How to Refurbish a Gas Grill
After a few years, your gas grill can start looking worse for the wear. You might be tempted to trade it in for a new one, but with a little work and some new parts you can make your grill look and work like new.
Parts You Can Replace or Upgrade
Most home stores carry a selection of parts for gas grills, everything from new electric igniters to propane regulators. All of these are easily installed by the average DIYer. The most common points of wear for gas grills are the burner tubes, burner shields, cooking grates, thermometer, electric igniter, and the propane regulator.
Tools You'll Need
Most grills can be assembled with basic hand tools. Pliers, wrenches and a few screwdrivers usually do the trick. For cleaning your grill’s insides and rusty exterior parts, a wire brush will work for light rust. If your grill is as neglected as ours was, it’s helpful to have an angle grinder. Angle grinders have wire brush attachments, paint/rust removal discs and polishing pads for delicate surfaces. Don’t forget your basic personal protective gear: eyeglasses, gloves and a respirator. This can be a messy job, so it’s important to protect yourself and to work outside or in a well-ventilated area.
THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP
Before you go any further, the most important thing you need to do is disconnect the propane tank. Close the valve on the tank, unscrew the regulator and move the tank outdoors and as far from your work area as you can. Propane should not be stored in enclosed areas and should not be anywhere near any type of ignition source.
Turn Gas Valves Off and Remove Control Panel
Once you’ve disconnected the gas and stored the tank, you need to make sure that you’ve turned the control knobs to the off position. Then, remove the knobs and the control panel to gain access to the gas valves and ignition switch.
Remove the Old Regulator
Using an adjustable wrench, remove the old propane regulator hose. It’s a good idea to move this out of your work area. Leave it outside for a little while to allow any residual gas to dissipate then you can discard it safely.
Remove Igniter and Gas Valves
Once the control panel has been removed, you should be able to remove the electric igniter and the gas valves. This might vary a little depending on your grill model, but should be fairly straightforward. Hang on to your gas valves and inspect them for damage. If they appear to be in good condition, you can just clean them up and reuse them.
Remove Exterior Accessories and Drip Pans
Now that your gas elements have been removed, you can start breaking your grill down to its basic parts. Remove any exterior accessories that will interfere with cleaning and painting your grill. Make sure to carefully label all your hardware and keep your parts organized so you can easily reassemble your grill. It helps to take pictures as you work so you can remember where things go during re-assembly.
Time to Remove the Rusty Insides
Open the lid and start by removing the cooking grates. If yours are still serviceable, clean them with some soapy water and your wire brush. If yours are too far gone (like ours), you can discard or recycle the old ones and replace them with new ones.
Removing Old Burner Tubes
With the cooking grates and the burner guards out of the way, you can now remove your old burner tubes. Since you’ve come this far, it’s highly recommended that you replace your old burner tubes. Having new burners and burner guards really makes your grill work like new.
Here's the Dirty Part
Your gill accumulates an incredible amount of char and grease over the years. Depending on how old your grill is, and where you’ve stored it, you might be able to clean the insides with a simple wire brush and a little effort. Try to avoid spraying your grill with water as it only encourages more rust and makes a huge mess.
When The Brush Won't Cut It
If your grill has more grime than you can possibly muscle off, an angle grinder with a brush attachment will give you the power you need to clean your grill back to clean metal. Remember to wear gloves, eye protection and a respirator. This will create a lot of dust and grime so make sure to work outside and be gentle — you’re trying to remove the grease, not the metal.
Removing Old Paint With Ease
Removing old paint from a grill by hand is tough and you should avoid using chemical strippers. Installing a paint/rust removal disc (commonly called a “flap disc”) on your angle grinder makes removing old paint a breeze. Make sure to wear all of your protective gear and be sure to work outside. Use the flap disc only on painted surfaces — do not use it on any powder coated, aluminum or stainless steel surfaces.
Polish or Scrub Non Painted Surfaces
Our grill has an enameled surface so it only needs to be scrubbed with a mild detergent. If your grill is aluminum or stainless steel, you’ll want to use a cleaner or polish that’s specifically made for that material. Make sure to use a water-based cleaner and remove any chemical residue before lighting your grill.
Repainting Metal Surfaces
Because your grill reaches extreme temperatures, you’ll need to look for a spray paint that’s specifically designed for grills. Look for high-temperature grill paint at your local home store. Be sure to carefully mask out or cover any areas you don’t want to be painted. Also, do not spray paint any parts of your grill that come into contact with flames and do not paint the inside of the lid. This will keep paint flakes from falling into your food.
Re-Install the Ignition Switch
Once you’ve painted the grill you can begin installing your new parts. Start by installing the ignition switch through the side of the grill, making sure it faces toward the location of the first burner tube.
Install New Burner Tubes
Install your new burner tubes according to the manufacturer's instructions and make sure they’re held securely in place. You’ll want to ensure that they won’t wiggle loose when you move or bump the grill.
Re-Install the Gas Valves
Once your burner tubes are in place, you can re-install the gas valves. Double check to make sure that they’re all still turned to the off position and then tightly secure them in place.
Hook Up the New Regulator Hose
Using your adjustable wrench, screw the new regulator hose onto the gas valve assembly. You’ll want to use some Teflon tape to make sure that you have a good seal so that no gas escapes when you connect the propane bottle.
Replace the Control Panel and Gas Knobs
Re-install the control panel and any knobs or accessories that go along with it. Make sure that it’s secured tightly and that it won’t move or accidentally come off while you’re grilling.
IMPORTANT - Testing for Leaks
Once you’ve connected your gas line and all of your controls, you’ll want
to test for leaks. Using a small bottle of soapy water, squirt some liquid
onto any gas connections and then open up the propane tank. If you see
any bubble coming out at the connection, or if you smell any gas at all,
shut off your tank, re-tighten your connections and continue to test until
the leaks are gone. DO NOT EVER ATTEMPT TO TEST FOR LEAKS WITH
AN OPEN FLAME.
Test Your Burner Tubes
Once you’re satisfied that you have addressed any leaks, you can test to ensure that all of your burners are igniting properly. Following your grill's instructions, light your burners one at a time and let them heat up for a little while to ensure that they stay lit with no issues.
Re-Install Your Burner Guards
Turn off your grill and let it cool to a safe temperature, and then install your burner guards. These keep food and grease from dripping into your burners and should be replaced any time they start to show signs of excessive rust or fatigue.
Install New Grill Grates
Once your burner guards are back in place you can re-install your grills
cooking grates and make sure that they fit securely in place. It’s important
to make sure they won’t fall through while you’re cooking!
Oil the Inside and Heat It Up
Now that your grill’s insides are all clean and refurbished, you’ll want to season it. Lightly spray the burner guards, the grill grates, and the inside of the lid with canola or a similar vegetable oil. Heat your grill to around 500 degrease Fahrenheit and let it stay hot for about 20-30 minutes before turning the gas off. Leave the lid closed and allow the grill to cool off.
Repaint and Refinish Exterior Parts
Take time to refinish any wooden parts or repaint any plastic parts on the outside of your grill that are showing signs of wear. Once your grill has been seasoned and you’ve painted any remaining exterior parts, you’re ready to grill out.