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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.

7 tips you need to know before installing an outdoor fire pit

Warm evenings are great for gathering around an outdoor fire pit for quality time with family and friends. Whether you want to unwind with friends at the end of a long week or sing campfire songs and roast s’mores with your family, a gas line fire pit offers a convenient way to do so. Before you have one installed, keep the following information in mind about outdoor fire pits.

Consider Your Budget

You don’t want to go over your budget for your outdoor fire pit. To avoid spending too much, compare costs and decide what features your fire pit should have. Keep in mind that size and material can affect the overall cost. Adding seating to your fire pit setting will also cost you more, so factor that in as well.

Think About Location

If you plan on having a permanent outdoor fire pit installed, rather than a portable one, decide where it should go. You’ll need to keep it a reasonable distance away from your home and other flammable places, such as storage sheds. A gas line outdoor fire pit needs to be in a location that allows it to be easily connected to a natural gas source.

Decide Between Gas or Wood

Wood and gas are common types of outdoor fire pits. Which one should you go with? Wood fire pits give off a more campfire-like smell, but they are also more dangerous. Some logs can spark or smoke easily, resulting in a fire hazard. A gas line outdoor fire pit offers a more convenient and safer way to have a fire burning in your yard.

Choose a Surface for It

What kind of surface should your outdoor fire pit go on? There are several options to consider, such as brick, concrete and slate. Permanent fire pits are sometimes placed on gravel if you’re looking for a simple setup. You should avoid having your fire pit placed on a wood surface, such as a wood deck, since this creates a higher risk of a fire.

Determine the Size You Need

How big does your outdoor fire pit need to be? This depends on how many people are likely to be sitting around it on a regular basis. You’ll need a larger one if you have a bigger family or if you plan on having a bunch of friends over regularly during the summer. Otherwise, you can plan on having a smaller one installed. No matter what size you need, gas line fire pits are available in a wide range.

Consider Convenience

If you’ll be using your outdoor fire pit often, make sure it won’t be difficult or inconvenient to do so. Wood fire pits require you to store a steady supply of wood in your yard. Gas line fire pits provide greater convenience for regular use since you just have to switch your fire pit on when you want to use it.

Think About the Installation Process

How difficult is it to have a fire pit installed? If you choose to have a gas line outdoor fire pit installed, leave this to the professionals. This ensures that your fire pit’s gas line is connected safely and properly.

If you’re thinking of having a gas line outdoor fire pit installed at your Arizona home, contact Forrest Anderson for more information.

Charcoal vs. Gas vs. Propane grill

When it comes to grilling, every backyard expert has an opinion on which fuel is best. Ask enough people, however, and you’ll soon learn that there is truly not a definitive answer. Whether it’s natural gas, charcoal or a propane grill, each method has its loyal legion. It’s an argument almost as old as time.

Charcoal aficionados will tell you there’s no way they’d ever cook with gas. Propane and gas cookers scoff at the perception of wasted effort by charcoal grillers. The truth is, both are right. There’s no right or wrong way to cook with fire, just different methods.

Charcoal Grilling

Charcoal grillers rest their argument on one main principle: the increased taste from the smoke that charcoal imparts on the meat. Meat drippings are also vaporized and re-introduced to the meat’s surface when hitting flame; something that doesn’t happen with natural gas or propane.

Those that prefer cooking with a different fuel point to a couple big differences between charcoal grilling and gas or propane grilling. Controlling the heat of a charcoal grill presents something of a learning curve. It can be done, but it takes time to master 2-zone grilling and dial in the dampers to control the flame just right. Do that, and you’ll have a fire that burns hotter than propane or natural gas.

It’s also important to perfect the technique of getting the coals going. Relying on starter fluid to get a stack of briquets going can be tricky. Use too much fluid, and your food will develop an unpleasant taste.

Propane Grilling

Grilling with propane may not impart the same flavor profile as a charcoal grill, but it offers a number of other advantages that some grillers go for.

Propane grilling is a much quicker process for a number of reasons. It gets hotter quicker, allowing you to spend less time tending the grill. It’s also much easier to control heat levels accurately.

Propane grills offer a bit more portability than natural gas grills and therefore are a bit more popular. Propane grills come with more features like side burners.

Natural Gas Grilling

While natural gas grills are not as common, it’s becoming more and more popular. Matters of convenience, cost and environmental impact lead many homeowners to install natural gas grills in their backyard.

