Grilling on a Balcony: Is It Safe?

Published Categorized as Questions
Frank Gaertner /Depositphotos

People love to spend time on their balconies if they have them at home or living in an apartment. In many situations, it is their only privacy outdoors.

Grilling is extravagantly tempting on a balcony, no doubt about it. But, to the prudent homeowner, it leaves the question: How safe is it to grill on a balcony in the grill place?

The answer comes down to the type of grill. The only type of grill that’s safe to use on a balcony is an electric grill. Gas grills and charcoal grills are only for the backyard or patio.

It is not safe to use a charcoal or a gas grill on a balcony. As a matter of fact, in most states it is illegal. The danger of burning down the home or apartment isn’t worth the luxury of grilling outdoors with a gas or charcoal grill, not to mention how the smoke will ruin the paint job and the roof of the balcony.

We hate to put a damper on people’s plans when they want to grill on the balcony, but the property damage from the smoke and fire hazard for the home or building are what the cards of truth hold.

Throughout the article, we will break down why it is unsafe and perhaps ways around it if you want to grill and keep it safe on the balcony.

Keep reading; some tips may surprise you! 

The Fire Hazards of Grilling on a Balcony

Grilling is one of America’s favorite pastimes, and it seems to be even more popular when the warm weather arrives.

People love to get outdoors and cook on their grills, but many people don’t realize that grilling can also be very dangerous. So much so that it’s definitely not safe to do it on a balcony.

There are several reasons why grilling on a balcony can be hazardous.

For one, charcoal and gas grills produce sparks that can easily ignite something on (or near) the balcony. If you’re cooking on a gas grill, there’s also the risk of a gas leak igniting and causing an explosion.

And, if any of the hot ashes from the charcoal grill fall off the balcony, they can quickly start a fire in the building’s courtyard or on another balcony.

In addition to the risk of fire, grilling can also produce harmful smoke and fumes. The smoke and fumes from a grill can get into your apartment or home and cause respiratory problems, especially to those with problematic lungs.

That smoke, if it gets sucked into your apartment, can also damage your furniture, carpets, and curtains. (Or, in the best case scenario, leave behind a lingering smell, albeit of BBQ, for weeks on end.)

So is there any way to safely grill on a balcony?

Yes, but it requires using an electric grill instead of a charcoal or gas grill. An electric grill doesn’t produce sparks or create fumes, so it’s much safer to use on a balcony.

It Is Illegal In Most States to Grill on a Balcony

While it is legal to grill on a balcony in some states, most states forbid this.

In fact, they have laws that specifically prohibit grilling on a balcony. The prohibition stems from the fact that grilling on a balcony, as we’ve already established, can be very dangerous.

So if you’re planning on grilling on your balcony this summer, it’s best to check with your state’s laws to see if it’s legal. Even if your balcony is big and secure enough, such laws will require you to forgo the gas grill or kettle and opt for an electric grill instead.

There are a few states where it is legal to grill on a balcony, as long as certain safety precautions are followed.

For example, it is legal to grill on a balcony in the sunny state of California—as long as the grill is at least 10 feet from the building. And in New York City, it’s legal to grill on a balcony as long as the grill is placed at least 15 feet away from the building.

The problem lies with the distance because some balconies are only four to eight feet in width from the building. The rooftop also comes into mind when the flame rises from grease spatters. It could catch the entire structure on fire.

The Smoke Damage to the Exterior of the Building

Apart from the fire hazards, the smoke damage to the exterior of the building is a significant issue.

Not only does it ruin the aesthetics of the building, but it can also cause extensive damage to the structure. The most important thing to remember is there is no control over the wind, especially at a higher level. The wind will take the smoke and blow it up against the building; even if it is blowing in one direction, it can switch immediately.

So if you’re planning on grilling on your balcony this summer, it’s best to take some precautions to protect your building from smoke damage. (Trust us; you don’t want to be liable.)

You can do this by using an electric grill instead of a charcoal or gas grill. And make sure to keep the grill at least 15 feet away from the building if you are even allowed to grill on the balcony.

Can You Use an Electric Grill on a Balcony?

Yes, using an electric grill on a balcony is safer than using a charcoal or gas grill.

Electric grills don’t produce sparks or create any fumes, so they are much safer to use on a balcony. And, if you’re worried about smoke damage to the building, using an electric grill is the best way to avoid it.

Once again, make sure to keep the grill at least 15 feet away from the building if you’re allowed to grill on the balcony.

The only potential hazard of using an electric grill on a balcony is that you could trip over it if the cord is not long enough. So be sure to use a grill with a long cord, or plug it into an outlet that’s close to the balcony. Never use an extension cord with an electric grill because it could become a fire hazard.

Long story short, if there is no way to put the grill the proper distance away from the building with the cord length, don’t even try it. An electrical fire is just as dangerous as a gas or charcoal fire.

Summing it Up

Recapping everything grilled on a balcony can be very dangerous, so it’s best to check with your state’s laws to see if it’s legal.

The laws should be the first thing you should check, and if you can use a gas or charcoal grill, keep in mind the smoke damage and flare-ups and ask yourself if it is worth it. If it’s not legal, you’ll need to use an electric grill instead of a charcoal or gas grill.

Using an electric grill on a balcony is much safer than using a charcoal or gas grill, and it won’t produce any sparks or fumes. Just make sure to keep the grill at least 15 feet away from the building if you’re allowed to grill on the balcony.

If it is not possible, then the sad truth must be that there is no way to grill on the balcony. We hope that the electric grill works in your favor and that you can enjoy a safe grilling experience on the balcony.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.