Although they lack the delicious flavor of their charcoal- or wood-fire counterparts, some people prefer gas grills because they offer greater control over the temperature. Using the temperature knob, you can raise or lower the heat to achieve the perfect temperature for your food. If you're planning to use a gas grill this summer, though, you should follow these seven safety tips.
#1) Turn Off Burners and Tank Valve When Finishing Grilling
When you are finished using your gas grill, turn off all the burners as well as the propane tank valve. Some pitmasters assume it's okay to leave the tank valve open. But if one or more burners is leaking, an open tank valve will continue to release gas. Rather than taking this unnecessary risk, turn off all your grill's burners as well as the tank valve when you are finishing using it.
#2) Store Propane Tanks Outside in an Open Space
Never store propane tanks in an enclosed space, including your home, garage or even a storage shed. Instead, store them outdoors in an open space that's at least 10 feet away from your home. Hopefully this doesn't happen, but if one of your propane tanks ruptures, it could explode. Storing your propane tanks outdoors in an open space reduces the risk of injury and property damage if a tank explosion occurs.
#3) Inspect Gas Hose for Damage
Try to get into the habit of regularly inspecting the gas hose for signs of damage or degradation. Most gas grills have a single hose running from tank valve to the burner controls. Although these gas hoses are made of heavy-duty rubber, they can wear down or even rot over time. If you discover a rotted or otherwise damaged gas hose, don't use your grill. You'll need to replace the damaged gas hose to ensure that gas doesn't leak out and create a safety hazard.
You can check to see if a gas hose is leaking by doing the following:
- Mix together cold water with a small amount of liquid dish soap.
- Pour a small amount of the soapy water over the hose.
- Turn on the tank valve and burners and inspect the hose.
- If you see the soapy water bubbling, the hose is leaking and, therefore, should be replaced.
- When finished, wipe down the gas hose with a dry washcloth or some paper towels.
- If your gas grill has multiple gas hoses, repeat these steps with each hose to check for leaks.
#4) Leave Lid Open Before Lighting
Before lighting your gas grill, leave the lid open. If you close the lid while the tank valve is open and the burners are turned on, gas will build up inside your grill. And when you go light, it could erupt in a large fireball. By leaving the lid open, however, excess gas will escape out the top of your grill.
#5) Place Gas Grill on a Level Surface
You should position your gas grill on a flat and level surface. When placed on a sloped surface, a gas grill may roll down or even fall over, potentially spilling its contents and damaging the gas tank. To prevent this from happening, place your gas grill on a flat and level surface. If your grill has locking wheels, engage the locks after finding a suitable place for it. Once locked, the wheels shouldn't rotate or move freely, thereby making your gas grill more stable.
#6) Cover Your Gas Grill
After allowing your gas grill to cool down, cover it with a tarp or grill cover so that it's not exposed to the elements. Without a cover, your gas grill will inevitably get wet. Even if it doesn't rain, humidity will settle on the surface of your grill, which can lead to rusting and corrosion. And if you leave a propane tank connected to your gas grill, it too could rust or corrode when exposed to moisture.
#7) Keep a Fire Extinguisher Nearby
Always keep a fire extinguisher nearby when using a gas grill and familiarize yourself with its controls so that you can use it if the need arises. If a fire spreads outside your grill, a fire extinguisher will allow you to quickly and easily extinguish it.
Of course, you can avoid many of the safety hazards with which gas grills are associated by choosing a charcoal- or wood-fire grill. Since they don't require the use of a propane tank, they are typically safer to use. Furthermore, charcoal- and wood-fire grills produce a rich smokey flavor that's not possible when using a gas grill. But if you're going to use a gas grill, remember to follow these safety tips.
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