It’s summertime, so it’s time to fire up the grill! However, if you have a patio or porch, you might wonder if it’s safe to barbecue under there. After all, you don’t want to start a fire and ruin your entertaining outdoor area!
Is It Safe to Grill Under Your Covered Patio?
In short, grilling under a covered patio is risky and should only be done as a last resort. You must take safety measures, such as keeping the grill 10 feet from flammables. If you barbecue beneath a covered patio, watch it closely.
Some grills are safer on a covered patio than others. A reliable electric grill produces no flames or sparks. Pellet or charcoal grills may be unsafe due to heat and smoke, and they can discolor your awning or walls and leave a lingering stench. Gas or propane grills are preferable if the area is well-ventilated to minimize gas build-up, but they may still cause smoke damage.
The Dangers of Charcoal Grilling
If you’re barbecuing a charcoal grill, you need to be extra careful about where you set it up. That’s because charcoal grills can give off sparks, which could ignite anything nearby—including your patio furniture or the walls of your house. For this reason, we recommend avoiding charcoal grilling altogether if you’re planning to cook under your patio.
Gas and Pellet Grills are Safer Alternatives
If you’re set on grilling under your patio, gas and pellet grills are safer alternatives to charcoal grills—nonetheless, a variety of safety measures you should take.
- Ensure your grill is 10 feet away from flammable materials like propane tanks or woodpiles.
- Distance from walls or other surfaces that could catch fire when grilling should be at least 3 feet or
- A fire extinguisher is kept in a readily accessible location at all times.
- Propane gas in enclosed areas can be explosive, so it’s essential to open up your patio or porch before grilling. This will help ventilate the area and avoid a dangerous build-up of gas.
Electric Grill Under a Covered Patio
When cooking outdoors, an electric grill is a great option to consider. It is safer because it doesn’t produce fumes like gas grills.
- An Electric Grill is also better for the environment because it doesn’t use gas.
- Electric grills are healthier and cook food faster than gas grills so that you can enjoy your meal sooner.
One downside to using an electric grill is that unlike gas grills, which can be used anywhere as long as there’s a propane source, electric grills must be plugged into an outlet to work.
So if you don’t have an outdoor outlet installed, you won’t be able to use your electric grill.
Cooking Under an Awning is Risky, Even With Protections
As you can see, cooking under an awning presents several risks you must be aware of before firing up the grill. However, if you do choose to grill beneath an awning, there are some things you can do to minimize the risk.
- First, ensure adequate clearance (9+ feet) between the grill and the ceiling of the awning.
- Second, keep a fire extinguisher and spray bottle handy in case of flames or sparks.
- And finally, always exercise caution when cooking under an awning—even if you take these precautions—as accidents can happen despite our best intentions.
Soil and Concrete – Awnings are Different
You might think, “I have a concrete patio, so it must be safe to grill under my awning.” Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Different types of awnings present different risks. Soil and concrete awnings are different.
Concrete is non-flammable, but the soil is not. If you have a soil awning, grilling underneath it is not recommended as there is an increased fire risk.
Gas and Charcoal May Discolor Ceilings
Another consideration is that if you have a gas or charcoal grill, the heat from the grill can discolor the ceiling of your awning. This is especially true for screened-in patios with an aluminum ceiling. If you choose to grill under an awning, be sure to use caution and keep an eye on the grill at all times.
Flaming, Sparking, and Grease Fires are More Dangerous Under an Awning
As with any fire, flaming, sparking, and grease fires are more dangerous when they’re under an awning. This is because there is a structure above the fire, which can cause the fire to spread more quickly.
Also, grilling in an enclosed space beneath an awning can cause carbon monoxide to build up,It might be hazardous to you and your guests.
Grilling Safety Tips
In addition to being aware of the type of grill you’re using and its proximity to flammable materials, there are other safety tips you should follow.
- First, never leave your grill unattended while it’s lit—even for a minute!
- Second, ensure plenty of ventilation so the smoke doesn’t build up and cause problems for your neighbors.
- Third, if you’re using a gas grill, be aware that grease fires can quickly start on the ceiling of your patio or porch if the grease from the burgers or hot dogs drips up through the grate. Avoid this by monitoring grease accumulation and removing it regularly.
- Use a grill pad or mat to protect your deck or patio from grease and heat damage.
Safe grilling beneath your patio may be achieved by adhering to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) regulations. Be sure to use an electric, gas, or pellet grill instead of a charcoal grill, keep it about 10 feet away from any flammable (including walls) and never leave it unattended while it’s lit.
And remember—if you smell smoke from your barbecue area, check it out immediately to ensure everything is okay!