(ANGIE'S LIST) - It's officially grilling season! If it's been awhile since you fired up your grill -- a checkup may be in order.
"We love the outdoors. We have a big backyard patio and pool and backyard seating area so we love spending time outdoors," says Homeowner Deidre Pettinga.
Deidra Pettinga and her family grill out year round. So it's important to her that the grill is professionally cleaned and inspected each year.
"The gas grill that's here belonged to the former owners. We've been here 12 years and they were here maybe five years before that so that grill is going on 20 years old and we are keeping it like new."
Your grill is an appliance and with proper maintenance and care, it can give you years of great use.
Grill Repairman Aaron Nelson says a common problem he sees is clogged or greasy burners.
"What can happen to burners is they can corrode over time. They are being heated up so much and cooled down that the burner can rust and corrode. Most burners can last five to eight years, but eventually they need replacement like a lot of parts on the grill."
The ceramic briquettes also need replaced if they become brittle or break in your hand.
If your grill is hard to light, check the venturi tubes.
"You can have debris that collects here. These are the venturi tubes. They actually have screens on here and people wonder why there are screens on a venture tube, and it's to keep spiders out. This is a huge thing that can affect the performance of the grill is spiders can get inside these venture tubes and create cobwebs and really affect the flow of the gas, in turn the flame," says Nelson.
A greasy grill also poses a fire risk.
Once you've pulled the food from the grill, allow any excess food to burn off and clean the grill while it's still warm.
And each time before you cook, Nelson says brush some olive oil on the grids
Nelson says, "This is brush that can get in between the cooking grids and this is a brush that can get on top of the cooking grids."
When not in use, covering your grill is the easiest and best thing you can do to extend its life by protecting it from the elements.
If you're in the market for a new grill, remember the more complex the grill, the higher the cost to repair.
Angie Hicks from Angie's List says, "Before you head out to buy a grill be sure to assess what you actually need. How big is your family? How many are you cooking for? You only want to get the accessories that you will actually use because you'll end up buying some really fancy grill and you want use those things and it might lead to larger repair bills down the road."
Gas grills should be serviced at least once a year; twice a year if you're a heavy grill user. It'll cost anywhere from $75 and up -- depending on the make and model. Angie's List says give your grill a test run a week or two before the day of the big barbecue to make sure everything is in good working order -- that way, if it does need a new part or repair -- you'll have it working in time for the big cookout.