Never move your barbecue grill into the garage, and other safety tips

Published May 26, 2014

The forecast calls for rain this afternoon, so you might be tempted to avoid soggy burgers and hot dogs by pushing that grill of yours under the eaves of your home, or dragging it into your open garage.

Don't do it.

Never mind the fire risk from rising sparks — the charcoal and gas grills manufactured for use on your patio produce large amounts of carbon monoxide — easily more than lethal amounts. Allowing that to collect in your garage or under the eaves into your attic can be fatal.

The National Fire Protection Association recommends only using those grills outdoor, well away from the home, deck raillings and out from under eaves and open branches.

(If you're planning a cookout for today, plan it for the early afternoon to avoid later rains.)

Other safety tips:

• Keep children and pets away from the grill.

• Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grids and any trays below the grill.

• Never leave your grill unattended.

Charcoal grills

A chimney starter from your local home improvement store will allow you to start charcoal using only newspaper as a fuel, and electric starters require nothing more than an extension cord.

But if you need to use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid — and never add that or any other flammable liquids after your first lighting attempt. Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources while you're grilling and when you're storing it afterward.

When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing of them in a metal container.

Propane grills

Check your gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year. Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. A propane leak will release bubbles.

If you can tell your grill has a leak (whether from the smell of propane or the soapy bubble test) and there is no flame, turn off the gas tank and grill. If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again.

If the leak does not stop, call the fire department.

If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not move the grill.