Summer Barbecue Safety 101 – A Step by Step Guide

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20 April 2015 - 13:45, by , in Blog, No comments

Summertime is a season us Canadians love for many different reasons, but nothing says summer quite like a barbecue. Whether you’re at home or at the cottage, if you’re having a family gathering or simply cooking for yourself, the barbecue allows for fast and delicious meals that just aren’t the same without a grill.

By following the set of barbecue safety guidelines indicated below, you can ensure that you and your loved ones get the most out of this wonderful activity. Avoid the dangers of grilling by staying informed; it will help your barbecue last longer and keep your propane cylinder in great condition so you can have a worry-free and delicious summer.

Annual Safety Check

  1. Carefully clean out any dust, dirt or cobwebs that may have built up in your grill or propane tank over the winter
  2. Ensure the tubes and hoses are in good repair. They should be clear and free of cracks and sharp bends. If parts seem rusted or worn, replace them promptly. Propane leaking from a cracked hose may send out gas that can produce huge flames if ignited
  3. Check the cylinder connections for leakage before lighting the barbecue. You can use equal parts soap and water to detect leaks by brushing the mixture over the connections and watching for rising bubbles. If bubbles are present, repair your barbecue until there are no more
  4. If you are unsure about a particular part, replace it with a new component just to be safe
  5. If you don’t feel comfortable completing the safety check yourself, call a certified fuel appliance repairperson

Your Propane Cylinder

The most common residential barbecue requires a 20pound cylinder. When properly filled, 80% of the tank contains liquid propane and 20% contains propane vapor. These cylinders must be inspected, requalified or replaced every 10 years. The date your tank was last qualified can be found along the collar of the cylinder. If rusted or damaged, your cylinder should be replaced, regardless of how long you’ve had it.

New propane cylinders must release all of the air and moisture inside before it is filled with propane. Only a properly trained and certified attendant is allowed to fill a tank.

Changing Your Propane Cylinder

  1. Ensure that the plug provided is threaded onto the outlet of the service valve when you disconnect the hose
  2. Carry the empty cylinder in the upright position with the safety valve on top
  3. When transporting the cylinder, place it on the passenger side floor of your vehicle and secure it from falling over while driving. Keep the windows open and never leave the cylinder inside a parked car with the windows sealed. Do not smoke in your vehicle with the tank inside
  4. Secure the new cylinder in place on your barbecue before you reconnect it. After reconnecting, use equal parts soap and water to check for leaks.
  5. If your connection has an “O” ring, check it for cracks every time you replace the cylinder
  6. Do not store extra propane cylinders under your barbecue or inside any building as excess heat could cause the cylinder to release propane and overpressure, potentially exploding

Lighting Your Barbecue

  1. Begin by opening the lid. Always have the lid in the open position when lighting the grill
  2. Turn on the gas by opening the propane cylinder valve
  3. Turn on the barbecue using the grill controls
  4. Light the barbecue by depressing the igniter button. If your barbecue does not have an igniter button, use a long match or barbecue lighter to ignite the grill through the side burner hole
  5. If the burner does not ignite, keep the lid open and turn off the gas. Wait for 5 minutes before trying again.

Shutting Off Your Barbecue

  1. Shut off your propane cylinder valve so remaining gas in the hose line burns off
  2. Turn off your burner controls so that no gas remains trapped in the hose
  3. Allow your barbecue ample “cooling off” time before covering it.

Additional Safety Tips to Remember

  • Use the barbecue outdoors only, approximately 10 meters from buildings
  • Don’t leave the barbecue unattended while in use
  • Don’t wear loose clothing while operating the barbecue
  • Have a portable fire extinguisher accessible and know how to use it
  • Don’t put water on a grease fire, it will only cause the flames to grow


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