Proper Ventilation Requirements For Your Patio Grill's Propane Tank Enclosure

9 minute read | Grills

PGS propane grills from AEI Corporation are phenomenal outdoor cooking machines suited for anything from grilling burgers to turning a chicken on a rotisserie. They allow every backyard chef to showcase their culinary skills while exploiting all of the superbly crafted grill’s capabilities. And while they’re showing off their food preparation talents, these grillmeisters can be completely confident of the patio grill’s safety.

That’s because PGS patio grills, along with the grill stands and grill islands that PGS sells to accompany them, are engineered to provide the propane tank isolation and ventilation that meets the highest consumer safety standards. When you purchase one of these grills with its compatible stand or island, you can set up your outdoor kitchen and start cranking out delicacies for your family and friends without worrying about mishaps from improper tank installation.

However, if you build a custom outdoor countertop – for example, if you install your propane grill on a masonry countertop – it’s a different story. In this case, you as the installer are responsible for taking care of these issues. There is a new ANSI standard, going into effect September of 2024, that specifies revised construction requirements for liquid propane enclosures. It’s particularly important for apartment and condominium residents and managers, where built-in patio grills in a common area are often put in place as an amenity to attract residents.

PGS is concerned for your safety, whether you use our out-of-the-box installation solution or whether to put your craftsmanship to work in building your own grill setup. That’s why we’ve updated our owners manuals with detailed instructions on how to complete a safe installation. For the liquid propane patio grills built in custom outdoor countertops, we’ve refined the specifications for proper ventilation to conform to the latest safety guidelines.

The Propane Tank Enclosure

The liquid propane tank enclosure is, as the name implies, the space that holds the fuel tank for the grill. In most cases, it is located directly under the grill. In all cases, the tank full of flammable propane has to be isolated from the heat generated by the grill burners, flames, foreign materials (like hot drippings), and the compartment where air for combustion is drawn. Propane tank enclosures also need to be ventilated properly, both at the upper level and the lower level of the tank enclosure.

If the enclosure is not correctly ventilated, heat being transferred from the burning grill could seep into the enclosure and build up. Heat build up from improper ventilation could damage the fuel hose or even the liquid propane cylinder itself. When the unit is appropriately ventilated, potentially dangerous heat escapes from the enclosure. The grillmaster can focus full attention on flipping the burgers at the ideal time while keeping up a sociable chat with the neighbors. They don’t have to be concerned about what’s going on under the grilling surface.

Isolation Requirements

The propane tank must be safely shielded from the burner and from the area from which the combustion air is drawn. The only openings allowed between the two are for the gas line and for other service conduits such as water, electricity, and waste.

There are several reasons for this requirement:

  • There needs to be shielding from radiation.
  • There must be a flame barrier between the burner and the tank.
  • The tank must be protected from foreign material falling down upon it. The most likely substance to worry about is hot drippings from those sizzling steaks.
  • When a grill is built in, there must be a barrier between the enclosure and the compartment from which the grill draws air for combustion.

There can be small openings in the barrier between the tank and the grill, but there are specific rules about what these openings can be used for and how large they are allowed to be.

  • The gas supply conduit is required to have less than ¼ inch (or 6.4 mm) clearance for routing the conduit. In addition, it has to be a level above the top of the propane cylinder.
  • There may be other service conduits for such things as water, waste, and electricity. In these cases, there also has to be less than ¼ inch (or 6.4 mm) clearance for routing the conduit. The opening does not have to be located at a level above the tank, but, if it is located elsewhere, the opening must be sealed around the conduit.

When you buy a ready-made PGS grill stand or grill island, all of these specifications are met for you by the way the unit is designed and built. If you do a custom installation, however, it’s imperative that you take note of the requirements and design your grilling area to conform to them.

Ventilation Requirements

Improper ventilation creates risks that could not only ruin your cookout but could also cause a significant amount of damage and injury. That’s why the ventilation requirements for built-in liquid propane enclosures are detailed and specific. If you’re installing a liquid propane grill on a custom outdoor countertop for a patio on a residence, apartment building, condo, or any commercial establishment, be sure to read and understand these restrictions.

The basic requirement is that a liquid propane enclosure for a patio grill has to be properly ventilated by openings both at the upper and the lower level, or to leave one side of the enclosure, other than the front, completely open. In the latter situation, the completely open side takes care of both the upper and the lower ventilation opening.

