Barbeque is a great way to gather around friends and family during summer time! This can be a lot of fun, but it's important to take care when grilling to avoid accidents. These safety tips are designed to help keep your barbecues safe and enjoyable all summer long. So, fire up the grill and get cooking!
Clean Your Grill
As you cook, heavy grease builds up on your grill. This grease is highly flammable, and too much of it can quickly start a fire. Clean your grill regularly to prevent grease buildup with these easy steps.  

  1. Remove all parts and accessories from the grill. 

  2. Spray them with a food-safe kitchen degreaser and scrub clean with a rag or sponge. 

  3. Scrape the grill with a wire brush or putty knife to rid the grill of caked-on food or grease. 

  4. Reassemble the grill and turn it on to high heat to burn off any residue.

Test Your Grill for Leaks 

It is recommended to test propane grills for leaks at least once a year. To do this, brush dish soap and water on the tank and gas line connections, then press the accelerator. If you see bubbles, you have a gas leak! Turn off the gas and tighten the connections to your propane tank. Allow 5 to 10 minutes for the gas to dissipate before testing the grill again.

Avoid Wearing Loose Clothing 

While clothing catching fire may sound like a freak accident, it’s more common than you might think. You may not even realize your clothes are on fire until it's too late! To reduce the risk of catching fire, wear form-fitting clothing and securely fasten your hair. If you need to remove any loose clothing, keep it away from the grill. Discarded clothing left unattended for an extended period of time can catch fire. 

Purchase Grilling Gloves and Appropriate Cooking Utensils 

Grills generate a lot of heat, so having the right utensils and equipment is essential. Avoid handling food directly on the grill as much as possible. Invest in a pair of grilling gloves, tongs or other grilling utensils if you'll be handling hot pans or food. 

Stock Up on Baking Soda and a Fire Extinguisher 

Grills can get as hot as, or hotter, than an oven. Be proactive and prepared to extinguish a fire should one occur. We recommend keeping baking soda close to your grill station in the event of a fire. If the fire is too large to put out with baking soda, use a fire extinguisher. Never use water to extinguish a fire. It could spread the fire or splash hot grease, oil, or coal, which is dangerous.

  • Take the Appropriate Safety Precautions: Gas and propane grills can typically reach temperatures up to 550° F, while charcoal grills can reach temperatures up to 700° F.  

  • Three-foot rule: Make sure your grill is at least three feet away from anything that could be flammable such as your deck, outdoor furniture, and trees. The heat from your grill can also melt and warp vinyl siding, so don’t keep your grill too close to your home.  

  • Keep the grill outside: Grilling in closed or poorly ventilated areas is not only a fire risk, but also a health risk as fires produce carbon monoxide, a deadly gas. To keep you and your family safe, know the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning prior to lighting up your grill and always grill in a well-ventilated area. 

  • Keep it level: Do not use your grill on an incline or on uneven ground as it could topple over and cause a fire. 

  • Watch the grill carefully: A lit grill should never be left unattended as food could burn, grease could build up and a fire could start.  

  • Keep children and pets away from the grill: Never leave a grill unattended, especially if children or pets are around. Do not move a lit grill: Moving a lit grill can not only risk burning yourself or others, but also increase the risk of fire and dislodge important grill parts. 

Do Not Overcrowd the Grill

Overcrowding the grill can cause your food to cook unevenly and become greasy.  Allow at least an inch of space in between to keep the grease and smoke to a minimum. 

Turn Off the Grill After Use 

It's easy to become distracted while cooking, especially if you're entertaining friends or family.  Be sure to turn off the grill and thoroughly inspect your grilling station immediately after you’re finished cooking to reduce safety hazards.  

Know How to Put Out a Grill Fire: Whether brought on by a broken gas line, an accidental spark, or just too much heat, a grill fire may spread quickly and become dangerous. However, always stay calm and follow these steps:  

  1. Eliminate the fire hazard

Turn off the grill's gas supply immediately. If your grill runs on propane, switch off the valve on the propane tank. If you have a charcoal grill, wear heat-resistant gloves and use steel grilling equipment to remove the fire hazard. While you should never pour water directly onto a hot grill, you can use water to hasten the cooling process. Remove the coal and ashes safely and place them in a metal bucket with water. 

  1. Use a cover that can withstand fire

Cover the grill with a fire-resistant cover after the gas has been turned off or the affected coals have been removed. The flames will be smothered, and oxygen won't be able to reach them. In a pinch, a large pot lid or baking sheet will do.  

  1. Let the grill cool down

Before opening the lid, let the grill cool completely. Then you can look for damage and make any required repairs. With these easy steps, you can put out a barbecue fire quickly and safely. Remember, never put out a fire with water. 

As you enjoy your summer, always keep safety top of mind. WIN Home Inspection offers a variety of inspection services to keep you and your family safe this summer. From Deck Inspections to Pool and Spa Inspections, contact your local WIN home inspector so you have peace of mind and enjoy all that your backyard has to offer.