BBQ and Propane Safety

As we Manitobans prepare and begin to experience our barbecue season, these safety tips from the Canadian Propane Association are good to keep in mind to avoid damage or injuries.

Taking Your Barbecue Out of Storage

1. Inspect and clean your gas barbecue before using it for the first time each season.
2. If the fittings, flex hose or burners are worn or rusted, replace them and replace missing or worn “O” rings if your connector requires “O” rings.
3. Ensure that the burner’s venture tubes are properly seated over the barbecue’s gas valve orifices.
4. Use a flexible brush (made for this purpose) to clean the tubes between the gas valve and the burner, as blockages can occur due to spiders or insects (in many cases, debris in the tubes is the reason barbecues start “blowing out” for no reason when they were formerly working well).

Check for Leaks
1. Always check all cylinder connections for leaks before using your barbecue for the first time, after an extended period, or any time you replace the cylinder.
2. Brush a commercial leak detector solution (or a mixture of 50% liquid soap and 50% water) onto all connections and valves. If rising bubbles appear, you have a leak.
3. Close the service valve, tighten the leaking connection, and test again. If bubbles continue, shut off the service valve and contact a qualified service technician.
4. Never use matches or lighters to check for leaks.
Lighting the Barbecue

1. Always open the barbecue lid before lighting.
2. Use the service valve on the propane cylinder to turn on the gas supply. Next, turn on the burner and immediately use the igniter switch.
3. When finished with the barbecue, turn off the service valve first to ensure there’s no propane left in the hose; then close the burner control valves.
4. Make sure the gas grill is shut off and has cooled completely before covering it.

Everyday Use

1. Always use and store your barbecue outdoors, upright, in a secure, well ventilated area, at least three metres (10 feet) away from sources of heat or ignition sources, windows or doors, clear of the house, and far from anything that might obstruct the flow of air around the grill.
2. Store cylinders off the ground on a non-combustible base and never store or place spare cylinders under or near the barbecue.
3. Follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions for clearances from combustible walls, fences, etc. Keep the area clear of branches, leaves, or other combustibles.
4. Never use lighter fluid, gasoline, or other accelerants on the grill. Never use propane with natural gas appliances, unless the appliance has been modified by a qualified service technician to accommodate propane.
5. Keep children away from the barbecue.
6. Ensure all lines not attached to the barbecue are closed and terminated with caps or plugs.
7. If you suspect damaged or corroded pipes, a leak, smell an odour, or hear a high-pitched whistling noise, turn off the cylinder valve immediately and contact a licensed professional.
8. Ensure you have authorization to store or use a barbecue on your balcony.

Know How to Change Your Cylinder

When it’s time to change the portable cylinder on your barbecue:
1. Make sure the lid is open and the burner valves are closed; then shut off the cylinder service valve supplying propane to the system.
2. Disconnect and remove the cylinder. Older models have a POL (prest-o-lite) fitting with a left-hand thread that requires the use of a proper-size wrench.
3. If you are transporting the cylinder, attach a protective plug or cap to the service valve outlet, even if the cylinder is empty.
4. To reconnect the cylinder to the service line, first secure the cylinder in a cabinet or bracket, remove the protective plug or cap, and then reconnect the cylinder.
5. If your connector POL fitting requires a rubber “O” ring, replace it if it is misshapen, torn, cracked, or disintegrating.
6. Slowly turn on the cylinder service valve only, and ensure burner valves remain closed.
7. Check for leaks (see above).

Have a safe and enjoyable barbecue season.