Everyone loves a home barbecue and grill, but they can be a major fire hazard if operated incorrectly. Keep reading to learn how to safely use a barbecue and prevent fire damage in your home. And remember, if you do need fire damage assistance or any other restoration and clean up services, our professionals at FP Property Restoration are only a call away.
10 Tips to Help You Safely Operate Your Residential Barbecue:
- Make sure your barbecue/grill is installed by an experienced professional, who knows how to properly hook it up to the appropriate chimney connections. If you decide to purchase a high-end barbecue, you should also make sure it has been certified by a national testing laboratory to ensure that it is safe.
- Keep your barbecue/grill away from the wall, where it will be able to cook food safely without accidentally sending sparks to any flammable materials. It is essential to have at least three feet of space around your barbecue at all times.
- Prior to the arrival of winter, have your connections inspected and cleaned by a professional. You should also perform some annual maintenance on your own, checking your stove’s latches, hinges, and gaskets to see if they are working properly.
- Let ashes cool before you get rid of them. It’s all too easy to dispose of live coals and accidentally set something on fire, or worse, end up burning yourself. You should also be tossing your ashes in a metal container, which should ideally be stored outside, with about a ten-foot barrier around it.
- Only burned dry, seasoned wood. Maple, beech, ash, hickory, and oak are always good choices, as long as they are not covered in chemicals. Do not burn wood that has been recently cut, aka “green wood,” as it may contain moisture that is not initially apparent to the naked eye. You should also avoid burning cardboard and paper, as the organic compounds in these items often contribute to creosote build-up—the dark-colored oil you sometimes see on wood-burning appliances.
- Do not use flammable liquids to start your barbecue. Squirting gas or lighter fluid into your barbecue is a great way to get the fire inside to rage out of control, and spread from the stove to the rest of your home.
- If your barbecue uses wood, only store that wood in a secure place, such as in a shed or under a tarp. You want to keep any wood you’re going to burn in a safe, dry place, where it will not be affected by rain or come in contact with any unwanted fires.
- Never let your children or pets get close to your barbecue. We understand that it’s sometimes hard to control the little ones or furry friends in your house, but it is essential to teach them that this is a potentially dangerous appliance, and getting anywhere closer than within three feet of it can result in serious harm.
- Install functioning smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. This is important to do even if you do not have a home barbecue or grill setup, but if you do have a working barbecue, grill, or chimney on your property, it is particularly vital to do this when the seasons change. You should also regularly test your smoke and CO alarms to make sure they are working correctly, and change their batteries annually just to be safe.
- Purchase a fire extinguisher. If all goes according to plan, you’ll never have to use it, but it’s still a good idea to have one lying around your house in case of an emergency.