Wondering if it’s safe to use your grill in the garage? We’re going to give you the hard truth according to the experts. Check it out.
You’ve got your heart set on grilling up some delicious steak for dinner, maybe with some peppers and onions or grilled asparagus on the side.
But the local news says to expect rain and the clouds in the distance are looking pretty dark and scary.
You don’t want to get all wet grilling in the rain so you think to yourself: “Maybe I should just fire up my grill in the garage with the door open.”
Don’t do it.
Grilling in your garage is a dangerously bad idea because it creates a serious risk of fire or carbon monoxide poisoning. No meal is worth dying for. [/snippet]
The Risks Of Grilling In The Garage
Using your grill in the garage may seem harmless enough, but there are some serious risks involved:
According to a report by the National Fire Protection Association, fire departments respond to over 10,600 fires involving grills every year. About 5,000 of those involved the home itself catching fire and 10 people die every year due to home fires started by a grill.
Both charcoal and gas grills are meant to be used outside only. If you read the instruction manual it will tell you that in big, bold letters.
Anytime you’re cooking with an open fire there’s a risk that things will get out of hand. The danger only increases if you light a grill inside your garage.
Just think about your garage for a minute. It’s probably full of cardboard boxes, newspapers, random paint cans, engine oil, or other flammable fluids.
A grease fire could erupt out of nowhere. A charcoal grill could be knocked over sending fiery briquettes tumbling. Even strong winds could blow burning embers onto flammable materials and your garage will be in flames before you can even react.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas produced by burning gasoline, wood, propane, charcoal, or other fuel.
When there’s too much carbon monoxide in the air you’re breathing, your body replaces the oxygen in your red blood cells with carbon monoxide. Your tissues and organs don’t get enough oxygen. Early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning may include a headache, dizziness, nausea, weakness, or confusion. Prolonged exposure to carbon monoxide can result in permanent brain damage, heart damage, miscarriage if you’re pregnant, or death.
The scary thing about carbon monoxide is that you can’t see, smell, or taste it. You could be standing at your grill flipping burgers and not even realize you’re breathing it in.
And even if you use your grill in the garage with the door open, carbon monoxide can still accumulate since you’re in an enclosed area. Or it could vent into other parts of the house endangering the rest of your family.
It Makes A Mess
Ok, this isn’t as big a danger of grilling inside a garage as the risk of fire or carbon monoxide poisoning, but I wanted to mention it.
Cooking can be pretty messy and typically there’s a lot of grease involved. Just think about how messy your stovetop and kitchen counters get when making dinner.
If you’re grilling in the garage that greasy mess will get all over the walls and any other items you have nearby. Plus, the smoke will stain the ceilings and the whole garage will smell like smoke and food.
Is There A Way To Safely Grill In The Garage?
Yes, but you need to use an electric grill that is specifically designed and rated for indoor use.
Electric grills don’t have an open flame that can cause a fire and they don’t produce carbon monoxide. That means they’re perfectly safe to use in your garage, or even in your kitchen if you want.
The downside to electric grills is you just don’t get the same grill flavor you get when cooking over a real flame.
Of course, if you’re worried about weather you can always buy an inexpensive canopy or patio umbrella to keep you out of the elements while you get your grill on.
If You Refuse To Listen To Reason…
Listen, I know that despite my warnings and the advice of experts and fire departments worldwide you may very well decide to grill in the garage anyway.
There’s a guy in my neighborhood who does it often. I drive by sometimes on the weekend and see him and a few of his buddies hanging out with the garage door open and grilling away. So far he’s been lucky, but that luck may run out at any time and I just hope no one gets hurt if it does.
So if you insist on grilling in the garage, at least take a few precautions.
- Never take your eye off the grill for a second. In the time it takes for you to run into the kitchen to grab cheese slices for the burgers, an uncontrollable fire can erupt.
- Make sure you have a fire extinguisher within reach in case you need it. Baking soda is also good for putting out small grease fires.
- Install carbon monoxide detectors in your garage and throughout your house, and make sure they are in good working order. They’re useless if the batteries are dead.
- Make sure you keep all chemicals or combustible materials far from the grill.
- Keep the garage door open and open any other service doors or windows to improve ventilation.
- Make sure no one in the house is sleeping and they’re aware that you’re grilling in the garage.
- Keep a phone handy so you can dial 911 quickly.
Is It Safe To Store A Grill In The Garage?
For the most part, there’s no harm in storing your grill in the garage as long as you take some basic safety precautions.
If you’re using charcoal, make sure the fire is completely out before moving the grill into your garage. Check out our article on how to safely put out a charcoal grill.
Even better, dispose of the charcoal before you put your grill in the garage.
If you’re grilling with propane, shut off the tank and completely disconnect it from the grill. You should never keep propane tanks in your garage as a leak could could result in an explosion or fire.
When not in use, propane tanks should always be stored outside or in a well-ventilated shed outside of direct sunlight.