Natural gas grills are typically attached to a fixed gas line that’s installed by a professional. Portability is not a factor with natural gas grills. Since a natural gas grill has an always-on, always-accessible fuel source, however, it offers a distinct advantage over propane grills, which run off tanks that need to be refilled. Natural gas grills can also be used to cook over a large area, just like propane, giving both gasses an advantage over charcoal.

Recently, natural gas grills have been gaining popularity for another reason. It’s a cleaner-burning fuel than propane, meaning it’s better for the environment. Natural gas is also a cheaper fuel.

For those who would like to experience a streamlined, no-hassle backyard grilling experience, natural gas grills are truly the way to go. When you decide to make the move to natural gas, call on our professional team at Forrest Anderson to install your gas line. We’ve been servicing the heating, cooling and plumbing needs of the greater Phoenix area since 1961.

5 mistakes to avoid when installing a grill gas line

Having your own backyard grill means you can enjoy barbecued meals whenever you want. Installing your dream grill is an opportunity that usually only comes once in a lifetime, so it’s important to make sure you get everything right. While the convenience of a gas line grill means you don’t have to run out to the store to buy charcoal or a propane tank, there are some details to consider before installing one. Keep the following mistakes in mind while planning for your gas line.

Mistake #1: Going Over Budget

When planning for your gas grill, stick to your budget. Compared to a charcoal grill, a gas line adds additional expenses for installation, parts, and equipment. This is in addition to the cost of the actual grill. Once you start using your gas line grill, you may notice a slight increase in your gas bill if you use it frequently. However, you won’t need to buy charcoal or propane. Making a note of all of these expenses can help you stay within your budget.

Mistake #2: Incorrect Grill Positioning

You want your new grill to be accessible and make sense with the flow of your backyard. However, you may be limited by the location of the gas line and other concerns. For safety reasons, your grill should be a good distance away from the exterior of your home. Gas line requirements may vary and should be reviewed carefully.

In order to work safely and efficiently, the line needs to be properly installed. An experienced professional will be able to review your yard and suggest the best location.

Mistake #3: Ignoring Permit Requirements

In some areas, homeowners need to have a permit to install gas lines. If you skip this step, you could end up with fines and project delays. You may also need to schedule an inspection to make sure your installation was done safely and up to code.

Mistake #4: Failing to Review Local Restrictions

Local building codes and homeowners’ associations (HOA) sometimes have rules and restrictions regarding gas line installations. It’s common to have rules about the distance a line is from structures. Additionally, some HOAs may prohibit certain types of grills. Failing to adhere to the codes and restrictions is dangerous and could lead to fines or delay the future sale of your home.

Reviewing local codes and HOA rules helps ensure your grill set up is safe for your family, neighbors, and anyone visiting your home. This helps keep you and your community protected from natural gas accidents.

Mistake #5: Installing the Grill Gas Line Yourself

While it’s possible to install grill gas lines on your own, this is not recommended. Making mistakes with natural gas can lead to serious risks, such as explosions. Even a simple error can end up costing you more money if it needs to be corrected. Connecting gas lines requires special tools, parts, and supplies to successfully install your grill. Accepting expert help is critical to the safety of your loved ones and your home.

Licensed and professional plumbers have the knowledge needed and the right equipment to install grill gas lines. This helps to ensure you have a gas connection that is properly installed for your grill, which lowers the risk of injuries or damage.

In order to save you time, money, and nerves, leave gas line work to the professionals. Contact Forrest Anderson to discuss your backyard gas grill BBQ dreams.

Common gas fireplace problems

Due to the nature of gas being dangerous, we don’t recommend you repair gas fireplace problems on your own. Fixing your gas fireplace problems on your own is very dangerous, gas can be deadly, so please call us if you need help. When working with natural gas, it’s often best to leave it to the professionals at Forrest Anderson.

Here are some common gas fireplace problems we see.

The Underlying Piping

If there is no ignition or if you smell something that you believe may be natural gas, this is not one of the gas fireplace problems you should attempt to fix on your own. Identifying natural gas is easy because it smells of sulfur or “rotten eggs.” If you see obstructions in the piping, they can cause little or no flow of gas. If there is an odor, immediately deactivate the valve and vent your home. Then call the professionals at Forrest Anderson Plumbing & Air Conditioning.

Gas Valve

If there is no ignition and you do not smell any natural gas, the problem may be as simple as a closed gas valve. You can usually identify if the valve is open because the handle will be in line with the pipe. Most modern valves are 90-degree valves, which means opening and closing them is done with a simple quarter turn.

