equipment
How to Check Your Propane Gas Grill or Fryer for Leaks
A simple test ensures your safety while grilling or frying with propane.
06-25-2021
Miye Bromberg

If you own a gas grill or burner powered by propane (such as a turkey fryer), you need to know how to check the gas line for leaks before you start cooking. If any gas is leaking out when you ignite the grill or burner, you could start a fire, or worse, set off an explosion.

The first thing to do is make a visual inspection. Jackie Mason of the Propane Council of Texas told us to make sure that there's no cracks or rust on the tank, which can compromise its structural integrity. Then look for holes, wears, or tears on the hose—squirrels or other wild animals may enjoy nibbling on it. 

From there, a simple test can tell you whether you have any leaks. We follow the guidance of the National Institutes of Health.

  1. First, make a soap solution, mixing 1 tablespoon of liquid dish detergent with a cup of water.
  2. Open the valve to the propane tank, allowing gas to flow.
  3. Use a spray bottle to spray the solution over the gas hose and fittings, paying special attention to the points where the hose connects to the tank and to your grill or burner.
  4. If you see bubbles forming at any point, there’s a leak there. Turn off the gas and tighten any connections that might be loose. Repeat the test. If there are no gas bubbles, you’re good to go—just wait 5 minutes for any gas that was released on the first round to dissipate. If you still see gas bubbles, though, don’t proceed with your cooking plans. If bubbles appear on the gas hose or grill valve, turn off the gas and call a service technician. You may need to replace the faulty part before using your grill to cook. If there appears to be a leak on the propane tank, Texas Propane's Jackie Mason says, do not attempt to transport the tank. Turn off any valve (righty tighty), leave the area, and contact your fire department—gas is leaking out and may start a fire.

What if you haven't used your propane tank for years? Is it safe to use?

Mason said as long as the tank looks to be in good shape, the hoses exhibit no wear or tear, and the connections are tight, you should feel safe to use the tank even after a prolonged period of non-use. (DOT steel propane cylinders have to be recertified initially after 12 years and subsequently every five years after. Any expired tanks should be traded in at your propane dealer or hardware store.)

And what if you do suspect gas leakage? We said it above but it bears repeating: Don't attempt to transport the tank. Turn off any valve, leave the area, and contact your service technician or fire department. You don't want to leave anything to chance.


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