Let’s assume you are having a BBQ party for numerous guest. You wake up the day of the party and you are greeted with nasty weather which includes heavy rain and lightening. You realize that attempting to grill outside is not a viable option.
Many people presented with the scenario above or something similar have wondered if a traditional fuel-burning (i.e. propane, charcoal) grill can be used indoors. It may seem like a simple solution to just bring the grill indoors, but it can be very dangerous to your health and potentially fatal.
Grilling Indoors: A Bad Idea
Carbon monoxide poisoning is the major reason why a traditional grill that burns fuel (i.e. propane gas, charcoal, natural gas) should not be used indoors. When you use a grill outdoors, you benefit from having excellent air circulation. The carbon monoxide floats off in the wind and commonly does not pose a danger to people nearby.
A grill used indoors lacks the air circulation to sufficiently clear out the carbon monoxide. Even if the windows are open and fans are blowing, the concentration of carbon monoxide can be extremely toxic.
When we talk about not using a grill indoors, we also mean areas such as tents, garages, or other enclosed areas. Even if the door is open, there is a risk of carbon monoxide exposure that can be harmful.
There is also the risk of the grill being a fire hazard. Think of someone carelessly placing the grill next to the window curtains and the flames accidentally catching these curtains on fire. This would potentially be a nightmare scenario to say the least.
The typical home has numerous hazards, which makes dragging an outdoor grill to the inside not worth the risk. This is especially true when you factor in the carbon monoxide exposure risk discussed above.
Detecting Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Keep in mind that carbon monoxide commonly does not present warning signs indicating that you are being overexposed to it. It is colorless and odorless making it extremely difficult to detect. The Center for Disease Control indicates that the common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are dizziness, headache, weakness, stomach ache, vomiting, pain in the chest, confusion, and/or flu-like symptoms.
Grills for Indoor Use
There are grills that are designed for indoor use. The typical indoor grill operates off electricity. Since this type of grill does not burn fuel (i.e. coal or propane), it is safe for the typical homeowner to operate indoors. An example of this type of grill is this Hamilton Beach Electric Indoor Grill.
You can also consider using a grill pan, which is a pan with ridges that can be placed on the stove burners. It produces grill marks like an outdoor grill, but you won’t obtain that classic grill taste from the charcoal, wood chips, etc. An example of a grill pan is this Calphalon Nonstick Square Grill Pan.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention
Here are some precautions you can take to reduce your risk of carbon monoxide exposure:
- Carbon Monoxide Detector: A carbon monoxide detector generally works by producing a beeping sound when the gas is detected. The detectors should be placed on each level of the home with an emphasis on sleeping areas and locations where there are fuel-burning appliances (i.e. furnace, stove, water heater). Please view the below video for more on proper placement.
- Yearly Servicing – It is recommended that you have your fuel burning devices serviced annually by a qualified technician. Immediately have the service professional fix any recommended issues that could present problems in the future.
- Check Venting – Routinely check any venting connected to your fuel-burning devices to be sure the vents are not blocked. You always want to encourage proper ventilation for your fuel-burning appliances.
- Avoid Running Car in Garage – It may be convenient to warm the car in the garage, but this can be dangerous even if the garage door is open. This is especially true if you have an attached garage where the carbon monoxide is able to seep indoors.
- Use Devices or Appliances as Intended – Use your fuel-burning appliances or devices for their recommended purposes only. Carefully read product manuals or seek advice from a professional on how to appropriately operate the appliances around your home.