Why Does My Grill Keep Catching on Fire? (Tips)

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On a hot day when you are hosting a backyard BBQ, the last thing you want is for flames to shoot up through your grill grates. While its true grills produce flame, those fires are generally controlled and contained. A grill catching on fire and shooting up flames means it’s no longer controlled by how the grill was designed. In some situations, this could be dangerous.

If you are wondering, why does my grill keep catching fire? You’ve come to the right place for the answer. Read on to find out and learn about how to prevent grill fires and more.

Why Does My Grill Keep Catching on Fire?

grill fire
Grilling barbecue Pexels from Pixabay

The main reason grills catch on fire is because there is too much grease on or inside the grill. Grease can build up on the burners, in the firebox, and in other areas. When the built-up grease liquefies, vaporizes, and ignites, it causes a grease fire. Small grease fires can even occur when you are grilling excessively fatty meats that drip grease onto the grill surface.

While less common, there are other reasons that may cause your grill to keep catching fire. It could be a mechanical issue, such as a rusted-out burner, that increases gas flow and results in a larger than normal fire. Any combustible materials near or in your grill can also catch on fire.

Can a gas grill explode?

Yes, it can. If your gas grill constantly catches fire intensely, you could have a gas leak. Gas leaks can cause flammable gasses to accumulate and create a fireball or explosion when you light your grill.

Your propane tank can also explode if you expose it to very high temperatures. This causes an overpressure explosion from the high heat. This is very rare, however, since the heat has to be so extreme, it’s as if you are engulfing your propane tank in a fire.

What do I do if my propane grill catches on fire?

If the flames shooting through your grates only lasts a few seconds, it’s probably just a flare-up. However, if it’s intense and doesn’t stop, you might have a grease fire. Never try to control flare-ups or grease fires with water. Turn off your gas immediately if you have a gas grill.

If you’re dealing with a grease fire, you generally want to smother it by removing the source of oxygen. However, whether you keep the grill lid closed or open will depend on your grill.

Charcoal grills and their vents can be closed. On the other hand, gas grills have openings that allow air inside, so it can be better to keep the lid open to prevent heat buildup and let the remaining grease burn off. Make sure there aren’t any combustible sources nearby!

You can also use baking soda or salt to put out a grease fire. This method is best for small fires because of the amount you need to do this successfully.

Should you put water on a grill fire?

No, never do this. While you can dunk your hot coals in water to cool them off, spraying a little water on your grill can cause you more issues when you have a fire. It can end up spreading the fire since the water will displace the grease. If the water turns into steam, it can also carry the fire and grease with it and/or cause burns if the steam hits you.

On the other hand, you can use a fire extinguisher since it also has dry chemical powder or foam that helps control small fires.

How do I keep my grill from catching on fire?

fire wood
fire wood Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

Cleaning your grill is the best way to prevent flare-ups and grease fires. Routine deep cleaning with a good degreaser includes removing any removable items from the firebox so there aren’t any hidden grease buildups. You also want to check drip pans as well as see if the systems diverting grease are clogged with debris.

You should also clean the grates with a grill brush, this one would work nicely, before using your grill. Heat it up on high for 10 to 15 minutes before dipping your grill brush in water to steam clean the grates. Other ways you can prevent grill fires include:

  • Avoid grilling in high winds
  • Keeping the lid open with higher fat content
  • Always keep operating grills attended
  • Check your grill for leaks
  • Keep your grill away from combustibles


cleaning grills
Cleaning grills andreas160578 from Pixabay

Whether it’s a flare-up or small grease fire, the main reason your grill keeps catching on fire is probably grease buildup. This is why regular cleaning of your grill and doing routine checking is so important.

To ensure your backyard BBQ plans don’t shut down with flames, it may be handy to keep a fire extinguisher nearby!