Grilling season is here! If you’re like most people, you risk braving the hot summer temps to enjoy some good ol’ barbecue. (We’re definitely those people!) Unfortunately, this popular summertime activity can damage your home if you’re not careful. Since we don’t want you to lose your home or your belongings, we put together four of the most common grilling mistakes that can cost you your home and what’s inside.

Tip #1: Poor Grill Placement

One huge mistake people make when grilling at home is poor grill placement. Bad grill placement can occur with instability, lack of space, or encroaching plants. Grill placement is key to a safe and enjoyable grilling experience.

Make sure your grill is stable. If you’re placing it on patio pavers, ensure that the ground is level and the stones are not rocky; a grill that tips over is dangerous for people, pets, and your home.

Your grill should always be placed at least 10 feet from any structure, including your garage, your house, and even your deck railing. Floating embers can cause a spark very quickly, so ensuring a safe distance is paramount.

When you’re finding the perfect place for your grill, also consider your yard. Keep your grill away from overhanging tree branches that could easily catch fire, especially during the dry, hot summer.

While you’re at it, keep your grill away from kids’ play areas, and always teach them grill safety. It’s important that children and pets stay three feet from the grill at all times in order to avoid bumping into it, causing a burn or causing the grill to topple over.

Tip #2: Leaving it Unattended

A grill always needs a babysitter. Whenever a grill is lit – even if you’re done cooking and waiting for the coals to burn out – someone needs to be watching it. Make sure all your ingredients are prepared before firing up the grill or send someone else to fetch whatever you need.

Tip #3: Being Unprepared for Fire

If you’re cooking with fire, you need to be prepared for unexpected flames. Always have a fire extinguisher handy when grilling (and know how to use it!), and train your family in proper grease fire technique. Never use water to try to put out a grease fire — keep baking soda nearby in addition to your fire extinguisher.

Tip #4: Irregular Cleaning

Cleaning your grill not only makes your food taste better, it also reduces the risk of unexpected fire. Overflowing grease trays are the perfect fuel for a small spark to turn into a huge flame. Clean the grill every single time you use it. Make it a habit now, and you’ll thank yourself later.

While you’re eating that delicious barbecued food, you’ll want some shade, like an awning for your deck. Contact us to schedule a time to discuss your awning and shade needs.