If an enclosure has four sides, a top, and a bottom, as is most often the case, these are the requirements:

  • There must be at least one upper opening. This has to be on an exposed exterior side of the enclosure. It must be within five inches (or 127 mm) of the top of its enclosure. It has to be completely unobstructed. The required size of the opening depends on the capacity of the largest single burner. The more powerful the burner, the larger the opening has to be. There must be at least three square inches for every 1,000 BTU/h (or 293 W) of that burner’s capacity.
  • There must be at least one lower opening. This also must be on an exposed exterior side of the enclosure. The lower edge of the opening has to be within an inch (or 25.4 mm) of floor level. The upper edge must be no more than five inches (127 mm) above the level of the floor. As with the upper opening, the required size depends on the capacity of the largest single burner. The free area must be at least three square inches for every 1,000 BTU/h (or 293 W) of the largest single burner’s capacity.
  • There’s a minimum dimension that applies to all island vents, whether they are upper or lower. They must permit the entrance of a rod that’s 3/6 inch (or 4.8 mm).
  • None of the ventilation openings are permitted to communicate directly with any of the other compartments in the enclosure (the vents must lead directly outside).
  • The ventilation opening may not be located in the front of the appliance above floor level.

As with the isolation standards, these grill island venting regulations apply only if you choose to install your grill in a custom-built enclosure such as a masonry tabletop. Whether you’re DIYing at home or you have a professional install the grill into an apartment or condo outdoor common area that you’re responsible for, it’s up to you to understand the guidelines and adhere to them.

Safe Construction of Liquid Propane Enclosures

For most multifamily buildings, a variety of grill mounting solutions are needed to match the wide range of sizes and layouts there are. From a large grill on a freestanding grill island as the centerpiece for a common area, to small grills arranged in a grill area for multiple users, to any size grill installed on a custom outdoor countertop; safety should always come first. If you are installing a propane grill on an outdoor countertop, you need to make sure that liquid propane enclosure will meet the minimum requirements for ventilation and isolation.

It’s a bit more work to construct a permanent enclosure for liquid propane grills, but, if it’s done right, the result is a patio grill that will provide years of delicious food and memories of good times on an outdoor patio. Part of doing it right is producing an aesthetically pleasing outdoor kitchen, but an even more important aspect of doing it right is conforming to all the guidelines that are in place to ensure grilling safety.

If you already have a built-in liquid propane grill at your home or multifamily facility, you can check it against the standards to verify whether your unit is in conformity with the latest isolation and ventilation guidelines. If you are thinking about installing a handsome, long-lasting built-in liquid propane cookery unit, you should take the standards into account from the moment you begin to formulate your construction plans.

PGS Grills for Your Custom Installation

When you put together the custom outdoor kitchen that will deliver years of sumptuous cooking and dining pleasure, you’ll be delighted with the results if you use a T-Series grill from AEI Corporation. Thousands of residents in multi-family buildings are safely and happily enjoying our grills on their outdoor communal patios today.

PGS grills aren’t only for the backyard spatula magician. Our grills are found at apartments, condos, resorts, hotels, bed and breakfasts, duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes across North America. Whether you use them once a week or give them a thorough workout every single day, they have the performance, flexibility, durability and safety features for delightful and expansive cooking year after year.

When you install a grill into a countertop, you want to make sure it’s one that will be there for a while. PGS grills are among the most reliable you can choose. They don’t have a lot of fancy and unnecessary bells and whistles. Instead, the design and manufacturing effort goes into sturdiness and high quality. Our grills are loaded with features that really matter, such as stainless steel components, automatic gas shutoff grill timers, and heavy-duty burners. As well as a whole suite of optional grill accessories. There’s ease of operation for the novice and flexible cooking capability for the expert. The comprehensive warranty is one of the best in the industry, with many parts covered by full year and even lifetime warranties. After all, we’ve been making some of the world’s most sought-after grills for over 40 years.

When you install your new grill in your custom-built counter, by all means think about all the wonderful times that you and your friends will enjoy. There will be delectable burgers, succulent steaks, and pork and chicken cooked to fall-apart perfection, along with laughter, conversation and the fun that comes with being with others outdoors. But, at the same time, think about safety. Follow the most up-to-date ventilation guidelines to ensure that those years of happy cookery will also be ones of confidence in your unit’s safety.

Want more information? Have a question? Contact us today, and we will be happy to help!

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