How to Start a Gas Grill – 3 Simple Methods

Burner controls for how to start a gas grill

If you’ve never used one before, you may be wondering how to start a gas grill.

Or you may be struggling to start your grill after it is idle for some time.

Nothing is more frustrating than having your meat ready to throw on the grill and not getting it started – especially if you have guests!

Regardless, I’ll explain three ways to start your gas grill and how to troubleshoot issues when starting your grill.

How Do You Light a Gas Grill

The primary method that should be used for starting your grill is using the built-in ignition system. This system was designed to start your grill safely.

If there is something wrong with your ignition system, you can manually light your grill using a match or a long-neck lighter.

Before you start your gas grill, you should perform an inspection to ensure there are no loose connections on the gas line and that the grill is in working condition. If you have recently assembled your grill, performed maintenance on it, or haven’t used it for an extended period of time, you should also perform a leak test on the gas line before attempting to light it.

The following instructions assume that the gas source is connected to your grill, and any pre-startup checks have been completed. Additionally, ensure you follow the directions in your grill’s owner’s manual.

How to Start a Gas Grill Using the Built-in Ignitor

Starting your gas grill using the built-in ignitor is the preferred method for lighting your grill.

  1. Open Grill Lid

    Grill with open lid

    It is essential to ensure that the grill’s lid is open before attempting to start it. Keeping the lid closed when starting your grill can allow flammable gases to accumulate, which could result in a fireball explosion when you try to light it.

  2. Open Gas Supply Valve

    Ensure all of the burner knobs are in the off position.
    For a propane grill, turn the valve on top of the propane tank counter-clockwise to supply gas to the grill.
    For a natural gas grill, find and open the gas shut off to supply gas to the grill. The gas shut off valve for natural gas is typically a valve that only turns 90 degrees to open and close the valve.
    Allow a minute or two to allow gas to fill the line.

  3. Direct Gas to Burner and Ignite Gas

    Gas grill burner controls

    While this step will vary between different models of gas grills, the basic steps are the same.
    Turn the burner control knob to high and engage the ignitor.
    Some grills have a button you hold down that activates the ignitor repeatedly. Some have a button that activates the ignitor each time it is pushed. And some grills have the ignitor activation built-in to the burner control knob – for these, you’ll turn the knob to this position.
    Once the grill ignites, release the button or reposition the burner control knob if necessary.
    If the grill does not light within 10-15 seconds, turn off the gas with the burner control knob and wait several minutes to dissipate the gas before attempting to light the grill again.

  4. Ignite Additional Burners

    Gas grill burners

    This step will also vary based on the different gas grill designs.
    The additional burners on some grills are designed to ignite automatically when the burner control knob is turned on.
    Other grills require each burner to be ignited individually using the procedure in step 3.
    If any burner cannot be ignited, shut off all burners and allow the gas to dissipate for several minutes before attempting to reignite or troubleshooting.

How to Start a Gas Grill Using Matches

The steps for how to start a gas grill using matches are similar to the above procedure, except for how you ignite the gas.

1. Open Grill Lid

While this is always an important step, it is even more essential when lighting the grill manually, especially if there isn’t a lighting hole on the front of the grill.

2. Open Gas Supply Valve

This step is identical to how to open the gas supply valve when using the built-in ignitor.

3. Light Match and Ignite Gas

Match holder for manually starting a gas grill with a match

You may have seen a long metal piece with a circular end attached to your gas grill with a chain and not known what it is for.

It is actually a match holder to help you start your grill safely without the ignitor.

Insert a match into the end of the holder. If your grill has a circular opening in the front, this is where you’ll insert the match. If not, you’ll hold it near the burner through the grate.

Alternatively, you could use a long stick match for this purpose.

Light the match, hold it near the burner, and turn the burner control knob to high.

The burner should ignite. If it doesn’t, remove the match and wait a few minutes for the gas to dissipate before trying again.

If you have to access the burner through the grates, do your best to keep your body back to avoid any potential fireballs.

4. Ignite Additional Burners

This step is similar to the same step in how to start a gas grill with the built-in ignitor. However, if your grill requires you to light each burner individually, you’ll have to use the match holder and repeat the process in step 3 to light the burner through the grate.

Be especially careful if you need to do this as the previous burners you lit will be adding heat to the grill. You may want to turn those burners to low until all of the burners are ignited.

How to Light a Gas Grill With a Lighter

Long lighter for starting a gas grill with a lighter

This method is identical to the one above using matches. However, you’ll replace the match on the match holder with a long-neck lighter in this case.

Do not use a regular handheld lighter as doing so puts your hands too close to the gas that is being ignited.

Troubleshooting a Gas Grill That Won’t Light

While this article isn’t going to go into detail on fixing issues related to your grill not being able to start, here are some common things to check for.

1. Check Gas Supply

  • Ensure the propane tank or natural gas cutoff valves are open
  • Check for any issues with the gas supply hose
  • Check that you are not out of gas
    • If you use propane, it is helpful to have an extra propane tank, so you don’t have to worry about running out

2. Check for Any Obstructions

You could have grease and dirt from grilling blocking parts of the burner. This blockage could obstruct the gas and make it more difficult to light.

Regular cleaning between use will help avoid this issue. However, a more thorough cleaning at least once a year should prevent it altogether.

3. Check the Ignitor

There are several reasons your ignitor won’t light your gas grill anymore.

First, there may be dirt blocking the ignition area. This dirt will prevent the spark from lighting the gas.

Batteries may power your ignitor. If this is the case, a quick change of the batteries may solve your problem.

Frequently Asked Questions Related to How to Start a Gas Grill

How do you light a gas grill if the electronic ignitor is broken?

Gas grill ignitor

If the electronic ignitor is broken, you can light a gas grill using a match or a lighter. You can also fix the ignitor. It may be as simple as cleaning it or replacing the batteries.

Can you manually light a gas grill?

A gas grill can be manually started using a match or a lighter. Gas grills are designed to be started with their ignitor for safety, but you can start your grill without it with the proper precautions.

Is it safe to light a gas grill with a lighter?

While it is not the preferred method, you can safely light a grill with a lighter. To do this, ensure you use a long-neck lighter and keep as much of your body away from the grill as possible.

How to turn off a gas grill?

To turn off your gas grill, first, turn the burner control knobs to the off position. Then close the propane tank valve or the natural gas shutoff valve to ensure gas doesn’t escape if a leak develops in your grill.

Summary of How to Start a Gas Grill

If you came here looking for how to start a gas grill, I hope you’ve found your answer and much more.

As you can see, there are three methods for starting a gas grill. Please ensure you take the appropriate safety precautions and follow any guidelines in your grill’s operating manual – a grill should create an enjoyable experience, not an emergency!

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