With summer-like temperatures and beautiful weather here at last, many of us have started to enjoy outdoor entertaining with friends and family in our backyards.
Gas fired outdoor equipment such as barbecues, pool heaters, gas lamps, patio heaters and fireplaces or pits are becoming commonplace in many backyards.
In addition to being efficient and easy to use, these natural gas and propane burning appliances have been instrumental in helping create and extend outdoor living environments from spring to fall and even the occasional wintery day.
Although some of these items may be included in a home purchase/sale, they are not part of a standard home inspection; as a result, if present, they should be inspected by a licensed gas technician.
Here are a few key pre-season checks of these portable stand-alone units that need be done to ensure a safe and fun season.
If your barbecue hasn’t been used since last season, a good inspection and cleaning is necessary. Ensure the appliance gas supply has been turned off and disconnected. A wire brush can be used to clean the grill while the burner assembly should be inspected for spider webs, cracks or corrosion.
Remove deteriorated lava rocks, food debris and grease from grills, drip pans and warmers. Uncleaned or unchecked parts can lead to flame-ups or grill fires. If needed, replacement parts may be available through a general or specialty retailer.
Reconnect the gas supply. With a soap and water solution at hand, turn on the gas from the shut-off valve.
Check fittings and hoses by wetting them with the soap water solution; if there are any leaks in the fittings or cracks in hoses or pipes bubbles will form in the area of the leak.
If any leaks appear, turn the gas off and call a licensed gas technician. The equipment should not be used until repaired as even the smallest leak can cause a major fire or explosion.
Do not position the barbecue or patio heater too close to the house or any other combustible material. They should be positioned at least 1.2 metres away from anything that can be damaged by heat. Never use barbecue or patio heaters under the overhang of the roof or awning, or inside a patio cover (pagota). As a home inspector, I have inspected many homes that have sustained damage to vinyl siding and deck railings as the direct result of a barbecue being placed too close. Never leave a working barbecue or patio heater unattended, and never use these appliances indoors, not even in a garage or shed.
Prior to start-up, homeowners should remove any accumulated debris (leaves, bugs) from the pool heater area and check vent connections (top or side mounted) for corrosion or pitting.
Pool heaters require a balance of fuel, air and water pressure for correct operation. Adhere to the manufacturer’s listed maintenance schedule.
Source: American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)
Please contact RJ Home Inspection to schedule a professional home inspection for your home or business: 800-253-4402 or email firstname.lastname@example.org