Most people underestimate how important it is to position your BBQ appropriately in your backyard. Not only is it a huge safety issue, but also a functionality one. BBQs need adequate airflow and ventilation to work, whether it is built into a cabinet or not. At the end of the day, BBQs are designed 100% for outdoor use only, but there is a few different interpretations as to what constitutes an outdoor area.
All our houses are built differently and some may have a large open outdoor area with no walls or enclosures at all, whereas some can have complicated alfresco and patio areas with different walls, roofs, windows and doors. Let's have a look at a few examples that are acceptable for use with a BBQ.
An enclosure is okay, but it must have at least 50% of the total wall area open. As figures 2 and 3 show, you can have a roof and two walls, no matter what side they are on, as long as the other two are completely open.
You can also have a three-walled enclosure, but if so, it is required to have that fourth wall be completely open and unrestricted, as well as 30% of the remaining walls being open. This means you need some sort of window or open slot through the wall to let air in and out. The figures below shows this.
Lastly, it is possible to have an enclosure with all four walls, but it would need to have no roof. Probably not the most common backyard setup but it is doable. This is not recommended by Heatlie though as you need to keep your BBQ under cover from the weather at all times.
For those with balconies, you need 20% of the total side, back and front wall areas to be open. This allows you to have an enclosed balcony on either side, with a balustrade that is the appropriate height. Please note that opening your back door that leads into your house or apartment does not count as an opening.
What makes an Opening?
Openings must be of a permanent and natural nature. This means doors, blinds and windows don't count. The opening can not have the ability to be closed at any point.
You also CAN NOT utilise appliances like fans and air conditioners as a substitute for natural openings. These do not provide the right kind of ventilation and airflow that is required.
The above applies to both our freestanding BBQs and Island Gourmets, as well as Snappy Kings and Roasters. Island Gourmet Elites are installed into outdoor kitchen cabinets, meaning they also need appropriate ventilation from their cabinet on top of the above requirements. The ventilation needed is 400cm squared between the BBQ cabinet and open air. This also needs to be separately ventilated from any LPG gas bottle.
Why do these restrictions exist?
It's simple really, there are two reasons. Reason number one is that BBQs need air to breathe. The way a BBQ lights is by drawing air from its surroundings to create a flame. Putting a BBQ in an enclosed room basically means it won't light, or it might start to begin with but it will go out fairly soon once it is starved of air.
The second reason is safety. BBQs and the gas bottles and lines they are connected to are prone to gas leaks. Especially in old BBQs and bottles, small fittings can be loose and run down, and all it takes is a small gap and the gas can begin to escape. If you had a build-up of the gas in an enclosed room, the second you go to light that BBQ, the whole room will probably blow up in flames. Gas is nothing to mess with.
The first thing they always tell you to do if you have a gas leak is to ventilate the area well. If you're in an appropriately ventilated area like one in the above diagrams, then the risk of a safety issue is far less. However, if a gas leak is apparent you still need to follow appropriate safety precautions.
Upon the purchase of any Heatlie Barbecue, you will receive an instruction manual that details these restrictions. Always hang on to this and keep it handy for reference. If you're unsure you can always give us a call and we will be happy to help out.