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Grilling Safety: Propane BBQ Edition

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Grilled food can really hit the spot on nice Arizona days. Before you use your BBQ, make sure that you keep these grilling safety tips in mind. This helps ensure that you and your family can enjoy grilled dinners without any trouble.

Store Propane Tanks Properly

Grilling safety involves storing propane tanks properly. Tanks for gas grills can easily become a hazard. Store these tanks in a vertical and upright position. Also make sure they are kept far away from any heat or ignition sources, such as lighters or matches. If you have a gas line for your grill, you don’t have to deal with propane tanks at all.

Turn the Grill on Safely

Another important grilling safety tip is to make sure that you turn the grill on correctly. This involves opening the lid and turning the propane on. After this is done, turn the knobs for the burners, then push the ignition. Doing this the right way lowers the risk of fires and other accidents.

Never Use Lighter Fluid

Never use lighter fluid to ignite a gas grill. Lighter fluid is a major fire hazard when it isn’t used properly. You will avoid having to worry about this if you have a gas grill with its own natural gas line installed.

Check for Leaks

Gas leaks can occur when you use propane tanks for your grill. You should check for leaks by putting a solution of water and light soap on the gas tank hose. If you see bubbles, this means you have a gas leak that needs to be fixed by a professional right away. Grills with a gas line have a lower risk of ending up with these leaks.

Don’t Reignite Right Away

If your grill doesn’t ignite, don’t light it again right away. You could have gas in the air that needs time to clear out. Lighting it again immediately could result in a fire and serious injuries. Wait for 5 minutes before you try to ignite your gas grill again.

Keep Your Grill Clean

Grilling safety includes making sure that your gas grill stays in good condition. Grease and other debris can build up over time, which can increase the risk of a fire. Clean debris off your grill and from the tray under it. You should wait for your grill to cool before cleaning it. Getting into the habit of doing this after using your grill each time means you won’t have to scrape a lot of debris off later on.

Turn Your Grill Off Properly

When it comes to grilling safety, it’s important to ensure that you turn your grill off the right way. This reduces the risk of injuries and accidents. You’ll need to turn the gas tank off before shutting off the gas burners. Make sure that your propane cylinder valve is fully closed to prevent gas from leaking. With a gas line grill, all you have to do is shut it off without having to deal with any tanks.

If you’re ready to install a gas line for your grilling area, contact Forrest Anderson. We can ensure that this is done properly for your safety.

Should I be concerned about pipes freezing in Phoenix?

Once or twice a year there may be a small risk of pipes freezing in Phoenix. The last winter when temperatures fell below freezing long and far enough to freeze pipes was during the winter of 2010/2011. Since then, just a handful of days have been cold enough to nip the plants, and even fewer to freeze the pipes.

In order for pipes to freeze, the temperatures have to drop below 32 degrees F for a sustained period. Pipes located adjacent to a heated building seldom get that cold, since the heat is always radiating outward, regardless of the insulation levels in the walls.

Pipes Most Likely to Freeze

Irrigation pipes and sometimes swimming pool pipes are the most vulnerable to freezing weather. Outside pipes have greater exposure to cold temperatures. Irrigation pipes lie close to the surface and if there’s water inside them, they can freeze.

Popup sprinkling systems and drippers can and do freeze, but if they’re on a timer and it’s set to “off,” odds are the pipe won’t burst. Once the weather warms, the ice blockages should melt without causing problems.

Evaporative cooler water lines freeze easily in subfreezing temperatures. However, if the water pan is dry and the water supply turned off at the hose, it won’t freeze.

Freeze Warnings

When the National Weather Service issues a freeze warning for the greater Phoenix area or your neighborhood, there’s a possibility for pipes freezing in Phoenix. Although it’s not unusual for temperatures to fall to freezing a few mornings each winter, most of the time the cold doesn’t last long enough.

