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Cooking with gas: Is your grill ready for the picnic?

Consumer Reports News: May 29, 2011 01:37 PM

Chops and chopped meat? Check. Hamburger rolls? Check. Side dishes? Check. Grill? Better double check. Tomorrow, the first official grilling day of the season, is no time to fire up your gas grill for the first time, especially if you’re entertaining a crowd. Give it a test run today.

When moving your grill from storage back outside make sure you place it in a well-ventilated area. Never use a grill indoors or in a garage, breezeway, carport, porch or under a surface that will burn. Gas grills present a risk of fire that could result in injury or death.

Before lighting the grill, inspect the hoses for cracking, brittleness, holes and leaks. Make sure there are no sharp bends in the hose or tubing and that all connections are secure. Check for propane gas leaks. Open the gas supply valve fully and apply a soapy solution with a brush at the connection point. If bubbles appear, there is a leak.

If you find a problem, you may not have time to fix it before the picnic, so you’ll need a Plan B for preparing your meal. If the grill is fine but you need more propane, here’s the safe way to change out your tank, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

  • Transport the tank in a secure, upright position.

  • Never keep a filled tank in a hot car or trunk.

  • Have the container refilled only by your LP gas dealer or a qualified service station.

  • Follow your owner’s manual for disconnecting and reconnecting the tank.

  • Never store a spare tank under or near the grill.

For more tips on grill safety as well as how to maintain a grill, see our Live from the Labs grill chat that covers those issues as well as how to buy the best gas grill for your style of grilling. And check our gas grill ratings.

Mary H.J. Farrell

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