When the weather turns warm, many people look forward to firing up their grills for a barbeque. According to the National Fire Prevention Association, more than 7,000 gas grill fires occur every year. Many of these fires are preventable accidents. Learn how to stay safe this summer and prevent gas grill explosions.
Prepare Your Grill for Use
Before you start up your grill, you should take steps to prepare it for safe operation all summer. If your propane tank has been left in storage all winter, you should check it carefully for rust or damage. When storing your tanks, be sure to store them upright and away from any heat sources. You should also inspect your grill for worn or damaged parts.
If you need to check for leaks, you can spray your grill’s lines and tank with soapy water. If the mixture bubbles, you most likely have a leak there. Tighten or replace parts as need to ensure that your grill is free from dangerous leaks. Replace scratched or nicked connectors, which can possibly leak. If your grill’s regulator is damaged, seek repairs from a qualified professional.
Check your grill for blockages or grease drips. Insects, food grease, dirt, and other debris can clog burners and gas lines. Use a pipe cleaner or small brush to push blockages through hoses or tubes and clear the issue. Wash grease off any surfaces and thoroughly rinse your grill before use. Once your grill is clean and leak-free, you can light your grill.
Safely Lighting Your Grill
When lighting your grill, you should be careful to prevent the buildup of propane fumes. When these vapors accumulate, they can ignite and cause an explosion. When preparing to light your grill, open the lid to prevent propane fumes from building up under the cover. Turn on the gas and immediately light the grill. If you allow the gas to run for too long before igniting your grill, fumes can collect and cause an explosion. Never lean over your grill when lighting it, as your face can be burned if a fire breaks out or fumes ignite and create a flash fire.
If your grill doesn’t ignite, turn off the gas and wait 3 to 5 minutes to let the fumes dissipate. Try again after you are sure that the fumes have cleared. If your grill still won’t light, shut off the gas and allow the gas to dissipate once more before looking for blockages or damaged components. More serious repairs should be handled by a professional.
Using and Storing Your Grill Safely
Storing your grill is important to prevent damage or weathering that can cause leaks. It is also important to use your grill correctly to prevent gas explosions. Protect yourself and others with these tips.
Tips for the safe use and storage of your grill:
- Always use your grill outside, and keep the grill at least 10 feet away from structures, including trees and patio covers.
- Keep gas hoses away from hot surfaces and dripping grease, or install a heat shield to protect them.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use, maintenance, and storage.
- Store propane tanks with the valve in the OFF position, and never store tanks where the temperature can reach more than 125 degrees Fahrenheit (52 degrees Celsius).
- When the tank is connected, store the grill outside and in a well-ventilated area.
- Store spare propane tanks away from the grill, and never allow other flammable materials to be left near the grill.
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