an older grill or if the damage is significant. You could also find yourself working on a more challenging problem than you expected.

If this is the case, contact a maintenance specialist to fix the problem for you. Their entire job is to fix grills and handle lengthier repairs. 

Many will also offer cleaning services and regular check-ups. These will make sure your grill remains in tip-top shape and that more significant issues can get caught before they become worse.

Before hiring a repairperson, make sure to check if they have a factory certification from the grill brand you own. While not having that certification isn’t entirely a red flag, it might be a better idea to look for someone who does.

Factory certifications mean that the company has certified that the repairperson understands their machine well enough that they can repair it professionally. In addition, they will likely have passed specific courses and have proven their skill. 

If you’re looking for factory certifications, most repair people will put their credentials on their website’s front page, where potential clients can see them. They may also have a specific page where they keep their list of certifications.

Final Thoughts

There are many reasons your grill could be making unfamiliar noises while you are using it.

There could be issues with your hoses, ignitor, and other gas-related matters. Therefore, it’s essential to ensure that the gas has been turned off and the grill has cooled down before you begin repairs.

You could also look into getting your grill repaired by a professional or reach out to the company that manufactured your grill. Both of these are good options if you feel out of your depth with DIY repairs or if the damage is significant.