No one likes to see the end of summer and it’s okay to try to hang on to it as long as possible. Just don’t do it by trying to bring some outdoor summer activities inside when the weather gets cold. When you do, you can end up with serious property damage, injuries or worse.
There is a reason appliances and gear designed to be used outside need to stay outside. The great outdoors is fully ventilated, for one thing, and improper indoor use of certain appliances can allow harmful gasses to build up in your home. Outdoor appliances that rely on open flames or produce extreme heat can ignite fires if used in enclosed spaces. Here are five things that should never be used inside.
It could be tempting to think that just because people have propane stoves in their kitchen, there is nothing wrong with wheeling a gas grill inside for a barbeque. Don’t do it. Unlike a gas-powered stove, a gas grill is not insulated. A grill can put out enough heat to melt nearby plastic walls or ignite wood siding if it’s close enough.
A typical kitchen has a vent directly over the gas stove. That means any smoke, fumes or carbon monoxide will go out that vent. A grill set up in the middle of a room, on the other hand, will release all those into the surrounding area and possibly create a deadly buildup of carbon monoxide. Not to mention the odor build up from smoke and cooking armomas.
Thanksgiving is on the way and a popular method of cooking the holiday turkey is deep frying it in oil. Fans of the process say it produces the most flavorful and tender bird possible. But if you are thinking of deep frying your holiday main course this year, make sure you have a place outside to do it — and even then you still need to be really cautious.
Just like the name suggests, deep fried turkeys are fried. And it takes a lot of super heated oil to properly cook a whole turkey. There is always a risk of getting severely burned if heated oil spills out of the fryer or the entire unit tips over. Even a small amount of oil escaping from the fryer can ignite and cause a fire if it comes into contact with the fryer’s burner. That oil can also catch fire if it’s allowed to get too hot when it reaches 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Speaking of heat, the lid, sides and handles of the cooking pot get really hot and can cause severe burns if touched or brushed up against by bare skin, which can be a real risk indoors if there is a crowd of people milling around a small area.
Smoking meat is a great way to preserve food, but if you’re going to do it inside make sure you have an indoor smoker. Using outdoor electric or wood-fired smokers is both a fire hazard and potentially fatal.
Smoke that escapes from a smoker is a nice aroma when you are outside. Inside, it’s going to seep into your furniture, curtains and carpets. After a while your whole house is going to smell like smoke for a long time. Too much smoke buildup inside can overwhelm you and make it hard to breathe.
Smokers — even electric ones — use wood chips to produce the smoke. The burning wood produces carbon monoxide, which can build up to deadly levels inside. Those burning wood chips are also very real fire hazards when used indoors.
When the power goes out, generators are a handy thing to have. But they should never be fired up inside, or even close to your house. That’s because along with producing electricity, they produce high levels of carbon monoxide. In fact, they produce so much of this deadly gas, you should always place your generator away from windows, doors, vents and crawl spaces. There is no way to provide enough ventilation inside your house to safely use your generator indoors. The weather is often at its worst when you need a generator, but you are far better off bundling up and going outside to turn it on to run than bringing it inside.
Surplus gasoline, diesel, heating oil or propane
There are a lot of things around your house and garage that run on gas or liquid fuel. Lawn mowers, chainsaws, snowmobiles, weed-wackers, heaters and vehicles all have fuel tanks and, when parked for the season, likely hold unused fuel. All of this fuel poses potential threats if not stored properly. Never store any of these things in your house.
Leaks of liquid fuel or gas are fire hazards that can be ignited by the tiniest of sparks or flames. They also produce deadly gasses, including carbon monoxide. Storing these items in a garage is safe, when done properly. But that space should be well ventilated and you should always inspect for leaks and clean up any spilled gas.
Making sure you use outdoor appliances and equipment safely and properly not only prevents damaging your home, it helps make sure you are around to enjoy them when the weather warms up next spring.