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Propane Grill Not Getting Hot? 6 Causes (+ How to Fix)

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Propane grills are simple and straightforward, but long-term wear and tear can cause a few low-heat issues. If your grill isn’t getting as hot as it used to, you’re in the right place.

A propane grill that’s not getting hot likely has one of the following problems:

  • Burner obstructions
  • Incorrect regulator readings
  • Loose propane connections
  • Gas line issues
  • Old or broken ignitors
  • Not enough propane in the tank

In this post, we’ll explain why each low-heat problem occurs on your propane grill and what you can do about it. Enjoy!

Burner Obstructions

Burner obstructions range from food drippings over the flame outlets to bent ignitor tips. When the ignitor sparks, it catches the gas and creates a fire. If the ignitor and burner are clogged, neither of them will work. The result is a propane grill that doesn’t get nearly as hot as it should.

Another reason your burners can get obstructed is if the grill sits outside during a rainstorm. Rust and corrosion form, covering the burner outlets. It’s important to cover your grill with a tarp or polyester cover. For more information about fixing burner obstructions on propane grills, review our process below.

How to Fix

Follow these steps to fix burner obstructions on a propane grill:

  1. Remove the grill grates, drip trays, and everything else above the burners.
  2. Scrap the burners with a stiff metal grill brush to remove all of the debris.
  3. Use a thin wire to unclog anything in the burner holes.
  4. Scrub the inside of the grill to get rid of everything to prevent it from clogging the burners down the road.

If you prefer video guides, check out this YouTube tutorial by Helpful DIY:

Incorrect Regulator Readings

According to Napoleon, propane regulators are made to choose how much gas flows through the line and to the burners. If it thinks there’s too much propane suddenly flowing to the grill, it’ll quickly drop the fuel supply. Your propane grill can be in perfect condition, but a misreading regulator can lower the heat by quite a bit.

All propane tanks should have regulators when they’re connected to a grill. These safety features prevent gas leaks and excessive fuel flow; Otherwise, a massive flame can burst through the grill. The good news is these small gadgets are very easy to repair or replace.

How to Fix

You have two options if there are incorrect regulator readings:

  1. Replace the regulator with a new one. To do this, all you have to do is turn off the gas on both ends, twist off the hose, remove the regulator, and twist on the new one. The Gas One Propane Tank Regulator has a three-foot hose, but there are longer lengths by the company. It has a ⅜-inch male fitting and a ⅝-inch female fitting.
  2. Reset your propane tank’s regulator. Turn off the propane gas on the tank and grill, remove the regulator, wait for a couple of minutes, then reinstall it. This process resets the regulator to stop it from thinking there’s a leak. If it triggers again, there’s a gas leak or the regulator needs to be replaced.

Loose Propane Connections

Your propane tank is connected to the regulator, which connects to the hose, then attaches to the grill. If any of these connections are interrupted, clogged, or loose, there won’t be enough heat in the grill. Furthermore, loose connections tend to leak gas, which often triggers the aforementioned regulator to trip.

Propane grill connections often loosen from fluctuating temperatures or pressure changes. They’re completely natural, but it’s important to inspect the connections regularly to prevent unwanted leaks. You’ll also keep your grill heated to the exact temperature that you set it to each time you light it.

How to Fix

Simply tighten all of the connections, including the regulator, hose, and connections to the grill from the hose. If there’s a leak, you’ll have to replace the hose with a new one. This process is the same as replacing the regulator, except you can keep your regulator and swap the hoses.

Gas Line Issues

Saber Grills claims gas line issues on a propane grill range from kinked hoses to small holes that you can barely see. If you smell gas anywhere near the grill, you should turn everything off until you find the leak. The gas hoses shouldn’t be flooded with too much pressure or they can bend and limit the heat inside of the grill.

Keep in mind that you don’t need an incredibly long propane hose to attach to the grill. It only needs to be long enough to connect to the grill and tank without stretching or bending. Too much gas line lowers the pressure, limiting the amount of fire going through the grill’s burners.

How to Fix

A kinked hose means it’s time to get a new one. It’s very difficult to iron out the bend, and it also weakens the material. A kinked hose will eventually cause leaks. Small hoses shouldn’t be patched, especially since getting a new propane tank hose is relatively affordable. Many of them come with pre-installed regulators, solving both common problems.

Old or Broken Ignitors

The ignitor sparks the propane coming into the grill. If it’s broken or damaged, it won’t be able to keep the grill hot enough to cook food. Most grills need to have their ignitors replaced every few years since they’re prone to wear and tear.

How to Fix

Try this method to replace the ignitor:

  1. Turn off the grill and close the gas lines.
  2. Remove the door or drawer below the broken ignitor switch.
  3. Unscrew the panel below it.
  4. Pull out the ignitor and swap it with a new one, ensuring it’s connected to the same two ignitor wires as the previous one.
  5. Replace all of the removed parts.

Not Enough Propane in the Tank

If there’s not enough fuel in the propane tank, your grill won’t have much to work with. We recommend weighing your propane tank every few grilling sessions, so you always know when it’s time to get a refill.

How to Fix

Get a propane tank refill or buy a new tank. 20-lb propane tanks last for several grilling sessions so you shouldn’t have to top them off too often. You can also hire professionals to install a 200+-pound propane tank on your property if you have the necessary permits.