Do You Have To Turn off Propane Tank After Grilling Food?

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Gas Grill Stainless Steel

When you’ve finished cooking a meal using a gas grill, is it necessary to switch the valve to “CLOSE” afterward? Even if you haven’t done so in the past, it’s never too late to change your habits. Read on to find out more. 

Do You Have to Turn off Propane Tank After Grilling? 

It’s a good idea to turn the propane tank off when you’re finished cooking on a gas grill. If the knobs get turned on by accident, or if a rodent chews a hole in the hose, gas will leak out into the grill or surrounding air. This could result in a catastrophic explosion, so it’s better to err on the side of caution. 

Benefits of Using a Gas Grill 

Most gas grills are connected to a small propane tank that’s used to supply the fuel. Some can be connected to the same fuel tank that supplies your home’s heating supply, but this is less common. 

Either way, these grills offer convenience by providing flames at the push of a button. Unlike charcoal grills, which take a long time to heat up, gas grills can get hot enough to use within just 10 to 15 minutes. 

While charcoal provides a richer smoke-tinged flavor, I enjoy using both gas grills and charcoal-fired units. Gas grills are better for weeknights and quick lunches, whereas charcoal works better for good steaks and low-and-slow cooking applications. 

Gas Grill Outdoor

Do You Have To Turn off Propane Tank After Grilling? 

Although some folks think it’s not necessary, it’s a lot safer to turn off the grill’s gas supply when you’re finished cooking. 

Here’s why. Let’s say one of the knobs gets turned on by accident without you noticing. This will fill the grill’s cooking area with gas, thereby depleting the supply. 

In the best case scenario, you’ll realize that the tank is empty and that you’ll need to spend more money on a refill. But the results could be even more dire. If the fuel somehow ignites, it will result in a dangerous explosion. 

The truth is, there’s no reason not to turn off the propane when you’re finished using the grill. It only takes a few seconds, and it will give you peace of mind. 

What Will Happen If I Forget? 

With any luck, nothing will happen. The problem is that you have no way of knowing whether something might accidentally turn the knob. 

If there are active young children in your household, one of them might turn the knob without realizing what it does. Even excitable dogs can bump the knobs to the “on” position if they’re frolicking near the grill. 

Gas Grill Outside

There’s also a chance that a mouse, squirrel, or chipmunk might start chewing on the hose and create a hole. If the tank is still open, the gas will leak out into the surrounding air. 

That might not sound like a big deal, but it will be if someone lights a citronella candle or a cigarette in the immediate vicinity. If you have a charcoal grill or smoker nearby, the gas could ignite the next time you fire that one up. 

Some people also believe that if you leave the valve open, you’ll wind up with a lower flame. That’s because many grills include a safety mechanism that will reduce the gas flow to prevent the risk of explosion in these cases. 

You can reset the regulator on the grill to increase the flow in this case. It’s not difficult, but it’s still more complicated than just switching the valve to “close.” 

What Happens If I Forget? 

Even though I advocate turning the propane off after each use, I don’t always remember to do it. It’s a small chore, but it’s easy to forget about it, especially when you’re busy entertaining. 

First of all, don’t worry. If there hasn’t been an explosion yet, everything should be fine. Check the knobs to make sure they’re all turned off, then switch off the propane. Open the lid of the grill so that if there is any gas trapped in there, it will dissipate. 

If the knobs were turned on, or if the hose is leaking, check the propane supply. There’s probably a lot less gas in the tank than before, in which case you’ll need to think about refilling it before you use the grill again. 

Which To Turn Off First: Propane or Grill? 

I try to make a habit of turning the propane off first. That way, I’ll be less likely to forget. It also ensures that there won’t be much—if any—gas left behind in the hose. 

When you’re ready to shut things down, turn off the propane, then wait a few seconds so that any remaining gas will be forced out of the hose. Then close the grill knobs until it’s time to fire up the grill again. 

Gas Grill With Propan Tank Outdoor

Before your next cookout, slowly open the propane line again, then turn on the knobs and ignite the burners

The Bottom Line

Many folks leave their propane lines open all the time and manage to evade disaster. The risks are low, especially if there are no pets or small children in the home. 

Still, the risks are there, and it only takes a moment to turn the tank off. When you weigh the benefits against the potential hazard, the choice is clear. 

Best of luck, and happy grilling!

Darren Wayland Avatar


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