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Summertime: warmer weather, no school for the kids, and barbecues. The scent of charcoal in the air is sufficient to make most people salivate. And once the grill is brought out for the season, for many people, cooking inside becomes a faint memory for a few months.

But with all of the grilling comes an increased fire hazard risk, especially for those with gas grills. The culprit is in the cleaning – many folks simply don’t clean their grills properly; sometimes not at all.

You must clean your barbecue grills before every use. This is true whether you’re using charcoal or gas. Re-using charcoal can cause your fire to build rapidly and larger than you need, so do not do this.

And remember, while bonfires have their place, that place is not in your grill to cook your food! This can pose not only a fire hazard, but can create harmful carcinogens in the food which can in turn harm the bodies of those who ingest them.

When cooking on a gas grill, there are certain distinctive precautions one must take. For instance, cobwebs can be formed in them during storage that might catch on fire and burn the cook.

To avoid this, make sure to clean the grill thoroughly both before putting it up for the season as well as before using it the first time of the season. Another potential hazard is using any type of fluid or paper. This isn’t necessary for these types of grills and can be quite dangerous.

As a habit you should also clean your grill before you begin cooking. You can do this quickly with a grill brush or by simply rubbing balled up aluminum foil over the grates. Any leftover residue from previous use can add fuel to the fire in the form of grease.

Even if you cover your grates with aluminum foil as many people do it’s still necessary to clean them. Aluminum foil does not prevent grease from getting on the grates but just prevents any leftover grease and grime from getting on the food you’re cooking.

Cleaning and maintaining your grill properly will help you avoid any fire hazards or disasters due to a dirty grill. In addition, it can help you create delicious meals on your grill every time you use it!