It’s a beautiful day, the sun is shining, and you’re craving a juicy steak hot off the grill. But as you head out to your backyard, you realize it’s pouring rain, putting a damper on your grilling plans. So what do you do? Do you move the grill into your garage for some shelter? While it may seem convenient, it’s important to consider the potential safety hazards before you fire up your grill.
Even if its doors are open, grilling in the garage can lead to serious health and safety risks, including carbon monoxide poisoning and fire hazards. These can put you and your loved ones in danger.
In this article, we’ll explore the dangers of grilling in the garage and provide some essential safety tips to ensure you can enjoy your grilled meals without putting yourself or others at risk. So let’s dive in!
The Risks of Grilling in the Garage
Although grilling in your garage may seem convenient, it poses several risks that could harm you and your loved ones. Here are the possible dangers and why you should avoid it.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is a real danger that can occur when grilling in the garage. CO is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas produced when burning gasoline, wood, propane, charcoal, or other fuel sources. It can build up indoors and poison people and animals in the area who breathe it. Even with the garage door open, there may not be enough ventilation to prevent carbon monoxide from accumulating.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that each year, at least 420 people in the country lose their lives due to unintentional CO poisoning unrelated to fires. That’s not all; over 100,000 individuals are rushed to the emergency room, and over 14,000 people are hospitalized because of CO poisoning.
The most common symptoms of CO poisoning include headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, and confusion. The scariest thing is that if someone is asleep or has been drinking alcohol, they can die from CO poisoning without even realizing they have these symptoms. That’s why it’s crucial to take CO poisoning seriously and be cautious when grilling in enclosed spaces like garages.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, an estimated 10,600 home structure and outdoor fires involving grills occurred during 2014–2018. Grilling inside a garage increases the risk of fire because of the lack of space and the presence of flammable materials like gasoline, propane, and other chemicals.
For example, imagine a scenario where a person is using a gas grill in their garage. Due to the garage’s lack of ventilation, the propane tank’s fumes accumulate and eventually ignite, causing a massive fire. Even if the garage door is open, a sudden gust of wind can blow hot coals or flames, igniting nearby items and causing a fire.
The statistics further show that home fires occur more with gas than charcoal grills. During 2014–2018, 84% of grills involved in home fires were fueled by gas, while only 12% used charcoal or another solid fuel.
Precautions to Take Before Grilling Indoors
In case you still want to grill indoors, here are some notes that you should keep in mind:
1. Check for proper ventilation: Keep the garage door and windows open. Make sure there’s enough ventilation in your garage to allow smoke and fumes to escape. Proper ventilation can prevent a buildup of harmful gases like carbon monoxide.
2. Use a Carbon monoxide detector: These detectors are designed to measure the gas concentration in the air and provide an alarm based on a concentration-time function. For example, depending on each device’s settings, at lower concentrations, the detector does not sound an alarm for many tens of minutes, while at higher concentrations, the alarm sounds within a few minutes. This design is intended to mimic carbon monoxide uptake in the body while also preventing false alarms due to brief bursts of carbon monoxide from relatively common sources such as cigarette smoke.
3. Use a fire extinguisher: It’s essential to keep a fire extinguisher nearby in case of an emergency.
4. Use an electric grill: An electric grill is an alternative option for those who prefer to grill indoors. It doesn’t produce smoke or harmful gases, making it a safer option for indoor grilling.
5. Always be careful: It’s crucial to keep a watchful eye on the grill at all times and never leave it unattended, even for a moment. Letting others know that you’re grilling can prevent accidents from happening. If you suspect that you or someone else is experiencing CO poisoning or fire hazards, call 911 or a healthcare professional immediately.
Other Places to Grill When You Can’t Use Your Garage
Grilling is undoubtedly one of family and friends’ most exciting and fun outdoor activities. But what if it’s winter or raining, and you can’t grill outside or in your garage?
In such cases, it’s better to consider alternative outdoor locations for grilling, such as patios or decks, as long as sufficient clearance is around the grill.
These locations offer plenty of space and ventilation, reducing the risks of carbon monoxide buildup and fire hazards. Patios and decks are also typically constructed with non-flammable materials, making them much safer to grill on than a potentially combustible garage.
Additionally, you can use a grill tent specifically designed for outdoor cooking in bad weather conditions. The grill tent provides a safe and dry cooking area, protecting you and your loved ones from rain, wind, and snow. They also come with proper ventilation to prevent the buildup of harmful gases.
By choosing alternative outdoor locations or investing in a grill tent, you can still enjoy grilling with your friends and family without risking any hazards.
It’s essential to prioritize safety when grilling, especially in an enclosed garage. You have known the dangers of grilling indoors and the precautions to take before grilling in a garage
Remember always to have proper ventilation, keep a fire extinguisher nearby, and use a carbon monoxide detector. I hope you found this article informative and valuable. Please make informed decisions about where to grill and prioritize your safety and those of others. Happy grilling!
1. Is it illegal to cook in your garage?
The legality of cooking in your garage depends on local laws and regulations. In some places, it may be illegal due to safety concerns or other restrictions. It’s important to check with your local authorities to ensure you’re not breaking any laws.
2. What should I do if I accidentally start a fire while grilling in my garage?
If you accidentally start a fire, the first thing you should do is call 911. Then, use a fire extinguisher to try to contain the fire. If you cannot put out the fire quickly, evacuate the garage and stay a safe distance away until the fire department arrives.
3. Can I be liable if my neighbor’s house catches fire because I was grilling?
If your neighbor’s house catches fire because you were grilling, you could be held liable for any damages or injuries. This would depend on the circumstances of the fire, such as whether you were following safety precautions and if your actions were deemed negligent. It’s important to prioritize safety when grilling and take precautions to prevent any potential hazards.
I’m Jackson. I’ve been experimenting with different recipes and techniques to make the perfect plate of smoked or grilled meat for many years. I started this blog to share my experience with others who love grilling and smoking just as much as I do. Here you’ll find recipes, tips, tricks, and everything you need to know about making mouth-watering grilled or smoked dishes.