Ever since the very first gas powered barbeque grill made its debut appearance, there have been numerous stories circulating around about the many unfortunate accidents and near-deaths that have occurred. The stories of fires, explosions, and other causalities have created an obvious fear within my family. Whenever they hear that familiar popping noise coming from my gas barbeque grill, they head straight for the safety of the inside, absolutely certain that my grill is about to propel itself into the solar system.

What are Blow-backs?

The popping noise that the grill makes is actually called a blow-back. For the most part, gas barbeque grills and other types of gas ovens operate quietly. Sometimes the sound of a ‘pop’ is heard before you hear the sound of gas being rushed through the gas line. For those who are feeling especially curious, they can take a quick look underneath the grill to see what is causing this scary noise. The cause of this noise is simply the change in the strength of the flame. The flame starts out as a calm, quiet flicker of light just above the burner or flame ring, and suddenly becomes this magnificent flame that resembles the end of a blowtorch. The flames mix within the gas and air chambers, and the sound is produced. It is usually at this point where my family takes advantage of their emergency escape plans, and head for the places farthest from the “origin of destruction”.  I can do little to comfort them at this point and I usually just continue my grilling without them.

Why Are There Misconceptions?

Most people believe, without proof that once the flame goes inside the mixing chamber and becomes much larger than when it first started, it will travel backwards. They think the flame will become large enough to go back into the hose and get inside the gas cylinder where it will cause an explosion worthy of news coverage on the BBC with an army of fire trucks running to the rescue.

Why This Cannot and Will Not Happen

The wonderful thing about most products that we purchase from stores is that they have usually been tested and retested by the higher authorities before we ever get our hands on them. These barbeque grills are no different. There are two reasons why you should not fear losing a limb when you are cooking outside. First, the content of a gas hose is just gas. Air is not inside this hose, and the low concentration of gas makes it very hard for a flame to survive inside of it. The second reason is that more gas actually leaves the cylinder than stays in it. That is one reason why the popping sound is so frightening.

How to Resolve the Issue

Find out where your burners are that are creating the noise and turn them off. You can then turn your gas back on, light your flame again, comfort your family members, find the ones that are hiding out, and enjoy your meal.