Barbecue Venturi Tubes, Insects & SpidersWe all know the smell of natural and bottled gas, very unpleasant like a bowl of rotten eggs, added as a safety precaution it makes detecting leaks easy and acts as warning instantly recognisable to all, however this bad smell for us actually attracts insects. They will nest in and around the venturi tubes, their nests or webs can then cause a full or partial blockage of the venturi tube causing the gas to flow back out of the venturi tube and ignite around the valve area. The fire may appear to be at the valve, venturi tubes or control knobs. This Flashback or Control Panel fire can cause serious damage and injury.
Most good manufacturers now install spider guards, these are a small screen on the air intake in an effort to reduce the problem, however it does not eliminate the issue. Spiders can still clog the smallest of holes, they don't care how new you barbecue is, or how you spent two hours cleaning it the day before, all they know is that they nested there before, or that they like the look of it now!
Regularily clean your venturi tubes and take a careful look should you see the following symptoms:
You get a strong smell of gas
You notice that one or both sides of the burner have a yellow flame, ideally a burner flame should be blue.
As burners get older, with a little rust and dirt, flame colour will change, the key is to take notice of dramatic changes that happen quickly since the last use.
You struggle to get your barbecue up to temperature.
Your BBQ heats up unevenly.
You hear popping noises from the burners.
To properly and effectively clean your burners, follow these simple steps.
Turn off the gas at the bottle, or source.
Remove the burner to expose the venturi tubes. Different manufacturers will use different methods to hold the burners in place so familiarize yourself with the operators booklet before hand. Normally there will be one, two or four screws or clips holding the burner from the underside. Some will use a clip or spring that holds the venturi tube over the valve.
Visually inspect the venturi tube openings for signs of webs, no matter how small, insert a flexible venturi brush on inch at a time, remove and inspect the head, re-insert and repeat until you have cleaned the entire length of the tube. By taking your time you will be more successful in removing any webs, simply pushing the brush all the way in at once could result in cramming any webs at the end, rather than removing them.
Finally double check the tubes are completely clean.
Replace the burner in the barbecue, ensuring the veturi tubes are seated correctly and that the burner is resting flat and level.