Troubleshooting a Weak Flame on a Gas Grill

By Cook's Illustrated Published May 2017

If you are experiencing a weak flame from your gas grill, try these troubleshooting tips before refilling the tank.

We’ve occasionally fired up our gas grills only to have the burners emit a tepid flame no matter how high we set the knobs. This does not mean it’s time to get a new tank of gas. Instead, we learned that a weak flame can be a signal that the safety regulator on the propane line—that aluminum device that sits near the end of the hose that attaches to the tank—has been tripped, slowing the flow of gas to a trickle.

This regulator is designed to respond to low gas pressure inside the hose, a sign that there’s a leak, but it can also be tripped accidentally if you turn on the grill burners before you open the valve on the tank. With the burner valves open, pressure never builds up inside the hose, and the regulator thinks it has detected a leak.

TO AVOID THE PROBLEM: Always make sure to open the valve on the tank before turning on the grill’s burners. And when you have finished grilling, be sure to turn off the burners before shutting off the gas flow from the tank.

TO FIX THE PROBLEM: If you forget the order of operations above, the steps at the right will show you how to reset the regulator and get your grill back up and running.

1. Turn off all burners.

2. Turn off valve on tank.

3. Detach regulator and hose from tank’s nozzle; wait at least 30 seconds before reattaching it.