When my husband and I first decided to go with a natural gas grill that hooked up directly to our home gas system, we were thrilled to say farewell to propane canisters and the hassle of refilling them. But a 600° overnight mistake has me wondering if it was such a great idea.
We had family visiting and,after enjoying a delicious steak dinner, my husband, the grill master, failed to turn off the grill. This was after he had turned it up to high to burn off the steak remnants left on the grill.
The next morning as we readied for a day of boating, my sister-in-law went outside to retrieve something and made the discovery. The grill was so hot the siding on our house behind it was melting.
I shudder to think what might have happened if she hadn’t gone out there and we had left the grill on all day long . We might have had a serious fire with our pet dog and cat at home to face it alone. So, what are the pros and cons of connecting a grill to your natural gas line?
Advantages of natural gas grilling
- You’ll never run out of fuel -- even during your biggest barbecue (unless you forget to pay the gas company).
- Natural gas is less expensive than propane.
- You no longer have to lug heavy propane tanks back and forth for filling.
- Natural gas is classified as a greenhouse gas, so it’s environmentally friendly.
Disadvantages of natural gas grilling
- The location of your grill is fixed, so you won’t be able to move it.
- Professional installation is required, and the initial cost of the gas plumbing can be expensive.
- Natural gas grills are more expensive than propane grills.
What to know before you go for it
If you decide to go with a natural gas grill connected to your home gas system, there are some things you should know before you make your grill purchase.
First, natural gas grills and propane grills are not the same thing, so be sure to shop for the right type.
Some areas require a permit. If you live in a community that has a homeowners’ association, certain types of grills may be subject to restrictions. So you’ll want to check on these things. Hopefully your locale only requires that you install a quick connect shut-off valve at the house.
Speaking of the installation, there are a couple of different methods of hooking up your grill to the gas line. The safest is with a gas plug safety quick disconnect. Your best bet is to hire a natural gas plumber to do this for you.
Time to (safely) fire up the grill
According to a study by the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, 62 percent of Americans will fire up the grill for a Labor Day cookout. Regardless of your fuel source, be sure to follow these grill safety tips from the National Fire Protection Association:
- Only grill outdoors—don’t move the grill into the garage or on the porch when it rains.
- Position the grill well away from the house and deck railings and out from under eaves.
- Keep children and pets away from the grill area.
- Keep your grill clean, removing grease buildup from the grills and the trays below.
- Never leave a hot grill unattended.
- Turn off the supply of gas to the grill when it’s not in use.
And one final safety tip, learned the (almost) hard way: Be sure your home’s grill master turns the grill off before presenting his or her delicious char-grilled fare!