ASK ROY

Popular Mechanics (South Africa) - - Contents - BY ROY BERENDSOHN HN

Why is our gas braai so hard to light? First, find out whether it’s a gas-flow prob­lem or a spark prob­lem. Try to light the gas as you would nor­mally, but in­stead of press­ing the piezo ig­niter but­ton, try us­ing a long match or a long-reach lighter. If the gas lights and burns prop­erly, yo you prob­a­bly have an ig­ni­tion prob­lem. pro It could be a worn-out spark sp mod­ule, a loose wire or other othe con­nec­tion, a dead bat­tery, cor­ro­sion corr or dirt on the ig­niter igni tip, or even cracked porce­lain on the ig­niter el­e­ment.

If the braai doesn’t light us­ing the match, check for low or no gas flow. Your prob­lem could be as sim­ple as a low gas tank. Or it could be worse: gas plumb­ing clogged by in­sect nests, burn­ers clogged up by rust or spilled food, a mal­func­tion­ing gas reg­u­la­tor, or a tripped ex­cess-flow valve in­side the reg­u­la­tor (that disc-shaped thing clamped on the gas hose). This valve valv can of­ten be trou­ble­some. De­signed Des to pre­vent the fire risk as­so­ci­ated with ex­ces­sive flow caused by a gas leak, these valves v are eas­ily tripped. Peo­ple do this all the time, ac­ci­den­tally, by open­ing a burner valve be­fore open­ing the tank valve. When they then open the tank, the valve in­ter­prets the out­rush of gas as a leak. This trips the valve, which can be lo­cated in­side the gas reg­u­la­tor.

For­tu­nately, you can eas­ily re­set the valve by shut­ting the braai down, dis­con­nect­ing d the gas tank, open­ing all the burner ner valves to drain all the trapped gas, re­con­nect­ing the tank, and then go­ing through the nor­mal and cor­rect rrect light­ing pro­ce­dure dure to get it go­ing. g. A neigh­bour our sets off fire­works s ev­ery Guy Fawkes Day that land in our gar­den. den. Should I be wor­ried d about pos­si­ble fires? Well, yes. s. Ev­ery year, fire­works are a source ource of house fires. I had a close e call with this sev­eral years ago, when I found a hand­ful of charred red leaves in a gut­ter. Prob­ing deeper per into the mess, I found the re­mains mains of a bot­tle rocket. But it could uld have been worse: Another neigh­bour eigh­bour found a cop­per-jack­eted .45-cal­i­bre li­bre bul­let lodged in his roof.

One op­tion is to go see your neigh­bour about the prob­lem. oblem. You might even leave them with some e print­outs from the web. Search phrases such as ‘ bot­tle rocket lands on roof, spark­ing house fire’. There’s no short­age of these. The other ed­i­tors here tell me that this ap­proach has one small draw­back: Ap­par­ently it makes you look like a fun-smoth­er­ing killjoy.

Maybe try this in­stead: As late as pos­si­ble on the day of fes­tiv­i­ties, wet down all your yard and gar­den ar­eas with a sprin­kler – wa­ter re­stric­tions notwith­stand­ing. Take in any ma­te­ri­als such as out­door cush­ions and close your pa­tio um­brel­las and awnings. Use a hose to soak your fire­wood pile, if you have one. Fi­nally, clean dry de­bris like leaves, pine nee­dles, and seed pods out of gut­ters and off roof val­leys and flat roofs. It’s es­pe­cially easy if you have a leaf blower. Then, all you have to do is try to en­joy the show.

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