The term “Gas Grill” technically covers a spectrum of natural gas and propane grills. Some propane grills can be connected to a one-pound DOT-39 propane cylinder or a larger propane tank. These grills are especially handy as they are portable and can be taken on camping trips or to a tailgate party.
There are also some propane grills that can be hooked up to a municipal gas line. The trade-off in a lack of portability is affordability, as many homes with a dedicated propane line get their gas at a lower rate than the same propane in a portable tank.
Natural gas grills differ from propane grills in a few ways. First of all, natural gas has less energy density than propane. This means that it’s not really available to consumers in a portable tank. It needs to have a municipal line plumbed to the spot where the grill will live. Many come with their own 10-foot long gas hose to give you a little wiggle room.
The advantage of natural gas is that it costs less for the same thermal output. It’s also clean-burning, especially at low temperatures, which means you taste the food and not the lingering odor of the gas like sometimes happens when propane doesn’t oxidize completely.
Of course, with all these components and connections, you need to make sure everything is connected properly. We are still talking about energetic, flammable hydrocarbons. Most importantly, we strongly suggest you get someone to help who is mechanically inclined if you have any doubts.
How To Properly Connect A One-Pound Propane Cylinder
One-pound propane cylinders like the popular DOT-39 are relatively easy to connect. They are most often found with portable grills that you need to burn for two or three hours. Though there are a few tabletop grills that deserve to pull double duty on a deck that will also run off a one-pound propane cylinder.
It’s worth noting that one-pound gas cylinders use a different type of coupler than a larger propane tank. There are even some portable gas grills that have special connections that let you attach either type of cylinder or tank.
When connecting a one-pound propane cylinder to a pre-installed gas hose, you simply need to screw it in place. If you need to install a one-pound cylinder to an adaptor or control arm, it helps to screw the tank onto the adaptor first to make sure you have a firm seal. Then you can insert or screw the gas line adaptor into the grill.
How To Properly Connect A gas grill To A Propane Tank
If you are changing from a previously spent tank you need to first make sure to close the valve on the grill’s gas line as well as the propane tank itself. This will ensure that trace amounts of gas don’t escape.
Step 1: Remove the old propane tank to a safe distance.
Step 2: Carefully remove the perforated plastic seal from the new propane tank.
Step 3: Connect the grill’s gas hose to the new propane tank by pushing the coupler into the tank and firmly hand tightening the knob.
Step 4: Open the propane tank’s valve.
Step 5: Open the lid of the grill and test fire each burner to ensure that the propane connection is operating correctly and at full pressure.
How To Properly Connect A Propane Grill To A Propane Line
If your deck or patio has an existing propane line, you can easily connect your propane gas grill to it. Not only does this save you money, but it also spares you having to run to the store every couple of months for a refill or replacement propane tank.
Some people with this type of set up like to hook their grill up with quick connect fittings. This allows you to switch between the dedicated house propane line on the deck when the grill is staying put, or a propane tank when you want to use it as a portable gas grill for a camping trip or a tailgate party. This typically requires you to have a separate accessory gas line with a 3/8-inch flare. Sealant tape is also a very good idea.
Installing Quick Connect Fittings On A Propane Grill
Step 1: Wrap sealant tape around all flare fittings.
Step 2: Attach the 3/8-inch fittings to the accessory propane hose.
Step 3: Double check that the flare quick-connect the and female fitting seat together firmly. This typically requires wrenches rather than finger tightening.
How To Properly Connect A Natural Gas Line To A Natural Gas Grill
It’s important to note that natural gas cannot burn safely in a propane element or vice versa. There are some grill manufacturers who offer conversion kits that will let you switch from one type of gas to another. However, they do require a fair amount of extra installation.
You also need to make sure that you have natural gas available on your deck or patio. This is not the sort of thing you can do on your own. If you have fallen in love with a specific natural gas grill, but you don’t have a natural gas line running to that location, you will need to either contact your municipal provider or a licensed gas fitting company.
Once you have a secure gas line plumbed to your preferred location the process of installing your natural gas grill is relatively easy. Most manufacturers will even provide a 10 to 12-foot long natural gas hose with the initial purchase.
Step 1: Carefully remove the safety cap on the line with a pipe wrench.
Step 2: Dry fit the connections to make sure everything is seating properly and there aren’t any cross-threading issues.
Step 3: Apply sealant or sealant tape and then firmly connect the natural gas hose to the fitting. This should lock them in place.
Checking For Leaks Using The Soapy Water Test
On their own, propane and natural gas don’t have a distinctive odor. Most providers then add other components to the gas to give it a rotten egg smell, which helps you know that there is a leak. However, this doesn’t necessarily tell you where a potential leak is in the gas line or fittings. One easy way to find a gas leak is to use the “Soapy Water Test.”
Step 1: Mix some common dish detergent with water in a spray bottle.
Step 2: Vigorously spray down the gas lines and fittings.
Step 3: Open the main valve on the gas line or propane tank. Don’t turn on the gas grill.
The pressure that builds up in the line will then push against the film of soapy water, which will create small bubbles. If there is a problem, you’ll need to fix it before firing up the grill. When you are done, you simply fill the spray bottle with clean water, spray everything down vigorously, and let it drip dry.