Recently the State of N.H. has seen a number of serious home fires due to gas grills as well as one or to grill explosions. I once maintained a 240 unit condominium complex and repaired up to 17 fire damaged units per year due to improper gas grill use. The problem has become so great that the State of N.H. is contemplating making gas grill inspections part of the required components list for every NH home inspection. And so I have decided to write this blog about setting up a gas grill for the year. Remember, if the grill shows any issues refer to your owner's manual, company that made the grill or the place you bought it. You can always order in Chinese food tonight and grill safely tomorrow.
Spring is here and it's time to uncover the gas grill. Here are a few tips from a seasoned NH Home Inspector that can make it much safer.
1) Make sure you position your grill in a safe place. Never use your grill on a deck or near an exterior wall. You would be amazed at how many people burn the house siding and more the first time they light up the grill. Locate the grill on a level surface near your deck but not to close and make sure the back of the grill where the hot gasses escape is far enough away from all combustibles examples:( railings, bushes trees,furniture etc.).
2) Before you lite the grill check your gas supply line. The supply line should be flexible and have no cracks. Check to make sure that the gas supply connections are tight and in good working order. Now look inside and check out the burner and air vent. Make sure they are clean and rust free.
3) Next make sure the igniter is working.
4) Check to see that the body and hood of the grill are intact and the bottom is free of debris so that air can come up through and liquid fat and other burned or charred material can fall freely into the collection pan under the grill. Make sure there is an empty collection pan under this opening.
5) Now you're ready to start up the grill. Make sure the grills burner fuel adjustment knob is turned off. If this is on and you open your tank valve the tank valve will automatically shut off and no fuel will be supplied to the grill until you shut both the fuel tank and the grill off and start again. With the grill burner adjustment knob off open up the tank valve. Now make sure the hood is open and set the burner adjustment knob to start and with your face and body well away from the burner press the igniter. Your grill should start almost immediately. If it doesn't, shut the burner adjustment knob off, close the tank valve and seek help where you bought the grill or replace the grill.
6) If the burner ignites close the hood and heat the grill and you're ready to cook. When you finish cooking scrape the grills and burn them off before shutting it down. Having done this all of the combustible material should be removed and you won't have to worry about them burning on after you go in to eat and your grill will be ready the next time you need it. One last thing, make sure you turn the burner adjustment knob to the off position and turn the tank valve off when you're done. Turning off the burner adjustment knob isn't good enough with both valve closed you have redundancy and a much safer situation.
Have a happy and safe grilling season.