Do you use your gas grill at least 10 feet away from your house? - Mothering Forums

View Poll Results: Do you use your gas grill at least 10 feet away from your house and is it used on a wooden deck?
Yes (it is at least 10 feet away from our house) 7 100.00%
No (it is within 10 feet of our house) 14 100.00%
Yes (it is used on a wooden deck) 9 100.00%
No (it is not used on a wooden deck) 8 100.00%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 4. You may not vote on this poll

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#1 of 17 Old 03-24-2014, 08:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Do you use your gas grill at least 10 feet away from your house?
AND/OR ... do you use your gas grill on your wooden deck?


DH wants to buy a gas grill (propane tank) and I'm getting anxious because he wants to put it on our wooden deck. The things I've read say NOT to do this but to put grills at least 10 feet away from your house, and DON'T put it onto a wooden deck. He is upset with me for being concerned and says he doesn't want to get one now (I've watched several youtube videos about several homes that burned down from grills too close to the house.)


Our wooden deck is long but narrow, and attached to our house at upper level and then you can go down the wooden steps down to the ground... Our deck measures 7 feet from the house siding to the wooden railing, and the grill he wants to get is 24" deep, which means the grill will sit just 5 feet from our house, (or even closer, if he wants to keep it at least a few inches from the wooden railing behind it)


 Am I being unreasonable for thinking this might be dangerous?  I do suffer from anxiety so I'm hoping others will let me know if I'm worrying too much for nothing. I don't know whether its just me being overly paranoid or whether this is truly a bad idea. Or if some sort of compromise can be made to keep us both happy.


I asked if he could use it in our tiny back yard but he says there are too many mosquitos back there and less bugs on the deck. He also doesn't want to walk through the yard (only a few steps) if its been raining recently and might get his shoes muddy, he just prefers the deck.


 He insists people everywhere are using their gas grills within 10 feet of their house, and we went on a walk recently in our neighborhood and we did see many grills right on their little porch or whatever, attached to their house.. I wasn't sure if they were just stored there for the winter, or if they will actually be used in that location when summer comes.. but regardless what others do, maybe they aren't being safe either and we shouldn't necessarily copy and assume its ok to do?  But most of those houses didn't have wooden decks, they were on porches or structures at ground level also. I didn't actually notice what they all were made from, whether wood or not but I mostly noticed how close the grills were to the house and whether they kept them in yard (far from house) or very close up to their house. We saw many of each, maybe half and half, not sure...


Would you be ok with gas grill on a wooden deck like I describe? Does everyone purposely NOT follow the recommendations about this, and do you knowingly put the grill within 10 feet of your house for whatever reason ? (if so, why?)


  Here are a couple of the videos I watched..

I don't know what to do. DH is very mad at me and thinks I don't want him to have the grill! I actually do want him to have it because he rarely gets anything for himself and I want him to be happy, and not to be mad at me. But I also want to be safe.


So how do we solve this problem and let him use the grill on the deck as he wants to, and quell my anxiety at the same time? Is it possible? Or would this be too risky? What would you do?? HELP!

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#2 of 17 Old 03-24-2014, 08:14 PM
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Ours is on a wooden deck but about 9 feet away from the house itself- we learned the hard way that vinyl siding will warp and/or melt if the grill is any closer. Oops.
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#3 of 17 Old 03-24-2014, 08:17 PM
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Our gas grill is less than 5' from our house on our wood deck. Same for all our neighbors.
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#4 of 17 Old 03-24-2014, 09:23 PM
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Currently we use our grill on our driveway, a couple of feet away from the garage door.


In the past, I've used a grill on a wood deck, and closer than 10 feet from the house, with no issues.  I have seen others melt siding with a SUPER high flame close to the house, but as long as you're aware of what you're doing, I don't think it's a big deal

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#5 of 17 Old 03-24-2014, 09:50 PM
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Ours is not on a timber deck but only because we don't have one. I have no idea how far it is from the walls of the house but it is under the verandah roof. Both my parents and my brother have theirs on a timber deck within 10' of the wall of the house. Neither of them flame though, they are just gas burners, similar to a gas stove, with a plate over the top. As long as you keep the grease catcher clean, I can't see much difference between this and a gas stove.

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#6 of 17 Old 03-25-2014, 02:41 AM
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in the last 15 years since i've been in sunny CA - i have never heard of anyone's gas grill exploding. none of my friends or in any of the neighborhoods i lived in.


'coal' i would be concerned about a bit.


on wood here way less than 10 feet. 

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#7 of 17 Old 03-26-2014, 07:58 PM
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Our grill is about five feet from the house. If I wanted it to be ten feet away it would be on the lawn! I don't have it on a wood porch but wouldn't have a problem with it, we had our grill on our wood porch when I was a kid.
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#8 of 17 Old 03-27-2014, 08:43 PM
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Ours is on our deck close to the house. Our house is brick.  I really don't see how it's any more dangerous than having a gas stove in the house. I wouldn't use a charcoal grill on our deck for fear of sparks and cinders dropping, but the gas grill is pretty self-contained. 