However, your home may be more vulnerable if it:

  • Sits at higher elevations around the Valley where it’s colder.
  • Lacks adequate insulation in the walls.
  • Has polybutylene plumbing that uses aluminum crimp rings.
  • Uses galvanized pipes as the water service line or throughout the home.

Both polybutylene and galvanized pipes are particularly concerning when a hard freeze is a forecast. Although polybutylene pipes are no longer used and many were replaced thanks to a class-action lawsuit in the 1990s, your home may still have them.

Signs Your Home is Vulnerable

Look for plastic pipes imprinted with PB, or are grey, white, or blue. They are freeze-resistant, but if they’re coupled with aluminum clamps, they may start to leak if they go through the freezing and thawing cycle. The pipes probably won’t burst from the cold alone, but the fittings may loosen, making them leak at the joints. If you don’t catch the leaks right away, the water damage they cause can be as serious as a frozen pipe that breaks.

Galvanized pipes were widely used until the 1960s in Phoenix homes. Over time, the insides of the pipe will corrode. Galvanized pipes freezing in Phoenix are a problem when the loose debris inside the pipes breaks free and plugs the screen on the faucets.

You may notice rusty water coming from the taps, which indicates corrosion inside these pipes. Bits of debris break off that may contain calcium deposits, rust, zinc, or lead particles. Besides bursting from freezing, galvanized pipes can develop leaks from extensive corrosion.

Although pipes freezing in Phoenix are a rare occasion, it can and does occur. If you have any concerns about your plumbing’s vulnerability, contact Forrest Anderson. We provide trusted plumbing services for the greater Phoenix area.

Are You Cooling Off the Neighborhood?

Managing Your A/C Bill in Phoenix

It’s no secret that, during the summer, your A/C bill is going to go up. If you’re noticing a bigger increase than you think is right, then there might be other issues at play and you may need an energy audit.

Could you be radiating cool air to the neighborhood because your home is not as tight as it should be?

The Consequences of Leaking Air

Newer construction usually is a bit more airtight than older homes, so you’re likely to not face this problem if your home was built in the last 10–15 years. Older homes such as your mid-century colonial might have more challenges than you anticipated.

There are a number of places where your home could be leaking air and where you have an opportunity to tighten up your home. The Consumer Energy Center, part of the California Energy Commission, points out these primary air-infiltration locations:graphic showing the typical places where phoenix homes lose their cold air from air conditioning.

  • Floors, walls, and ceilings
  • Plumbing penetrations
  • Ducts
  • Fireplaces
  • Doors
  • Windows
  • Fans and vents
  • Electric outlets

As the Center points out, all of these leak areas could lead to serious energy issues—and resulting costs. For instance, a sixteenth of an inch crack around a window lets out as much cold air as leaving the window open half an inch.

How to Know If Your Phoenix Home Isn’t Tight

There’s a delicate balance when it comes to how air tight a home is. Too open and you’re cooling off the whole neighborhood; too tight and you’re not letting in the fresh air needed for proper circulation.

Curious how your home measures up? Your first step is to schedule an energy audit. A professional auditor will examine your home for leaks, insulation, furnace and ductwork. As well as perform tests for things such as a blower door, and air leaks with an infrared camera.

Benefits of Performing an Energy Audit

After completing your energy audit, you’ll know where your home has issues and what you can do to fix them. Studies show that you can save from 5% to 30% on your energy bills by following the suggestions of your auditor.

Remember not all fixes need to be costly. While some homes will need new doors and windows to be airtight, others just need some minor cracks filled. You won’t know until you work with an energy auditor.

If your monthly electric bill is a little higher than it should be, and you’re minimizing your A/C usage, it might be time to schedule an energy audit.

Contact Forrest Anderson for a referral to one of our trusted energy auditor partners. We’ll come make any upgrades to your air-conditioning system and ductwork once the energy audit is complete. Let’s work together to keep your home cool and not your neighborhood.