As the weather heats up in many parts of the country, many homeowners are re-familiarizing themselves with the best sounds, sights and smells of the season: a warming sun cooled by a gentle breeze; a cool glass of iced tea dripping with condensation and the appetite-piquing aroma of a grill cooking a freshly prepared meal.
If you’re ready to start the grilling season but your gas grill isn’t, follow these nine steps from highly rated gas grill repair professionals to get your grill back in shape:
1. Grab some protection.
“The first step is to grab some cardboard or a tarp – this gets to be a dirty job,” says Rob Schenz of highly rated Specialty Gas Services Inc. in Columbus, Ohio. Place the cardboard or tarp under and around the grill to catch anything that might fall out. Schenz also recommends using gloves.
2. Remove the grids.
Take out the removable cooking grid surfaces from the grill. “Soak them in warm sudsy water then scrub them with heavy No. 5 steel wool pads,” says Aaron Nelson of highly rated Quality Grill Service in Bloomington, Ind. Once the grids are sufficiently clean, towel and then air dry them.
3. Remove heat angles or tents, lava rock or ceramic briquettes.
Place these on the tarp or cardboard box. If your grill utilizes heat angles or tents – thin metal plates designed to distribute heat evenly and protect the burner from food drippings – inspect them for corrosion or rust. If necessary, replace them with new replacement parts after you clean the rest of the grill. Lava rocks or ceramic briquettes perform the same function as heat angles. They should be replaced if you notice they’re deteriorating or crumbling.
4. Scrape it out.
“Scrape the inside of the upper and lower castings inside the grill and use a wire brush if necessary,” Schenz says. Nelson recommends using extra care while working around the burner assembly, “While working around the burner, use a dry steel wool pad and brush along sides of burner to remove excess rust buildup and greasy debris,” he says.
5. Remove the burners.
Schenz says this step may be pretty difficult depending on which gas grill model you own, as the fastener that attaches the burner to the outer grill shell varies model to model. If you’re not sure how to remove the burner assembly, call a highly rated gas grill repair company to perform the job for you.
6. Clear out the cobwebs.
During the grilling offseason, spiders love to make their nests in a gas grill’s venturi tubes, which mix air with the gas and control the gas flow to the burners. According to Schenz, the most common grill-related accident occurs when gas escapes from the venture opening and reaches the flames at the burner, causing a back-flash fire that can harm grill users, damage the grill and ruin a cookout.
If your burners are in otherwise good shape, run a small brush through the inside of it to remove debris, obstructions or spider nests, then vacuum out the grill and the burner assembly. You can test your gas for obstructions by turning on each section of the grill, one at a time, and listening for similar sounds of the flow of gas. If one section sounds different than the rest, it’s likely you have an obstruction and may need the help of a grill repair pro.
7. Spray it down.
Using a hose, spray down the grill to knock any cobwebs, leaves or other debris loose from the exterior. Nelson says this part of the process is best done on a sunny day to shorten the grill drying time.
8. Reassemble and start cooking.
Reassemble the grill with your now-clean or new grill parts. Test the grill for proper fit and operation and get cooking!
9. Don’t forget to clean.
Most gas grills act like a self-cleaning oven, Schenz says, so don’t forget to close the grill’s cover and leave the heat on high for a few minutes after every cooking session. Leftover food debris or grease drippings will turn to ash under the high temperatures, which makes the grill much easier to maintain by occasionally vacuuming it out with a shop vacuum a few times through the season when the grill is cool.
This article originally appeared on Angie’s list.