I'm not sure where you're getting the 10 feet figure from. I looked up the manufacturer's instructions for Weber gas grills and they said:

"Combustible materials should never be within 24 inches of the top, bottom, back or sides of your Weber Gas Barbecue."


Maybe a compromise would be to place it two feet away from the house and on top of a non-flammable surface like this grill pad sold at Lowe's: . I'm sure there are many other similar products available, too.

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#9 of 17 Old 03-28-2014, 08:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Wow.. I have to say I'm somewhat surprised but I realize not everyone has a safe place or a backyard to put one that is far enough from the house.

Its on page 2 "Important Safeguards" there is a link to it on the store website,


 ! Do NOT operate, light or use this appliance within ten feet of walls, structures or buildings.


I believe this is the one..  (scroll down to the owners manual)


The "10 feet" is also mentioned in nearly every video or website by fireman, or professionals on gas grill safety tips, its also on following pages:


That last link says "Use the grill at least 25 feet away from your house or any building"   


As for comparison between this and gas stove in kitchen I'm no expert but I think the reason its more risky is because of the propane tank. Also I think natural gas in your house, is not the same, as liquid propane used for the gas grills. They are different. The first video link I gave in my first post showed a house burned from a grill that was 5 feet away... fire caused from excess buildup of grease that ignited, and then melted the gas line... or possibly a loose connection..


Also in that same video it said

"U.S. fire departments respond to about 8,300 home fires involving grills, hibachis, or barbecues each year" (2:30)


That seems like quite a high number, but since we don't know how many gas grills are used each year without fires, we just have to guess how likely or unlikely it is..


We have some things going for us.. we do live close to a fire station, have fire extinguishers, and a hose outside.. still, I can't completely shake the anxiety at knowingly putting it where it specifically states NOT to use it.  For me, its like car seats.. how I can I put my kid in a seat incorrectly when I know the right way to do it? Or use a booster when I have a 5 pt harness I could use instead? Could I live with myself if something happened, and I could have prevented it, but didn't?  At least with the grills, its more the risk of deck or house fire rather than someone getting killed, so thats somewhat reassuring. I guess if we had more money I wouldn't worry so much but we're already struggling and there's not way we can afford a repair of that magnitude (we don't have fire insurance, DH dropped it some years back to try to save money)


Well, it is somewhat reassuring, that, even though this is just a tiny sampling of replies, that in those thus far nobody has had issues :)  

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#10 of 17 Old 03-28-2014, 09:15 AM
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The 25' guideline from comes from police officers. Who would, I assume, have no more expertise on the subject than anyone else.

Most people I know, have their grills within five feet of their houses.
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#11 of 17 Old 03-28-2014, 10:24 AM
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I did a little research for ya. You know what causes most house fires? Cooking on a range or in the oven, not on a grill. More fires are caused annually by cooking in microwaves than are by cooking on outdoor grills! That's not to say that you shouldn't be safe with grills, but I don't think grills are a huge danger. I think a buildup of lint in your dryer vent is more dangerous (truly — big cause of fires).

This is the National Fire Protection Association website which has a lot of data on causes of fires and safety tips. They're the folks who help set the Fire Codes and Standards and the folks behind Sparky the Firedog. 



They do not give a number of feet that a grill should be set away from a house, nor say that it shouldn't be used on a deck. They do give these solid tips:



For gas grill injuries, about a third were burns that stemmed from lighting the grill, while gasoline or lighter fluid was a factor in about a quarter of charcoal or wood burning grill burns.

NFPA offers the following grilling safety tips:

  • Only use propane and charcoal grills outside of the home – never use them indoors
  • Make sure the grill is positioned well away from the home and/or deck railings, and that it is not underneath any eaves or overhanging branches. It should also be far from any lawn games, play areas, or foot traffic.
  • Establish a child- and pet-free zone around the grill of at least three feet.
  • Use grilling tools that have long handles, which will allow more clearance from the flames.
  • Remember to clean fat and grease off the grill and from trays underneath it regularly in order to reduce the risk of it igniting.
  • Never leave the grill unattended.

Gas grills

  • Before using the grill for the first time each year, check the gas tank hose for leaks. To do this, apply a light soap and water solution to the hose and turn the tank on. If the hose releases bubbles, this indicates a propane leak. If you find a leak:
    •  turn the gas tank off.
    • if the leak stops, bring your grill to a professional to be serviced before further use.
    •  if the leak does not stop, call the fire department.
  • If you smell gas while using the grill, get away from the grill immediately and call the fire department.
  • Do not store propane tanks indoors in houses or garages. If storing your grill indoors during the winter months, disconnect the cylinder and leave it outside.
  • Only use equipment bearing the label of a recognized testing laboratory. Use the manufacturer’s instructions regarding assembly, use, and proper care of the grill.


Instead of asking us internet people, why don't you go by your local fire department and ask them? Seriously, they're usually very nice people and often do carseat checks. I'm sure they would be happy to offer you some advice about where to put the grill and then you'd either have some solid back-up for your feeling that the grill should be in the back yard or you'd feel reassured that the professionals said it was okay to put it on the deck. My thought is that they would probably tell you that off the deck would be safest, but would offer you some good tips (like the ones above) about how you can make having it on your deck safer. Truly, cooking on your stove in your house is a more likely cause of fire and burns.


