I know it is tempting at times to try and save a few dollars by having the gardener, the handyman, the pool man, or the landscaper's uncle's, cousin's roommate fix the problem you are having with your outdoor grill or patio heater.

However, if they do not know what they are doing, the cost to actually make the repair can go up drastically and could result in a situation where you and your family's safety are put in jeopardy.  

A case in point.

My customer had a rental property with tenants.  The tenants complained that the left side of the grill was not getting as hot as the right, and that the flames on the burner were very small.  My customers, being out of state, turned to the real estate agent who handles the property for assistance. Instead of calling me, the realtor sent over the "Handyman".


The "Handyman" had no business working on the grill.  In a feeble attempt to diagnose and fix the problem, he took the gas valve apart, and could not put it back together.  This created a gas leak.  The "Handyman" attempted to stop the leak by putting plastic wrap inside the valve, this of course, made matters even worse.  Now the tenants could not use the grill at all, and I was called out to fix the mess.

When I arrived, this is what I found:

This is what the valve on the grill normally looks like 

Normal BBQ Valve

 This is what the valve on the grill looked like after the "Handyman" worked on it.

BBQ Valve damaged by Handyman
BBQ Valve damaged by Handyman and attempt to repair

  In the pictures on the right you can see the plastic wrap sticking out of the valve, and if you look closely, just below the valve on the left is the spring 
that is supposed to be inside the valve.

The "Handyman" damaged the valve so badly pulling it apart, that I had to replace the valve.  The only problem was, that the manufacturer does not sell the valves separately, my customer had to purchase the entire manifold with two valves.

So the question is: What should this repair have cost?

Low heat output and low flame height is an indication of a blockage in the valve orifices or the burner venturi, the solution is to clear the blockage.  The cost would have been the cost of a service call $120.00.

I was fortunate enough to get the valve put back together, without leaking, so that the tenants could at least use the right side of the grill until the parts came in.  The cost of the parts and the service call to install them came to $228.30, double what the cost should have been.  Not to mention that the "Handyman" created a dangerous gas leak and that the tenants were unable to use the grill at all until I had the chance to go out and undo some of the damage.

So the next time you get the urge to have the pool man fix your grill,
 consider the possilbe consequences.

 The Grill Man, La Quinta, CA 92253, Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Rancho MIrage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, Indio, Desert Hot  Springs,

 Thousand Palms, Bermuda Dunes, Coachella Valley, 760-298-4698