Grilling season is once again in full swing, so it’s time to revisit the subject of grill safety and maintenance. Wooden Sun services both gas and charcoal grills, and we recommend having your grill inspected and serviced by a qualified technician once a year. Additionally, there are some simple safety and maintenance tips you can follow to extend the life of your grill and make sure your outdoor events are safe and fun for everybody involved.
Let’s start with the safety precautions:
- Never use any grill indoors; carbon monoxide can build up in an enclosed space, posing a possibly lethal health hazard to everyone in the home.
- Grills should never be used underneath a deck or balcony, or directly next to a wooden structure. Keep your grill away from flammable materials, and make sure children and pets stay a safe distance away.
- When using a charcoal grill or smoker, there’s always the potential for sparks, embers, or hot ash to escape. We recommend a non-flammable grill mat to provide ember protection, as well as to make it easier to clean up food spillage. Wooden Sun carries these grill mats in a few stock sizes, but other sizes, shapes, and colors are available from the manufacturer.
- When starting a gas grill, the lid should always be open. If the flame has gone out (blown out by the wind, for example), turn off the grill, wait 15 minutes for the gas to dissipate, then re-ignite the pilot.
- Prior to the first cookout of the season, check the burners and air mixers for spiders and other insects. They are attracted to the smell and cozy spaces under the hood of your grill. Webs can reroute the gas so it comes out and ignites where it shouldn’t. Come by the shop and we can show you where to look, or schedule our techs for a thorough checkup.
- Before you use your grill for the first time each year, be sure to check the gas line and connections. You can do this by applying a soap-and-water solution to the hose, gasketing, and connector valves. If bubbles form, there is a leak. Turn the gas off immediately and have your grill serviced by a professional before trying to use it again! Any time you are unable to trace and eliminate a gas smell, call 911.
- Never store propane tanks in an enclosed space like a garage. If you store your grill inside, remove the tank an store it outside.
- And, of course, always read the user manual that comes with your grill, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding use and proper maintenance of the grill.
A common maintenance issue we’ve encountered is condensation buildup when a tarp or other impermeable material is used for a cover. There are a wide variety of grill covers on the market with a water-resistant exterior, and some sort of breathable material on the inside. Many are ventilated to allow additional moisture to escape. If you need a grill cover that Wooden Sun doesn’t carry, give us the dimensions of your grill (height, width including any side shelves, and depth), as well as whether your grill is built-in or freestanding, and we can find a cover to fit.
A few additional maintenance tips:
- Clean cooking grids and drip trays regularly. Grease and salt speed up corrosion, and pooled grease can easily ignite.
- In addition to checking for gas leaks, check all valves and connectors for rust and other corrosion. Remove all rust with a wire brush, and apply a rust-resistant paint to the area.
- After you finish grilling, turn all burners on high for about 10 minutes; this will vaporize most of the remaining drippings and grease.
Enjoy your grilling, and have a safe and happy summer cooking season!