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Unsafe gas barbecues and associated connections can cause fires, injuries and damage to property. By carrying out a few simple safety checks you can enjoy your barbecue and keep yourself, your home and other people safe.
Make sure your barbecue is safety certified
Before buying or using a barbecue, ensure the barbecue, hose and regulator are labelled as safety certified for use in Australia.
Safety checks for using a barbecue
- Always use your barbecue according to the manufacturer's instructions and warning labels.
- Understand how to check that your LPG cylinder is in date and certified as safe to use, and how to dispose of it correctly if it is no longer safe.
- Before using a barbecue, always check the hose is not cracked, kinked, crushed or stretched. When not in use, protect the hose from heat, sun exposure and physical damage. It is good practice to replace the hose every five years.
- Check that the regulator and hose are connected tightly to the cylinder and the barbecue so there are no leaks. Using a soapy water solution, spray the connection joint. If bubbles appear, there is a leak. Tighten if necessary and then retest. If bubbles still appear, immediately isolate the gas and have the fault repaired by a licensed gas fitter, or replace the faulty component.
- Make sure the drip tray and grills are clean of grease and oil (which will help to prevent a fire), the burners are not blocked, and the control knobs are not seized.
- Only use your barbecue in a well ventilated area and never use it indoors.
- When you’ve finished using the barbecue, turn the gas off at both the cylinder and barbecue. Turning off the cylinder first is the safer method, as it allows gas in the pipe to burn off rather than trapping it between the cylinder and the barbecue.
- Make sure children are kept a safe distance away from barbecues and LPG cylinders.
- Have your barbecue checked every two years by a licensed gas fitter, who can repair or replace any worn parts and sure the barbecue is operating safely and efficiently.
Find out the safety checks you can do to ensure your barbecue and LPG cylinder are safe to use.
Bushfire risks from outdoor gas appliances
Outdoor gas appliances such as gas barbecues have the potential to start bushfires. See Bushfire safety for more information.
Do not use gas appliances where there is a lot of dry fuel nearby (eg grass, twigs, paper) as it could start a fire. The CFS website has information on what you can and can't do during fire danger season and on total fire ban days.
Barbecue safety television news coverage
If you want to install a fixed barbecue in an outdoor entertaining area, make sure you hire a licensed gas fitter to undertake any work related to the gas installation, and get a certificate of compliance from the gas fitter for the work done.
Do it yourself LPG barbecue trailers
Do it yourself barbecue trailers are often poorly designed and have not been tested or safety certified for use in Australia. It is illegal to sell or hire out uncertified gas appliances in Australia.
It’s impossible to tell if a gas appliance is safe just by looking at it. Uncertified appliances may be dangerous and can put you and others at risk of injury if used. Extensive testing is required to establish gas appliance safety and these tests must be carried out by an authorised laboratory to the required Australian Standards.
For your safety, do not build your own barbecue trailer – consider alternatives instead. Securely mounting two certified gas barbecues on a trailer, for example, will safely do the same job.
Don't use outdoor gas appliances indoors
Outdoor gas appliances, such as barbecues, camping stoves and patio heaters are designed for use in highly ventilated areas. When gas doesn’t burn properly, it produces toxic gases (eg carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides) that are poisonous and can kill you. Using outdoor gas appliances indoors or in a confined space with limited ventilation is very dangerous, but using them correctly outdoors means the toxic gases will vent away quickly and safely.
If a gas appliance has been marked for outdoor use only, do not use it indoors or in partially-enclosed areas without adequate ventilation. Look for a warning label on the appliance or check the manufacturer’s instructions for more information.
The Building Ideas television program, produced by the Master Builders Association of South Australia and featured on Channel 9, featured a segment on using gas appliances safely for outdoor entertaining.