Is my barbecue safe?

Barbecue safety comes from how well you do your care and maintenance. So how do you keep a barbecue safe?

If you have followed these steps then you should have a pretty good idea about the condition of your barbecue:

  • Inspect the propane bottle for age and damage. A bottle must be re-qualified after 10 years. The cylinders are date stamped. This date can usually be found on the protective collar.
  • Before you connect the bottle to the barbecue, check the connector at the end of the hose and at the regulator assembly. You are checking for an o-ring near the nose to assist in forming a seal against leaks. Inspect the o-ring for wear or damage. If you do see damage then do not make connection. (Note: There are some barbecue connections that have a hard nose with no groove at tip and no o-ring. If your barbecue has this type of connection, then you are not going to see an o-ring. This is not a bad thing.)
  • Most barbecues built from 1995 on come equipped with the quick closing coupling. This unit does not require an O-ring. It has a custom right-hand thread for the quick connection to propane cylinders which have been manufactured after January 1994. This quick closing coupling is designed so that propane will not flow until the connection between the barbecue and the cylinder is fully secure. The coupling includes a replaceable seal inside the valve. If the seal has to be replaced due to wear, then the valve insert can be removed and another insert can be placed in the valve by a qualified person.
  • There is a reliable way to check the piping and connectors. Once the bottle is connected put soap bubbles to all threaded or clamped connections. Make sure the burner control valves are turned off. Open the main cylinder valve slowly and fully. If bubbles form, your connection is leaking. Close the cylinder valve immediately and re-tighten the connection. Do not attempt to light your barbecue. If the leak persists after re-testing, close the cylinder valve and contact your dealer.
  • Since 1980 all barbecues and appliances manufactured in Canada have an instruction plate securely attached in a visible area. This plate clearly defines, in French and English, complete instructions for lighting and shutting down the barbecue.
  • Do take the time to read the manufacturer's instructions before lighting. It is important to always open the lid before lighting. If ignition does not take place immediately then turn the control valves off, wait for five minutes and repeat the lighting procedure. When you are finished, close the valve on the cylinder first. This allows the propane in the hose to be consumed. After the burner goes out, turn the control valves to the off position.
  • Be sure to inspect the burner for wear and clean burning. The flame should be blue with a minimum of yellow flame.

Barbecue fires have caused house fires. An explosion from the propane could be a big problem. Reduce your risk but doing your barbecue safety program. An ounce of prevention really does equal a pound of cure! Not having a claim is a great way to reduce insurance costs.