Summertime if the most wonderful time of the year for BBQ enthusiasts and those who enjoy the exquisite taste of a perfectly grilled, steak, chicken breast, patty, hot dog, or kabob. While condo owners are typically more cautious when (or unfortunately forbidden from) BBQing, homeowners tend to be more casual about their approach. After all, you’ve been feeding family and guests for years without incident to your home. Until of course, there is one. Home insurance hazards include smoke damage to exterior panelling and decks, to fires that threaten landscaping and the house itself. To maintain your perfect record of safe outdoor grilling at-home, follow the recipe below.
10 Practical Tips to Reducing the Risk of Fire and Other Forms of Damage Due to Summertime BBQs at Home
1. Clean Before First Use
If your BBQ has been tucked in the shed and hasn’t been used since last summer, give it a good cleaning before using. Debris and hidden grease build-up in storage could make the initial ignition flame larger and more far reaching than expected.
2. Inspect for Gas Leaks
Once you’ve cleaned your BBQ after a season of sitting idle, turn on the propane to identify leaks. How do you do this without sticking your nose into every crevice to sniff out a violation (which isn’t good for your health)? By mixing a 50/50 solution of liquid dish soap and water and applying it on the hoses and connections of your BBQ. When you turn on the propane the solution will bubble in places that there are leaks. Leaks are most likely due a loose-fitting hose which can be fixed with a twist of your fingers or a wrench, but in some cases tiny holes in hoses may require patching or the hose may need to be replaced.
3. Turn On the Propane AFTER the Lid is Opened
Some people purposefully close the lid of their BBQs when turning on the propane in order to get it to light a flame faster. That’s a bad idea, and is what causes flames to burst out of the seams and onto your home. Open the lid, and then turn on the propane, be it for leak inspection or grilling.
4. Keep the BBQ 10-Feet from Your Home Exterior
Keep a safe distance between your BBQ and your home exterior. 10-feet is a good rule. Even if a rogue flame won’t reach that far (although not impossible), if anything causes the BBQ to combust or propane tank to burst, the distance offers a buffer.
5. Remove All Flammables from the Area
As alluded to above, rogue flames are a threat. If they reach flammable materials they can start a fire. Ensure that fluids and chemicals commonly used around the home exterior are placed securely within your shed or garage when you BBQ. Also remove loose papers, cleaning rags, and anything else that can easily catch fire.
6. BBQ Away from Foliage
We asked that you keep 10-feet away from the house exterior, but don’t park your BBQ next to your backyard hedges, shrubs, or under overhanging tree branches. You need to keep at least 10-feet away from foliage too, especially in the summer in BC where droughts conditions are becoming prevalent.
7. Keep a Fire Extinguisher Outdoors
You have fire extinguishers near the kitchen inside of your home, right? Well, it also makes sense to holster an extra one outdoors near your summertime cooking station. That said, place it out of direct sunlight. While the heat from the sun isn’t likely to cause a fire extinguisher to explode, it can cause it to malfunction.
8. Leave No BBQ Unattended
Never turn your back on an active BBQ. It doesn’t matter if you left a key ingredient in the kitchen or you need to run to the restroom. If you must leave, have someone (another adult) manage the grill while you briefly step away.
9. Turn Off the Propane Tank Before Serving
Make it a rule to turn off the propane rank before you load the meat, faux-meat, and kabobs onto a serving plate. Once the serving begins, people begin to gather and you may get distracted and forget to turn off the propane tank. An open propane tank valve threatens combustion, plus it may make those seated nearby feel ill.
10. Clean the Grill After Every Use
Clean the BBQ/grill after every single use. We know that some people swear that leftover gristle and sauce is the key to great flavor, but it inflates the risk of excessive flames when reigniting the grill for tomorrow’s BBQ.
Ready to BBQ safely this summer? There’s only one more thing to do – have a broker review your homeowners insurance policy. In doing so, you can ensure that you’re covered against liability for harm to guests and damage to your and/or neighboring property. Contact Park Insurance today.