Summer is prime time for barbeques, but it’s also when the most fires occur. These events happening simultaneously is not just a coincidence. According to the National Fire Protection Association, grills and barbeques cause an average of 9,600 home fires every year. Whether you’re a pro griller or someone grilling for the first time, make sure that you have these safety tips in mind before having your backyard barbeque.

General Safety Tips for Any Grill

Place the grill 10 feet away from anything that can potentially catch on fire. If it’s a windy day, give your grill even more space, since sparks can travel on the wind and land on nearby objects. Also, put the grill on a flat, stable surface so it doesn’t tip over.

Never leave your grill unattended, and keep children and pets away from the grill and lighter. Keep appropriate safety items such as water, a fire extinguisher, or baking soda nearby at all times.

Turn off the grill after each use. Put the lighter, lighter fluid, and matches away from the grill. Afterwards, clean your grill to remove residue that could potentially cause a fire the next time you use it.

Natural Gas Grills

Natural gas grills are connected to the gas line in your house. Before you start, check for a leak in the gas lines. Once you start your grill, always open the lid. If you keep the lid closed, gas builds up inside, which can cause an explosion of fire when you open the lid and use a lighter.

Keep your grill outside in a space with much ventilation (grilling indoors can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning). Turn off the gas after you are done. While wasting gas is expensive, a gas leak is a health hazard and can potentially start a fire.

If a fire does start, make sure that you are using the right materials to put out the fire. A fire from a natural gas grill is a grease fire, so you should never use water to extinguish it. Instead, use a fire extinguisher, or spread baking soda over the flames.

Propane Grills

Propane grills run on propane gas cylinders, which are typically safe and easy to use. However, you still have to keep some safety tips in mind. Don’t overfill the propane gas cylinder, and don’t use cylinders that are past their expiration date. Never store them indoors; if you need to change them, always do so outside.

Like natural gas grills, never turn on the gas when the lid is closed. If a burner doesn’t ignite, turn off the gas and keep the lid open. Wait 5 minutes before trying to relight it. If the burners go out while you’re grilling, turn off all gas valves and wait 5 minutes before trying to light it again.

After you’re done, turn off all the burners and the propane cylinder. Store the cylinder in a safe place outside and away from the grill. Then, check for a buildup of grease as you clean in order to prevent a fire from starting the next time you use the grill.

Charcoal Grills

These grills run on charcoal – a popular option for those who love that classic smoky flavoring in their food. However, charcoal grills require different safety procedures than gas grills. To start, don’t use too much charcoal. Use enough to cover the base of the grill about 2 inches deep.

Likewise, don’t overuse starter fluid; only use a minimum amount to prevent the release of too much carbon monoxide. Use only charcoal starter fluid because gasoline, kerosene, and other flammable fluids can explode. Never add more starter fluid once the charcoal is burning. Always keep water handy in the case of a fire!

Cleanup is a vital safety procedure. Wait 48 hours for your grill to cool before cleaning it. Once your grill cools completely and the coals are burnt out, soak the charcoal in water, put it in tin-foil, and then place it in a non-combustible container. Putting the ashes in a paper bag or garbage can could potentially start a fire.


Knowing these safety tips can be the difference between life and death. In addition, keeping your grill regularly maintained is a great way to prevent a disaster from happening. At Don’s Heating and Cooling, we ensure your grill is in optimal condition to grill all year long. Your safety is our top concern!