With the sun starting to shine, it’s finally time for grilling season. There’s nothing better than firing up the grill for some savory burgers or hot dogs. Or better yet, using your grilling talents to slow cook some BBQ to perfection.

However, before you start the propane and get cooking, you want to make sure you and your home are safe. Grilling mishaps are more common than you might think, so follow these 10 grilling safety tips:

1. Always Grill Outdoors

If you’re grilling with a propane or charcoal grill, you shouldn’t be cooking inside. An open flame is an incredibly dangerous indoor fire hazard. The National Fire Protection Agency estimates that grilling cause 3,900 house fires and 4,900 external fires each year. To help protect your home, always grill outdoors.

2. Give Your Grill Some Space

Patio furniture, low-hanging branches, fences, and backyard decor all pose fire risks if close enough to a grill. Even without a fire, grills can cause burn marks and other types of damage, so give it some space.

3. Never Leave Your Grill Unattended

When fires start, they spread quickly. A fire can double in size every 30 seconds. Although it may seem harmless to step away from the grill for a few seconds, that’s plenty of time for a fire to start and spread, which is why you should never leave your grill unattended.

4. Have a Fire Extinguisher Nearby

If worst comes to worst, you need to be ready. To prevent severe damage, you must be able to put out a fire quickly. Having a fire extinguisher nearby is essential for preventing tiny fires from becoming significantly worse.

Nearly 25% of homes don’t have a fire extinguisher. So if you fall into that category, we recommend getting one as soon as possible.

5. Clean Your Grill Regularly

Cooking food on the grill releases grease and fat that can build up over time. These compounds are highly flammable and can cause irregularly large flare-ups.

Clean your grill at either the beginning or end of each grilling season. If you’re grilling frequently, give your grill a clean about once every month. And if you use it infrequently, once every couple of months is fine.

6. Make Sure Your Grill is Stable

Put your grill on a level surface. A concrete or paved surface is perfect. A flat area on the grass will also suffice. If your grill has adjustable legs, you want to make sure they are perfectly even and stable before you start grilling.

7. Check Your Propane Tank for Leaks

This step is especially important for the first grill session of the season. If you left your propane tank outside over the winter, the harsher elements could impact the tubes causing leaks.

If your propane tank smells like gas after turning it on, or your grill doesn’t catch fire, those could be signs that your tank has leaks. Another way you can tell is by applying a dish soap/water solution to the hose. If the solution bubbles, there is a leak. Remember to get a new tank if there are leaks.

8. Keep Your Lid Open When Starting a Gas Grill

Propane gas can accumulate quickly. If you keep your lid closed after you turn on the propane tank, the grill will become filled with gas. When you go to start your grill, the gas buildup can cause a dangerous combustion, which is why you always keep your lid open.

9. Never Add Lighter Fluid to Hot Coals on a Charcoal Grill

There’s no doubt lighter fluid makes starting a charcoal grill so much easier. However, lighter fluid can be incredibly dangerous when handled carelessly.

Applying lighter fluid to hot goals can cause significant flare-ups. Even worse, the flames can catch the stream of fluid and ignite the entire bottle. The best way to use lighter fluid is to apply a small amount to your coals before starting the flames.

10. Properly Close Down Your Grill

After everything is said and done, properly close down your grill. For gas grills, disconnect the propane tank and set it aside, and make sure the valve is in the “closed” position. As for charcoal grills, wait until the coals are completely cool before throwing them away.

Now that you know all the necessary grilling safety tips, you can enjoy the grilling season with confidence and without worry. For more home security and fire protection insights, feel free to contact us today!