(ARA) - After a winter in which all 50 states saw snow, many Americans are looking forward to spring. And for those homeowners with outdoor gas appliances, a quick safety review can help them get a jump on enjoying time outdoors.
According to a 2009 survey by the Propane Education and Research Council (PERC), two-thirds of homeowners reported spending more time in their outdoor living spaces than in years past and more than half looked for ways to extend the outdoor living season. Many use outdoor gas appliances such as propane grills, fire pits and patio heaters to enhance and extend the enjoyment of their outdoor living areas.
Before firing up the gas grill or rolling out your portable patio heater this spring, first make sure that your propane appliances are in their proper place and in good condition. PERC recommends the following checklist to help homeowners keep their outdoor living spaces safe and enjoyable:
* Keep burnable materials like dry grass, wood or debris at least 10 feet away from propane tanks and cylinders. Never burn wood, coal or anything other than propane in a propane fire pit.
* Never store tanks or cylinders inside buildings, including garages or sheds.
* Read and follow the manufacturer's instructions for the appliance you're using, including where to place the unit, how to connect it to a cylinder and how to use, clean and store it. Fire pits and heaters need varying amounts of clearance, depending on the model. In general, allow at least 3 feet of clearance on all sides.
* Have your propane fire pit inspected by a professional every year.
* Before lighting your propane grill for the first time in the spring, check the cooking grid and warming rack to be sure both are in their proper place. Clean the grid, the interior of the grill and the burner (following the manufacturer's instructions) with a wire brush or scraper to remove any built-up food. And remember, always keep the top open when lighting a propane grill until you are sure it is lit.
* If the igniter fails to light the grill after two or three tries, turn off the gas and replace the igniter according to the manufacturer's instructions.
* When it's time to refill or replace a propane cylinder, stow it upright in your vehicle in a well-ventilated area, not the trunk. Return home directly after refilling.
* Replace any tank that has holes, dents, rusted weak spots, cracks or other damage, or is past its expiration date. Courtesy of ARAcontent