Summer is here and that means families are gathering outdoors to enjoy the nicer weather. And after being home-bound more than usual this past winter, we’re all even more anxious to get outside! The nice weather brings with it a large increase in barbecuing, and the fuel of choice is propane. In fact, according to the Hearth, Home & Patio Association, 64% of households own a gas grill.
Here are some safety tips that will keep you, your family, and your home safe for barbecuing season:
Do not keep a filled propane tank in a hot car or trunk: If you use a propane exchange service, like Levco Propane Exchange, these tanks are delivered in specially adapted trucks and vans to ensure safety. However, you may opt to refill your own tanks at local dealers and plan to transport them in your car. If so, make that your last stop before going home.
Make sure your propane tank is in good condition: Again, if you use a propane exchange service, your tanks are inspected for quality control before they are delivered to you. However, if you pick up your tanks from a local dealer or have had the same tank for a while, it is important to check your tank to make sure it is safe to use. Never use an cylinder if it shows signs of dents, gouges, bulges, fire damage, corrosion, leakage, excessive rust or other forms of visual external damage. Have these checked by your propane supplier to make sure there is no hazard.
Grill outside and away from any structures: Charcoal and gas grills are designed for outdoor use only. However, the National Fire Prevention Association reports that more than one-quarter (27%) of home fires started by outdoor grills began in a courtyard, terrace or patio, and 29% started on an exterior balcony or open porch. Pay attention to overhanging tree branches when you set up your grill. And make sure it is located away from the house or other structure.
Make sure your grill is stable: Only set up your grill on a flat surface and make sure the grill can’t be tipped over. Consider using a grill pad or splatter mat underneath your grill to protect your deck or patio.
Keep your grill clean: Remove grease or fat buildup from both the grill and the tray below the grill.
Check for propane leaks on your gas grill: After a period of storage or disuse (such as over the winter), the gas grill should be checked for gas leaks, deterioration, proper assembly, and burner obstructions before using. Check the gas tank hose for leaks by applying a light soap and water solution to the hose. Then turn on the gas. If there is a propane leak, the solution will bubble. Other signs of a propane leak include the smell of gas near the barbecue or a flame that won’t light. It’s a good idea to check for gas leaks every time you disconnect and reconnect the regulator to the cylinder. Leaks cause 10% of gas grill structure fires and 22% of outside gas grill fires. Don’t be a part of that statistic!
Take care when attaching the propane cylinder to your grill: Never attach or disconnect a cylinder or move or alter gas fittings when the grill is in operation or is hot. And make sure the hose it attached tightly and completely to reduce the likelihood of a leak.
Light the grill the right way: When lighting a gas grill, always keep the lid open to prevent a flash off from gas build-up. If a burner doesn’t ignite, turn off the gas. Keep the grill lid open and wait five minutes before trying to light it again. If the burners go out during operation, turn all gas valves to OFF. Open the lid and wait five minutes before attempting to relight, using lighting instructions.
Take care around the grill: Never leave a lit grill unattended. Don’t allow kids or pets to play near the grill. Never try to move a lit or hot grill. And remember, the grill will stay hot for at least an hour after use.
Store extra cylinders away from the grill: Always store the cylinder upright and in areas where temperatures won’t exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Never store a spare LP cylinder on or near a grill or any other appliance. Propane exchange services eliminate the need to keep extra tanks on hand by delivering a new tank only when you need it.
Wear the right clothing: Clothing can easily catch fire, so be sure your shirt tails, sleeves or apron strings don’t dangle over the grill. Do not lean over the grill when igniting the burners or cooking.
Be ready to put out the fire: Have baking soda on hand to control a grease fire and a fire extinguisher nearby for other fires. If you don’t have a fire extinguisher, keep a bucket of sand next to the grill. Never use water to put out a grease fire.
Levco’s Propane Exchange delivery program is safe, convenient and easy to use. Simply go online or give us a call to order your tank(s). We will deliver – most times the next day – right to your home and leave the tank by the garage. You’ll be sure the tank you get is in good condition, meets all safety standards and is ready to use. You won’t worry about transporting it in your car, waiting on long lines, or even finding the time to pick it up.
Sources: National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) and Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA)
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