Summer Savings: Natural Gas Outdoor Grills



Key Points

  • Outdoor grills offer weekend chefs greater speed and control over the food being cooked.
  • Options include quick disconnect valves and smoke drawers that hold flavor chips.
  • Proper maintenance will extend the operating life of the grill.

Natural gas grills are a popular choice for homeowners. Just as with indoor gas cooktops, outdoor gas grills offer weekend chefs speed and control over the food being cooked. They are safe, convenient, and cost less to operate than a conventional charcoal grill. In fact, the average yearly gas consumption for natural gas grills is 15 ccf. It generally costs about eight times more to cook food for six on a charcoal grill than it does on a natural gas grill.

There are no cumbersome tanks to refill as with propane grills. Natural gas grills also have the advantage of several installation options, either permanently on a post or built into a brick structure or portable by using a quick disconnect valve to allow for storage and transportation.

Many outdoor grill vendors offer a variety of options to choose from, including smoke drawers that hold flavor chips, rotisseries, extra burners, and built in coolers. Cooking power typically varies from 12,000 Btus to 45,000 Btus and larger models provide over 695 square inches of grilling surface. Stainless steel grates is another option, which are easier to clean and maintain.

Maintenance and Safety
As with any appliance, proper maintenance will extend the operating life of the grill. Here are a few of the safety and maintenance guidelines that are often provided in the manufacturer’s instructions:

  • Do not wear loose clothing when operating your gas grill.
  • Keep children and pets at a safe distance.
  • Shut off your gas supply or disconnect before you clean, paint, or perform other maintenance work on a natural gas grill.
  • Before using a gas grill, make sure all the connections are tight and there are no cracks in the hose.
  • Make sure the grill’s burners are clear, as well as the tubes from the burners to the gas valve.
  • Always keep the lid open when lighting the grill to prevent gas from causing a sudden flare up.
  • Clean the burners with a wire brush.
  • Coals are self-cleaning. Follow your manufacturer’s instructions to burn off food residue and grease drippings.