Get your grill ready for barbecue season

Scott JacksonComment

In just a few easy steps and with a little elbow grease, you can give your grill a proper spring cleaning and have it ready for summer barbecues.

Chuck Bower, store manager at Newkirk Ace East Hardware, shared some advice on how to maintain your grill for safety and function.

During winter, a grill can become a cozy habitat for insects and spiders. The first important step is making sure they haven’t formed a sticky, thick web in the burner or venturi tubes. These tubes extend from the burner to control valves and allow air to mix with the gas as you ignite the grill.

Insect nests and eggs block the flow of gas when you turn on the grill, and can lead to problems with the gas igniting around the valve area.

“Take a skinny bristle brush into the tubes. The nest will catch on it and then slowly bring it out,” Bower said.

After the insects are removed, check the grill's valves. Dana Koupal, also a year-round grill man, recommended making sure valves are not loose or leaking gas. “Take soapy dish water, place on the valves and check for bubbles,” he said. If bubbles form, you have a leak and need to fix it before using the grill.

Always remember to inspect your connections, Bower added.

After that, take a wire brush and scrub any deposits that have accumulated, like on the grates. Bower and Koupal follow up with a degreaser product to get rid of old grease.

“I let it sit for a while, and then rinse it off and it’s ready to go,” Bower said.

In charcoal grills, Bower recommended scooping out old briquettes and replacing them with new ones.

“You also want to check your grill for rust,” Bower said. “Look for it in the burner assembly, in the belly of the grill, like under the briquettes, and check for rust in the flavorizer bars.”

If parts are rusted replace them.

Check your grease pan and clean it and make sure your ignitor works, Bower said. If it won’t turn on, then it’s likely broken and will need replaced.

Don’t neglect the outside of your grill. Both Bower and Koupal like to spiffy up the exterior by wiping down the outside and polishing any stainless steel.

If you have a propane grill, have your propane tanks filled so you’re ready for the season.

It's also important to think about where you're placing your grill for the summer season. “Don’t set it against the house. Heat can become trapped between the grill and house and melt your sliding,” Koupal warned.

If you’re setting the grill on a deck, buy a grill mat to protect the deck surface from grease spills, Bower said.

“Once it’s all cleaned and polished, you’re ready to go,” he said.