5 Outdoor appliance dos and don’ts

Whether you have an elaborate outdoor kitchen or just a basic grill on your deck, follow these safety precautions and other tips for your outdoor appliances.

Safety first!
Outdoor kitchen

Do position your grill away from the house

Your outdoor grill should be well away from siding, overhangs, railings and tree branches. Never use propane and charcoal grills indoors. Not only are they a fire hazard, but the fumes can be toxic and potentially deadly in closed areas. Read the instructions on your grill before attempting to light it, and keep children, pets and foot traffic a safe distance away from the grill. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby for emergencies.

Read about choosing a charcoal or propane grill >>

Do create a smart electrical plan

When creating your outdoor kitchen, a smart electrical plan is of the utmost importance. Make sure you have plenty of outlets in convenient spots. Also, since being able to reset a tripped outlet behind your refrigerator is almost impossible, you should install a breaker in your home electrical panel for your entire outdoor kitchen.

Read more tips for outdoor electrical safety >>

Don’t have insufficient gas pipes

If your gas pipes are too narrow, the effectiveness of your outdoor appliances will be compromised. When creating your outdoor kitchen, be sure to take into account the total Btu for all your equipment, as well as the length of the gas line in order to determine how large of a pipe is necessary. Also make sure that the gas shut-off valve is neither too close nor too far away from the grill. It should be at least three feet away but not more than 12 feet from the grill.

Don’t forget to check for leaks

Before using your outdoor gas appliances and cylinders for the first time each season (and regularly thereafter), you need to inspect for leaks. Apply a leak detector solution — or rich soapy water — to the connections between the cylinder valve and the regulator outlet. Slowly open the cylinder valve, watching for bubbles. If bubbles appear, you need to tighten the connection and repeat the check. If they appear again, call your propane retailer or technician.

Don’t use the wrong extension cord

If you are using extension cords outdoors, use the right type. The UL label on your extension cord will tell you if it’s suitable for use outdoors. Also inspect the cord to make sure that it isn’t damaged or frayed. Do check the wattage rating on the appliance you are using and match it up with the extension cord. You should not use a cord with a lower rating. Keep cords away from water and don’t use them while they are wet.

Find out how to protect your child from electrical hazards >>

Check out this video about positioning your grill at a safe distance.

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