If you are using a gas grill for your outdoor barbecues, then you probably use a propane tank as a fuel source. Propane is much easier to use than charcoal or fluid, and it also heats up the grill much faster for better cooking.
Unfortunately, grilling-related injuries and burns are common especially during summer and early fall, mainly due to unsafe grilling practices. Taking care of your barbecue propane tank is vital for safe outdoor cooking. Here are tips on how to handle your propane tank.
Protect your tank from weather extremes
Summer storms are particularly destructive to outdoor propane tanks, as they can cause the tank and other attachments to rust. Corrosion can cause cracks in the tank or valves, leading to dangerous gas leaks that could cause an explosion when you use the grill.
Summer heat is also a concern, as it can cause the gas tank expand and bulge. The heat also causes pressure buildup in the tank, which could potentially lead to an explosion. Investing in a barbecue cover, which is typically a polythene tent that can be draped over the entire grill area, can be a good way to protect the propane tank as well as the grill from heavy rains and direct sunlight. Alternatively, you can purchase a smaller propane tank cover that will shield your tank from the elements and keep corrosion at bay.
Have it inspected
It is important that you have your gas-fired grill inspected by a certified propane technician, like Northwest Propane LLC, before the start of the barbecue season. This will help reveal vents and pipes that may be leaking or any damage to the propane tank. Technicians can also run tests for carbon monoxide poisoning and check if the tank is dangerously overfilled.
Follow good practices before starting
While using the grill, be sure to keep the propane tank a few feet away from any structures or trees to avoid accidental fires. Before lighting up the grill, check all connections for gas leaks by performing a simple leak-detection test using a solution of mild soap.
Pour a teaspoon of the soap solution on all valves and pipe connections. Any bubbles at a connection would indicate a leak, which should tell you that you need to tighten the loose area before proceeding with your grilling. It also helps to clean the grill before use, as dirt or grease accumulation in the briquettes and cooking grids could obstruct gas connections and cause problems.
After use, shut off the cylinder valve and disconnect the tank from the grill before storing it upright in an open place with good air circulation.