Spring is in the air, and soon you’ll be firing up the barbecue! But before getting started, be sure to read through our propane grilling safety tips.

Location, location, location

First and foremost, your grill should only be used outdoors – no exceptions. Grilling in an open garage or other enclosed area puts you at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning and house fires.

The safest spot for your grill is a patio, driveway, or other flat, well-ventilated space away from your house. Be sure there are no overhanging eaves or trees above the grill.

Check for damage

Before starting it up for the first time this year, give your grill a check-up. Start by examining the propane cylinder for signs of damage – bulges, dents, or excessive rust could be dangerous and should be further inspected by your propane supplier.

Next, test for leaks and loose connections. A safe, simple way to detect a propane leak is with a mixture of 50% water and 50% liquid soap. With the tank valve in the “on” position, but without lighting the grill, apply the soapy water to the connection hose. Now watch carefully for any bubbles forming along the hose. Bubbles around a fitting may indicate a loose connection, while bubbles elsewhere along the hose may suggest a crack.

Get cooking

Once your grill has been set up and visually inspected, let the grilling season begin! Your first step is to light your propane grill with the lid open – this will ensure gas won’t build up in an enclosed space. Then follow the manufacturer’s instructions to properly light your grill.

While cooking, follow these common-sense rules of grilling safety:

  • Never use lighter fluid or other accelerants on the grill.
  • Do not wear loose-fitting clothing that could catch on fire.
  • Never leave the grill unattended, even “just for a minute.”
  • Use long-handled grilling tools and flame-resistant mitts.
  • Keep children and pets away from the grill.

If a fire breaks out

Grilling with propane is very safe when done properly, but it’s imperative that you know what to do if an uncontrollable fire does break out while cooking. In this instance, call 911 immediately. Your first instinct may be to try to put the fire out, but it’s safer to get yourself – and all other people and pets – away from the blaze and wait for the fire department.

Keep it clean

After the last burger has been cooked and eaten, a little grill maintenance can go a long way towards keeping your grill safe for next time.

Grease and fat can build up in the grill’s bottom tray, and can potentially catch on fire. Avoid this by checking the pan before or after each cook, and taking the appropriate steps to cleaning it out.

To keep your propane grill protected from the elements in between cooks, invest in a high-quality grill cover. Just be sure the grill has been turned off and is completely cool before putting the cover on.