The U.S. Fire Administration reports that about 5,700 grill fires happen on residential properties annually. These fires damage properties and structures worth around $37 million every year. They also cause thousands of emergency room visits every year. A homeowner can make the grilling season safe and enjoyable by observing the right grilling safety tips and ensuring the propane grill is working efficiently before firing it up.
Grilling Safety Tips
Performing a Top-to-Bottom Inspection
A propane grill that has remained unused for months requires a thorough inspection to identify and resolve problems before firing it up. If the grill has been outdoors throughout the winter, then checking for any signs of corrosion is crucial. If it has been covered or kept in a garage, then looking for pests and bugs that may have found their way in during the winter is a great idea.
The fuel line on the grill is another area that requires careful inspection. On top of visually inspecting it for any cracks, doing the soapy water test is a wise idea. This test involves brushing soapy water on the fuel line as well as at the connections and then allowing the gas to flow. Production of bubbles when the gas is flowing is a sign of loose connections or cracks on the fuel line. This problem can be resolved by either tightening the connections or replacing the line.
Grilling Only in Suitable Places
Grilling should only take place outdoors in properly ventilated spaces, not in the house, store, or garage. A homeowner who is celebrating a new home purchase should, therefore, identify an appropriate grilling space within his or her compound to ensure safety.
The homeowner should put the propane grill away from deck railings and away from the gutter and overhanging branches. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 2017 report shows that around 27 percent of grill-related fires began on a patio or terrace, 29 percent on an open porch or external balcony, and 6 percent in the kitchen.
Ensuring the Propane Cylinder Has an Overfill Protection Device
Before firing up the propane grill, a user should ensure the propane cylinder has an overfill protection device (OPD). This device prevents the filling of propane cylinders with unsafe amounts of propane gas.
Propane cylinders that lack OPDs are more likely to be overfilled, leaving the pressurized gas with little or no room to expand as temperature increases. The lesser space for gas to expand in the cylinder, the higher the risk for gas leaks and explosions.
Safely Using the Propane Grill
The safest way to fire up the propane grill is by turning on the cylinder first, then the grill. The safest way to turn it off is by turning the cylinder off first, then the grill controls to reduce the level of residual pressure in the gas hose.
When the propane grill isn’t in use, the cylinder valve should remain closed and the grill controls off. If a guest is injured in a propane grill accident due to the homeowner’s negligent actions, such as leaving the valve open and grill controls on for hours, then the guest can bring a premises liability lawsuit against the homeowner.