I wanted to add, I have been where you are now. We remodeled our kitchen a few years ago and DH got us a propane grill to use outside as an outdoor stove while the indoor stove was out of commission. He wanted to put it on the deck and initially I had some trepidation about that, but came to the conclusion that it would be okay.


The thing is we can't do the very safest thing all the time. You know that it's safe to have your child in a car seat. You might know that it's safer to have them rear-facing longer. Do you know that it's also safer for adults to have 5-point seatbelt harnesses? They do make these (off-roaders and racer use them) and you can get them put in your car, but most people don't go that far. You have to make some compromises and not let the anxiety get to you. 


I think it's entirely reasonable to research how to use the grill safely and take appropriate safety precautions, but, personally, I no longer have any problem having our grill on our deck or having it close to our house. We don't leave it unattended with the hood open and really I am fine with it.

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#12 of 17 Old 03-28-2014, 11:52 AM
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Currently, yes, ours is more than 10 ft and it isn't on wood.  However, we also usually use our charcoal grill instead of our gas one. 


I did want to let you know though, that when we lived in a small apartment complex we had a porch that was ridiculously small (maybe 4ft x 6ft).  The rule there was gas grills only.  We bought a small gas grill and used it all the time.  Just about every unit had people that had a gas grill.  There has never been a fire there--these apartments have been standing for at least 25 years now.  


I wouldn't worry about it if I were you.  I would be more concerned with teaching any littles around to treat it as if it is hot (all the time, not just when they think it is hot). 



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#13 of 17 Old 03-28-2014, 12:06 PM
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I'm not trying to hit you over the head with facts and figures, but sometimes knowing the numbers helps me when I'm feeling anxiety about something. Weber Grills does an annual GrillWatch survey which is quoted in a lot of media (although several articles I read didn't interpret the facts quite right). Weber says:




■ Sixty-two percent of Americans own an outdoor barbecue grill. The majority of grill owners

own a gas model (63 percent); 51 percent own a charcoal grill.

■ Nearly one-half of grill owners (48 percent) fire up their grill year-round. Thirty-three percent

use their grill when it’s below freezing.

■ About one-quarter (24 percent) of grill owners agree that it would come in handy at times to

be able to remove their grill’s side tables.

■ The number one accessory owned by grillers is tongs (80 percent), 40 percent of grill

owners own a thermometer, 41 percent own grilling mitts or gloves, 18 percent own a cast

iron griddle, and 12 percent own a rib rack.

■ The Fourth of July is the most popular holiday of the year for grilling, with 86 percent of grill

owners firing up the grill; followed by Labor Day (75 percent); birthdays (72 percent);

Memorial Day (68 percent); and Father’s Day (49 percent).

■ Camping remains the most popular place to grill away from home (44 percent); followed by

parks (37 percent); the beach (23 percent); and tailgate parties (22 percent).


So if 62% of Americans own a grill that would most likely be 62% of 132,452,405 US households (census data) because while there might be some households that have more than one grill we'll just go with 1 per couple and not each adult in the house having their own personal grill. So that would be 82,120,491 households in the US with a grill. Of that number, Weber says 86% grill on the 4th of July, which would be roughly 70,000,000 households, so we could use that number to weed out any folks who have a grill stored in their garage, but aren't using it. Using the data that you found and noted above there are about 8,300 fires involving grills each year. That would be a little less than 0.014% of households in the US involved in a fire caused by a grill. 


To futher put that in context there were 366,600 house fires in the US, which would be about 0.3% of homes in the US, with 2,640 fatalities. In contrast there we 10,800,000 car accidents in 2009 and 33,561 car accident fatalities in 2012.


I hope having the numbers to put it in context helps a little bit. I think the thing with gas grills is, on the rare occasion that they do fail, the propane tank can explode (similar to a natural gas line explosion or a car's gas tank exploding). It's pretty spectacular, but it's really very uncommon, and there are several easy safety tips you can take such as checking the line regularly to prevent it.

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#14 of 17 Old 03-30-2014, 09:28 AM
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When we lived close to my mom we used her grill a lot and they kept it right next to the house, but we would pull it out into the yard to use it.  It was at least 15 feet away from the house. 
We have a charcoal grill and it is about 5 feet from the house when we use it on a cement patio.

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#15 of 17 Old 03-30-2014, 08:30 PM
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Ours is on our cement patio within 10 feet of the house. But our grill is also natural gas, so there's no risk of a tank exploding. When I grill, I monitor it frequently.

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#16 of 17 Old 04-01-2014, 07:55 AM
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On a wooden deck, and about 8 feet from the wooden house. I use a small, cheap charcoal grill, and feel pretty confident that it is not a major fire risk. I pretty much stay outside with it when in use. A garden hose is nearby in case of fire, but have never needed to use it.

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#17 of 17 Old 04-18-2014, 11:22 AM
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Get a fire extinguisher.
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