Check the Gas Lines!
It is grilling season again, and it is time to fire up you gas barbeques right? You can just smell those sizzling steaks and those great hotdogs after the game, and a seat on the deck right?
But before you get started, do you take a few minutes to really look it over? Not just clean the grill and bricks but really look at the gas lines? Whether your grill work on propane or natural gas, they have lines that should be inspected at the beginning and end of the season.
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We tend to take for granted that our barbys are safe, that all we have to do is press the light switch or a quick light with your long tailed lighter stick and off we go. We drag them all over the deck or backyard, and with propane we are always changing out the tank when we need more.
With natural gas ones, you either have a permanent stop for your grill or you have a flex gas line that plugs into a port on the side of your house to tap into the house supply of natural gas. The flex line looks strong, so what could possibly happen?
Dangers Do Lurk - My Story!
Well here is a little story about gas barbeques, that might make you take a second look at the gas lines and where you keep it.
My mother had a natural gas one. There was a outlet on the outside of the house beside her outside deck and a flex line that ran about 15 feet to where she liked to keep the barby.
A few summers back, she decided to move it closer to the house, to make more room, no big deal it is on wheels, and she slid it back. The flex line flexed a bit and dipped down between the deck and the house. No problems.
She carried on with her entertaining, and she used her gas barbeque a lot that season. She would keep it scrubbed clean, and it was so easy to operate. She left it plugged in the wall, which they told her was OK.
Rotten Egg Smell Equals Natural Gas Leak
Then one day, she had not used it for a while, and was walking around her garden when she thought she caught a odor of rotten eggs. Then it was gone.
She carried on for another week, then had a party, barbequed, and then when everyone left, she went outside again, and now the smell was stronger. Natural gas and propane have an additive to make it smell like rotten eggs, so you can detect a leak. (In Canada they do anyways not sure about other countries)
She quickly called the gas company, and they sent someone out, they checked her house top to bottom and could not find anything wrong. So she took them to the back yard to where she would be standing when the smell happened.
He saw she had a gas barbeque and that this was one of the plug in gas barbeques. He peered under the deck, and the smell was really strong.
An Animal Had Chomped the Gas Line Creating a Tiny Leak
They shut off the gas, and then had her stay outside, and then climbed down between the house and the deck and unplugged the gas barbeque. The flex line was leaking, but not at the plug in, but in the middle. The flex line had dipped down low enough for a animal to stand up and chomped at it.
Now why any night time critter would take an interest in the flex line of gas barbeques, was beyond any of us. But there were definite teeth punctures in this line. They had never seen that happen before. They said people have left these lines outside all year round with no problems on the ground.
The Natural Gas Was Building Under the Deck
But had she not discovered this leak, the gas was building under the deck, that next party she was going to have, might have been a blast! No pun intended! She was shaking with fear.
They changed out the flex line, and tried to have it where she could see it and be able to inspect it on a regular basis.
This was a nasty accident just waiting to happen, all because of a night critter that thought it was OK to snack on gas lines!
Who Would Have Thought a Night Critter Would Bite Into a Gas Line?
Gas barbeques are great, they are convenient, you don't have to light up coals, and you don't have to wait forever to cook your food. You can control the burners, and the temps to a point, but it is all too easy to not really think of the possible dangers of the gas barbeques.
We don't need to run around all paranoid, but we do need to be able to see ALL the parts and ALL the gas lines, and do a inspection. Part of my mom's gas line was down between a bush and the deck, so she didn't see that it had been messed with. She just knew how to plug it in the wall.
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So, this spring, when you are gearing up for another great grilling season, just check out your barbeque. Just because you had it sitting nice and neat with the cover on it over the winter, doesn't mean it is safe. With the size of the new gas barbeques now out on the market, they are staying outside for the winter under cover. But the harsh winters and changing seasons can be hard on parts and especially gas lines.
So, before you plug in your natural gas line, or attach that next propane tank, just take a look at the connections and the flex line if you have one. Make sure nothing tried to snack on your barbeque parts! If your propane tank is past ten years old, or you can't remember when you got it, then you should think about replacing it too.
So, have a great time this summer, and grill away, but don't forget to do a bit of housecleaning and checking on the equipment. Don't take those gas barbeques for granted, they can be dangerous if not cared for properly.