Important safety tips for maintaining and using gas grills

Liquid propane (LP) or natural gas grills are generally safe to use when operated properly, but you should still be careful. If the grill hasn’t been set up and maintained properly, or if there is a product defect, gas could escape. This can be hazardous and can lead to surprise flash fires or even explosions.

If you are not comfortable assembling your new gas grill yourself, consider hiring someone with experience to do it for you. If you decide to assemble your new gas grill yourself, and before you use it, read the grill’s instructions. Refer to those instructions again when you break down the grill for storage and maintenance and when you set the grill up for your first grilling party of the year.

Unfortunately, people get injured from improper storage, maintenance and operation of gas grills. Here are some safety tips from the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association:

Safe storage and setup

It’s crucial to operate gas grills only outdoors and in a well-ventilated area. It’s possible to store an unused gas grill indoors, but you must properly disconnect the gas line connection, remove the LP cylinder, and store the LP cylinder  outside. Never store LP cylinders indoors.

When storing LP cylinders, always store them upright and in an area where the temperature will not exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not store them on or near the grill or any other appliance. Remember to plug the cylinder valve outlet whenever there is no cylinder connected to the grill, unless it is a quick-close coupling or quick-connect valve.

When setting up the grill for the first time and after any significant period of disuse, check the grill for gas leaks and burner obstructions. Do not use a flame to check for gas leaks. You can check for gas leaks by running a soap-and-water solution through the gas line and looking for escaping bubbles. Check for gas leaks again every time you disconnect and reconnect the regulator to the LP cylinder or gas line.

Maintain and clean your grill twice a year and as the manufacturer recommends, looking for rust and checking the regulator, hoses, air shutter, valve section and air shutter carefully. Always turn the gas off during cleaning and maintenance. Visually inspect the hoses for wear, abrasion or leaks every time you use the grill. If any parts are worn or faulty, replace them using a replacement kit.

Using your grill safely

Once you are confident your grill is properly set up and maintained and there are no potential gas leaks, you are ready to use the grill – carefully.

Never use a LP cylinder that is dented, gouged, bulging, corroded, damaged, leaking or excessively rusty. Return the cylinder to a liquid propane supplier for maintenance or destruction.

Never attach or disconnect an LP cylinder or gas line or move or alter the gas fittings when the grill is in operation or hot.

When lighting the grill, ​keep the lid open. If you leave the lid closed, gas could build up and cause a flash.

Never lean over the grill when igniting the burners or when it is hot.

If one burner fails to light, immediately turn off the gas. Keep the grill’s lid open and wait five minutes before trying again.

If a burner stops working while you are operating the grill, turn all the gas valves to the OFF position. Open the lid and, again, wait five minutes before relighting.

These tips cover many ways people commonly become injured while using gas grills. However, some grills, parts and LP cylinders may be defective. If you have been injured and suspect something unusual went on when you were using your gas grill, discuss your situation with a lawyer who handles product liability.

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