Thermopile

A thermopile is a modern type of sensor that generates the voltage necessary to ignite the natural gas. This is similar to the spark plugs in a car’s engine. If the burner is sluggish, or if it does not ignite at all, your thermopile may not be providing enough electricity due to an issue with the wiring. Loose wiring, wiring of insufficient size, or wiring that is damaged may be the cause.

Thermocouple

In older systems, a thermocouple is a simple metal rod between the gas valve and burning pilot flame. When there is a need to ignite the gas, the thermocouple is the go-to part. In many cases, if the thermocouple is the source of a problem, it may need to be positioned correctly or replaced.

Burner

The burner consists of a set of circuitry with a set level of voltage, a pilot light orifice, and a set of burner jets. In some cases, the burner may simply have a bad thermostat setting or a dirty pilot light orifice. In other cases, dirt build-up may have gotten into the burner jets, and cleaning them may be the solution. Cleaning the burners is the general response if there is a roaring sound.

Sounds From the Blower

In some cases, your gas fireplace may emit bizarre sounds. The system can rumble, it can roar, or it can even grind or shriek. The blower may need replacement if there are sounds like grinding or shrieks.

Soot Build-up

If there is an abundance of soot built up, air flow may be the problem. You may need less gas flow and more air flow. There may be a mixing valve on your fireplace or a vent to allow in more air. Doing this every so often produces a bluish flame, but tends to remove the soot.

Pilot Light

In many kinds of gas fireplaces, the system does not require any electricity to ignite. However, the pilot light going out will cause the fireplace to stop igniting. You can easily relight the pilot if this happens.

Still, Have Gas Fireplace Problems?

At Forrest Anderson, we don’t service the actual fireplace. We’re often called where there is an underlying gas issue, or you want to run new gas lines. If you need assistance with gas lines or valves, call Forrest Anderson Plumbing & Air Conditioning.

 

Converting an Electric Stove to Gas

Besides the favorable cost of natural gas, there are good reasons for converting an electric stove to gas in the Phoenix area. Homeowners who convert, do so to save money on energy or may prefer cooking with gas.

The good news is that it’s possible to make the switch from electric to gas without a lot of hassle. If you have gas appliances already or the homebuilder stubbed out a gas line behind your electric stove, time and expenses will be minimal.

Considerations

Before rushing out to buy a gas stove, determine whether you have gas in your home or near your property. If you don’t have either, call Southwest Gas at 877-860-6020. They’ll be able to tell you whether you have service to your home or neighborhood.

When it’s available within a reasonable distance of your home, Southwest Gas will be able to run a gas line to your property. They will charge a fee based on the distance from the closest available line to your yard.

If Southwest Gas doesn’t provide services to your neighborhood or masterplanned community, converting an electric stove to gas is still possible within the realm of financial feasibility. Natural gas and propane are related fuels, and propane is widely available in the Phoenix area. You’ll need a propane conversion kit, a tank and line to the stove.

How It’s Done

You’ll need an electrician and a licensed plumber for converting an electric stove to gas. The electrician has to change the electrical outlet behind the stove from 240 volts to 110 volts. All gas stoves require some electricity and their plugs won’t fit into a 240-volt outlet.

A licensed plumber knows how to handle gas lines so that they don’t pose any risk for leakage. Besides selecting the right pipe based on building codes, the plumber has to make flawless connections.

If gas isn’t nearby, you can use propane in lieu of natural gas. You’ll probably need a permit from the city or county, and a licensed plumber to install the tank and run the line. All jurisdictions have requirements for tank placement and line installation. Your contractor will be able to help you with all of the details.

Reasons for Converting an Electric Stove to Gas

  • Gas costs much less per unit of energy it provides than electricity, so much so that APS and SRP use gas to generate electricity.
  • The price of gas doesn’t change from one season to another. SRP and APS raise the electric rates for six of the hottest months here. Cooking with gas in the summer costs less than cooking with electricity.
  • Gas stoves cool down instantly. The last thing homeowners want in their homes in the summer is more heat to pay to get rid of. An electric stove burner takes time to heat up and time to cool down. Converting an electric stove to gas gives you instant heat when you need it. The moment the burner is off, it stops creating heat.
  • Even though it costs to convert, over time, the lower cooling costs and the incentive to cook at home will offset the switch from electric to gas.
  • Foodies know the benefits of converting an electric stove to gas. Temperature control is instant and precise with gas, which gives you the ability to master any recipe. You can also expand your cooking repertoire with a gas stove because it uses flames and has a wide heat range.

In the Phoenix area, converting an electric stove to gas can make personal and financial sense. If you’re ready to run a gas line to your new kitchen or stove, contact Forrest Anderson today.