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I asked on Meta if this was on-topic and was given the go-ahead to post, so...

I purchased a CharBroil 2-burner propane grill a few weeks ago. The flame is the right color and certainly hot enough, but the grill acts as if there are random momentary interruptions to the gas flow. It makes soft puffing sounds and occasionally the flame will go out for a fraction of a second. I captured a short video of the problem. Watch it with the sound turned up and pay attention between 7 and 10 seconds in to see the flame puff completely out momentarily.

I called CharBroil support and their response was to send me a new Hose Valve Regulator. The new HVR did nothing to fix the problem. Another call to CharBroil and they told me it was the Blue Rhino propane tank I was using. Something about a proprietary refill valve that prevents 3rd parties from refilling the tank and also doesn't work well with CharBroil HVRs.

I obtained and tried 2 other tanks from different suppliers (AmeriGas and Bernzomatic) with the same results. CharBroil's response to a 3rd support call was to send me a new burner, which I won't receive for a week or more.

Nobody at CharBroil support seems to be interested in seeing the video or actually troubleshooting the problem. I spoke to both a first-line tech and a supervisor and both explicitly refused to view the video. I seriously doubt the new burner will fix the problem.

Has anybody seen this behavior? Is it dangerous to use the grill in this state? Can anybody identify the cause?

EDIT: The new burner did not resolve the problem. If anything, it's worse. I am returning the grill tomorrow.

  • 1
    Stupid question... is it windy? – talon8 May 10 '16 at 16:11
  • Good question actually. There was no wind at all when I made the video. – Jim Garrison May 10 '16 at 17:03
  • 2
    Are you opening the propane tank valve slowly from the fully closed position to the fully open position with the burner off? And are you leaving the tank valve in the fully open position? – David Schwartz May 12 '16 at 6:06
  • Are you sure there is no leak anywhere? (ie: Use soapy water to check the threads) – talon8 May 18 '16 at 22:14
  • No leaks, double checked. – Jim Garrison May 18 '16 at 22:28
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A few possibilities: Make sure you open the valve on the gas tank before opening the knobs on the grill. If you do this in the wrong order, the regulator will see a large increase in gas flow and cut back.

Temperature: As LPG expands, it will cool the tank off. When pulling a lot of gas off, the side of the cylinder can even build up some frost. If the air is already cold, you might not be able to build up enough pressure to keep the gas flowing.

Restrictions in the tubing: Grills that sit out for the summer can have spiders or wasps in the gas hoses. These can restrict the gas flow. (not likely with your new grill, but there could be manufacturing debris).

Air intake: Propane needs air to burn. Some grills will have an air intake hole where the burner rests on the gas tubing. Make sure nothing is obstructing this, and if it's adjustable, try opening or closing it.

  • I'll second that first item -- it cuts back the flow so much that a small gust will blow out the flame ... and if it doesn't, it'll take seemingly forever to cook things. (I'm not sure if that's the problem in the video, though, I'd have to compare it to a known good flame from that style of burner). For #3, there could also be debris past the tubes, but if that were the case I'd have expected more variation in the color or size of the flames. – Joe May 24 '16 at 20:19
  • I always open the tank valve fully before opening the grill valve to light it. Temperatures here in Oregon are in the 60s. The grill and tank are both brand new and have not sat out in the elements at all. The entire gas system (HVR and burner) have been replaced by CharBroil and the problem is still there. As to air intake, the venturi tubes have a metal mesh where the injector from the valve inserts. This is completely clear. – Jim Garrison May 24 '16 at 20:47

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