Elgas LPG Gas Blog

Turn Your BBQ Off at the Gas Bottle First

Did you know that turning your BBQ off at the gas bottle first is both safer and could save you money?
Many people finish with their BBQ and just turn off the burners. 
Many do not turn off the gas bottle at all and this is the problem…

The Potential Problem

Turn Your BBQ Off at the Gas Bottle First

In a perfectly engineered world, everything on your BBQ would seal perfectly.  

The reality is that gas burner valves and regulator connections can leak.

This is especially true as they wear with age and there can be quite a few on a single BBQ.  

For example, with a six burner BBQ, there are at least 7 gas seals that must be perfectly seated to avoid leaks. 

The leaks can be very small and unnoticeable. 

However, over time, a substantial amount of gas could leak out of your BBQ if you do not close the gas bottle valve.

Why It Is Safer

The safety implications of this are obvious. 
Gas could accumulate in the area where the BBQ is stored, creating an ignition hazard. 
This is why you should NEVER store a BBQ indoors unless you remove the gas bottle, storing the bottle separately outdoors. 
However, if a BBQ is stored correctly, in a well-ventilated outdoor location, the gas from a very slow leak would most likely just dissipate.

How You Save Money

These small leaks can also cost you money.  
If your BBQ sits for days or weeks between uses, a small leak can add up to a substantial amount of wasted gas. 
As much as we would love to sell you more gas, we don’t want to see you waste your money!

How To Turn Your BBQ Off Safely:

The best practice is to get onto the habit of turning your BBQ off at the gas bottle first. 
This does three important things.  
First, it ensures that you don’t completely forget to close the gas bottle valve. 
It also uses up all of the gas remaining in the gas lines so you are safely storing your BBQ with no remnant gas remaining in the unit. 
More importantly, it eliminates the possibility of leaks from all of the burners and the regulator connection while in storage. 
So, you stay safe and save money!
Just follow these four steps:
1. Turn your BBQ off at the gas bottle first by turning the valve clockwise
2. Close firmly by hand only
3. Turn off all of the burners
4. Store BBQ in a well-ventilated outdoor location
NOTE:  This advice applies to POL valves used in Australia. 
This may not be the best procedure with other valves, like the OPD valves used in the USA.

Hot To Safely Attach or Change Your BBQ Gas Bottle

Connecting & Disconnecting: 

The male connector of a POL regulator has a reverse or left-handed thread. 

So, to detach, you turn it clockwise and then anti-clockwise to re-attach. 

For full step-by-step instructions, please see:

How to Attach or Change Your BBQ Gas Bottle

BBQ Gas Leak Test

It is important to regularly leak test your BBQ gas bottle, regulator and hose.  
Leaks from these items are frequently the cause of BBQ gas fires. 

Common Problem Areas

Most Likely Leak Areas

Main Connection:  

Main Connection

The standard BBQ regulator in Australia is a POL regulator. 

The male connector of the regulator, which screws into the POL gas valve on your gas bottle, may have a rubber O-ring seal or it may rely on a metal to metal contact seal.  

You should always inspect the regulator for damage, paying special attention to the connector, which screws into the gas bottle.  

If it has a rubber O-ring, it also needs to be undamaged.

The connector and the female valve opening should both be clean and undamaged. 
Pieces of dirt, nicks and scratches can prevent the two components from sealing, resulting in a leak.  

Gas Hose

BBQ hose & regulatorThe gas hose is attached to the regulator on one end and the BBQ on the other end. 
It can become damaged or deteriorate with age.  
Dogs and other animals can also cause damage by chewing on the dangling hose.  
Visually inspect the hose for cracking, splitting or other damage.  
You should replace the hose if it shows any signs of damage or degradation.  
It is good practice to replace the entire regulator and hose assembly, if it is old enough for the hose to have deteriorated, as regulators also wear with age. 

Valve Stem

Valve Stem

In Australia, BBQ gas bottles must be tested every ten years.  

The gas valve is changed upon inspection and the valves are expected to last for the full ten years.  

However, occasionally the valve will fail prematurely and start leaking from around the valve stem.  This is rare but it can happen.  

Please see Gas Bottle-Cylinder Testing Facts for more information on the ten year testing process.

Bleed Screw

Bleed Screw

The bleed screw is a small slotted screw on the side of the valve that lets gas vapour bleed off during the decanting refill process.  

The refill technician opens it during the filling process and closes it, when done.  

The screw can develop a slow leak if it becomes loose.

How To Do The Leak Test

When to Test

The BBQ gas bottle, regulator & hose assembly should be checked for leaks, using the soapy water leak test, every time you reconnect your regulator to the BBQ gas bottle. 
You should also test after any long period of non-use, such as at the beginning of BBQ season.

Soapy Water Solution

Soapy Water Solution

You will need a soapy water solution to check for any leaks. 

Mixing liquid hand soap with water should work fine.  Place the solution in a liquid spray bottle.  

It’s a good idea to leave the spray bottle with the BBQ, so it’s always a handy reminder to perform the leak test.

No Ammonia

Your BBQ valve and fittings are made from brass.  
You must never use any soapy water solution that contains ammonia, when you do your testing. 
Ammonia can cause brass to become brittle and crack. 
Be aware that ammonia is found in many pre-prepared glass and surface cleaners, so make sure you read the label before use.

How to do the Soapy Water Test

BBQ Gas Leak Test

Put some soapy water in a spray bottle or a dish.  

Turn on the gas bottle without turning on the BBQ.  This pressurises the system.  

Next, spray the entire valve, regulator and hose assembly with the soapy water.  

Alternatively, you can apply the soapy water with a paint brush, basting brush or it can even be sponged on.  

Bubbles will form if there is a gas leak and you may also smell the gas. 

You need to test the entire assembly from the gas bottle valve all the way to where the gas hose attaches to the BBQ.  
When done, rinse with clean water to remove the soap solution.
Remember to always test the lot every time you re-connect your gas bottle.
If you find a leak, turn off the gas bottle immediately!  
Do not turn back on or attempt to use the BBQ until the problem is rectified.

Extra Safety Tip

DO NOT leave 9kg gas bottles in enclose vehicle unnecessarilyThe best practice gas safety advice is that gas bottles should only be in a vehicle for the minimum required transport time. 

When you do transport a gas bottle, you should consider one added precaution. 

After making sure that the valve is firmly closed, you should spray the entire valve assembly to check for any possible leaks, prior to transport.

 DO NOT leave BBQ bottles in enclose vehicle unnecessarily.

 

 

 

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The information in this article is derived from various sources and is believed to be correct at the time of publication. However, the information may not be error free and may not be applicable in all circumstances.