The Best Summer Grilling Safety Tips for Your Family
When the nice weather hits, your first reaction is to get the grill out from the garage and fire it up for the first grilling of the season. While it’s tempting, taking some time to ensure your grill is safe — especially the first time you use it each season — is worth the effort. In the U.S. every year there are are grilling-related home fires, and many stem from poor maintenance or failure to inspect a grill before using it.
Read on to learn some grilling safety tips, and how you can quickly check your propane grill to protect yourself, your family, your friends and your home.
The First Lighting of the Season
The most critical time to pay extra attention to propane grill safety is when you’re using your grill for the first time — either after your purchase or at the start of the summer. Follow this simple checklist of propane grill safety tips to make sure you cover all the critical points:
Visually inspect — Make sure the chassis of your grill is solid and sturdy, and check that the burner is clean and intact. Some very light surface rust may be okay, but any parts that are getting rusty and worn should be replaced soon. One common problem after winter storage is the presence of spider webs in your burners and lines, so think about taking them apart and cleaning them. Make sure you clean out any grease, as this is highly flammable.
Check for leaks — The best way to do this is to tighten all connections and open the propane tank with the burners closed. If you listen carefully, you should be able to hear any leaks. Using soapy water on all connections and your nose to sniff out any leaks are also valid methods. Any leak is a potential safety risk, so don’t light your grill until all leaks have been fixed.
Do a trial lighting — Once you’re sure that your grill is safe, place the grill far away from anything flammable and light it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once the grill is lit, ensure that the dials for controlling the size of the flame are working properly. Try turning off the tank to make sure it seals properly and kills the flame immediately.
A large percentage of house fires related to grilling are because the grill was installed too close to a flammable source. This could be a house, garage, shed, or a wooden deck or railing. Always make sure your grill is located a safe distance from all structures and objects.
It’s also important to keep children and pets a safe distance away from your grill. That’s why it’s important to never leave a grill unattended. If you need to leave, turn off the gas and close the lid. You won’t lose much heat, and you can easily fire the grill up again when you get back.
While every type of grill requires proper safety consideration, charcoal grills require extra care, especially while you’re lighting them. Only use approved charcoal starter fluids, and never use lighter fluid. Check with the manufacturer of your grill for safe lighting techniques. If your charcoal grill gets knocked over, hot coals can cause severe burns and quickly start a fire, so it’s helpful to install your charcoal grill on a stable, non-flammable surface.
Start Your Grills!
With these few easy tips, you’ll be sure that your summer grilling season will be safe and enjoyable. Checking your connections for leaks, as well as the condition of your grill before you light it up, are the best ways to ensure propane grill safety. It only takes a few minutes, and an extra step of caution can help guarantee a full season of propane grilling enjoyment!