Many of us love to barbecue all year-round especially when the weather begins to warm. Here are some tips to keep you safe when using your barbecue. Barbecues come in all shapes and sizes therefore it is important to follow the manufacturer's instructions which will tell you how to use, clean and maintain your barbecue.
When setting the barbecue, make sure it is outside and in a well-ventilated area. It must be far away from combustible materials, windows and doors and on an even surface to reduce the risk of tipping over. If your barbecue has been sitting for a long period (over winter), it will need to be checked before use:
- Check for blocked burners or metal tubes near the burners. Also make sure the barbecue and burners are clean and the briquettes do not have a lot of grease buildup.
- Look for damaged or leaking fittings and hoses. To do so, use soapy water solution to check for bubbles. If you see any, have the barbecue serviced by an authorized professional and then re-check for leaks. Always remember to replace cracked or damaged hoses even if they are not leaking.
- Ensure that there are no damaged seals. Check the seals when you get your barbecue tank refilled and check for leaks after re-installing.
When you use your barbecue, you must keep the lid open when lighting it and follow these three steps:
- Open the shutoff valve on your tank to turn on the gas.
- Turn the burner controls on the barbecue to the appropriate position.
- Ignite the barbecue using the igniter switch or other recommended means, making sure not to lean over the barbecue.
If the barbecue does not light right away, turn off the gas and wait for the gas to dissipate before relighting.
- Never leave a lit grill unattended!
- Use long-handled cooking utensils and heat-resistant mitts to reduce the risk of burns.
- Inspect your barbecue brush and the barbecue grill before each use. Brushes can become worn and bristles on the brush can loosen and stick to the grill. Bristles can then end up on food and cause internal damage. Replace brushes often or find one of the many alternatives available to purchase.
After barbecuing, be sure to follow these simple steps:
- Shut off the gas valve.
- Let the gas remaining in the connecting hose burn off.
- Close the burner controls.
If you have a charcoal barbecue, make sure the charcoal has cooled down completely, this could take several hours.
Things to know about barbecue fuel
Propane and natural gas are both odourless. For safety reasons, a "rotten egg" smell is added before the gas is sold. Propane is heavier than air while natural gas is lighter. If there is a leak from a barbecue, propane will remain either in the lower cabinet or other low-lying areas while natural gas will always rise and dissapate. If the rotten egg smell is gone in both cases, the gas has likely dissipated.
Barbecues may produce carbon monoxide when used. Carbon monoxide is a harmful gas that has no colour, smell or taste. It can cause serious health problems or death if inhaled. It is essential to use your barbecue outdoors, in a well-ventilated area.