Having a grill with a low flame that is unable to get hot can be frustrating. You will either end up having to spend way longer than normal grilling or not be able to grill at all. If you are having issues with your grill getting hot, it could be a number of issues. Whether you have a propane grill or charcoal, I’ll go over some issues that could be preventing your grill from getting hot.
If you are having issues with your propane grill getting hot, you will probably notice that the grill has a low flame. There are two likely causes of this.
Check For a Gas Leak
The first thing you will want to do is check for a gas leak. Checking for a gas leak is simple and something you can do on your own.
To check, apply soapy water to the propane tanks gas line and where it connects while the propane tank is turned on (make sure the burners are off). If bubbles form, that means there is a leak. You’ll want to check for leaks every time you change your tank or once per year at a minimum. I think it’s better to check for propane tanks at least once per month.“How to Maintain a Grill – The Ultimate Guide”
If you do end up finding a gas leak, call a professional to have them take care of it. Putting in a new tank that is properly connected should fix your issue.
Problem With The Propane Regulator
The most common reason that propane grills do not get hot is that there is an issue with the propane regulator. Propane grills come with propane regulators as a safety measure in case of a gas leak. If your grill detects a gas leak, the propane regulator will severely restrict the gas flow.
You do want to check if there is a gas leak before trying anything, that is why the propane regulators are in place. If you checked and discovered there is no gas leak, you might have accidentally activated the propane regulator. One way this can happen is if you turn on the knobs before turning on the tank. You will find that grill will only reach about 300 degree Fahrenheit if you activate the propane regulator.
If you do accidentally activate the propane regulator, here is what you can do to reset it. First, make sure all the knobs on the grill are set to off and turn off the tank. Next, disconnect the propane regulator from the tanks and wait 30 seconds. Then, slowly open the tank so it is fully open and turn on the grill. That should fix the propane regulator issue.
This video from Woodland Direct does a great job of showing how to safely reset the propane regulator.
With charcoal goals, you are not going to have to deal with a propane tank. You could still have trouble with getting your grill hot though. Usually when a charcoal grill is having issues with getting hot, the issue has to do with either the charcoals or airflow. Getting your charcoal grill to stay hot is easy enough once you have detected the issue.
Check Your Charcoal
If you charcoal grill does not get hot, check your charcoal! First, make sure you are using the right kind of charcoal. Use good quality briquettes because cheap charcoal is going to come with some issues. If you are going to cook on it, you want to use high quality charcoals!
You will also want to make sure that the charcoals are not damp. When not in use, keep the charcoals somewhere dry because you will have a tough time lighting damp charcoals. If you are unable to light the charcoals your grill will obviously not get hot. You will also want to stick to using new charcoal. You might notice that used charcoals do not get as hot as new charcoals.
Make Sure Your Grill is Clean
Like I mentioned earlier, poor airflow could be one reason why your charcoal is struggling to get hot. One reason for poor airflow could be that your grill needs to be cleaned. If you have not cleaned your grill in a while, it may be time for a good deep clean. I went over how to deep clean a charcoal in How to Maintain Your Grill – The Ultimate Guide. You will also want to clean your grill after each use to keep it clean throughout the grilling season.
The important thing here is to avoid excessive ash build up in your grill. If you have a lot of ash built up it can make it really difficult for the coals to stay lit, meaning your grill won’t get hot. After emptying out the ashes, you will notice that your charcoal is burning much better than before. Emptying out the ashes can also increase the life span of your grill because built up ashes can lead to corrosion.
Other Things to Consider
Another smaller thing you will want check for is the dampers on your grill. Make sure that all three dampers are open. This will get more oxygen to the charcoal, meaning they will burn at a higher temperature. Drip pans in the grill can also restrict some of the oxygen from getting to the charcoal.
You also want to take into account your grilling method. If you are grilling on indirect heat, you should not expect your grill to be that hot. The whole point of indirect grilling is not to grill on the flame so your meat cooks slowly and on a lower temperature.
Another small thing that is worth mentioning is the altitude. The higher up you go, less oxygen will be available. You might have trouble getting sufficient oxygen to the charcoal. At elevations above 5,000 feet, the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere will begin to drop, so you might experience your grill having trouble with getting and staying hot.
Hopefully this article was helpful for troubleshooting why your grill won’t get hot. For more tips on grilling, be sure to check out our grilling section!